News Archive

Raffle Winners!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Thank you to all who supported protected public access to the Gihon River Park in Johnson with the purchase of raffle tickets. We raised over $700 with your donations, and we have 4 prizes to announce:

Louise Cross won the Grand Prize: Four passes to the Jay Peak Pump House
Valentin Gribkoff won the 1 hour massage from Fern Hill Massage
Dave Small won the $25 gift certificate to the Red House gear store, and a ROXY hat
Noel Dodge won the Orah Moore photo cards

Congratulations and Thank You! All prizes will be mailed to the winners this week.

And because of your support, we will all be winners when this beautiful property is protected as a park, for all to enjoy forever. See you there next summer!


Raffle for Beard Swimming Hole!

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Raffle to protect the Beard Swimming Hole on the Gihon River

Beard Swimming Hole

Beard Swimming Hole on the Gihon River, School Street in Johnson Village, just west of the Power House Bridge

$5 Tickets – Enter to win one of the following great prizes:

Family pass for 4 to the Jay Peak Pump House

$25 gift certificate & hat from the Red House gear shop

Photo cards by Orah Moore

1 hour Fern Hill Massage

Every $5 you donate to VRC for this project = 1 chance to win.  When you donate in increments of $5, we generate and enter your tickets into the raffle.

Public Access is in jeopardy.

Every dollar you donate to VRC for this project will support the permanent protection of public access to the 2 acre parcel and majestic swimming hole on the Gihon River — act now !

Raffle winners chosen on October 22

Many thanks to the generosity of Jay Peak, Red House and Orah Moore of Haymaker Press.

RedHouse Logojappeak-logo

VRC in the News!

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

VRC Board members Scott Muller and Ryan McCall joined staff to talk with Local 22 & Local 44’s Alaina Pinto about River Cleanup Month, as well as the overall work of VRC. Here are the clips from these live TV interviews: River Cleanup Month Videos.

Why Rivers Matter: We Want to Hear From You!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Early this summer, the Vermont River Conservancy started handing out postcards to friends and strangers alike, with the simple question: Why do rivers matter to you? We want to hear from people what connects them to rivers, and in turn what connects them to the work we do.

What a gift it is to receive these postcards back! We have received so many, and they have become a source of inspiration, and a reminder that we are doing important work. People have told us rivers make them feel alive, invigorated, refreshed, peaceful, spiritual, playful, contemplative…they have said rivers give us life, provide clean water, make beautiful marks on the landscape…and people have written over and over again that rivers connect them not only to the land, but to each other. Rivers that slowly meander towards their destination, rivers that rush over rocks and swirl back into an eddy, rivers that pulse with the seasons…it is our love of these important waters that connect so many of us.

We want to hear from more of you. Tell us your stories about why rivers matter to you!   Check out our list of protected places along Vermont’s rivers, and go to one of these special places. Sit by a river and write, and let your words float on over to us. Email us at: Thank you!

VRC2 6x8 - Front -ForNewsletter

North Branch Cascades River Cleanup 9/26 @ 9:30 am – noon

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy is hosting a cleanup along the North Branch in Worcester on Saturday, September 26 9:30 am to noon. We will be focusing on the beautiful “Cascades” section of the river- a well loved stretch for many community members, but also a spot that has accumulated a great deal of trash over the past several years. Please come lend a hand and help us pick up along the shores of the North Branch. VRC will provide refreshments to all the hard-working volunteers. Please email or call Richarda at, 229-0820 to sign-up. Thank you for your help in keeping this a clean, safe and beautiful place to enjoy the North Branch.


Campsite Construction was a Success!

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Thank you to the 16 volunteers who helped us build a campsite on the Connecticut River! With the help of these hard workers, we installed a privy, picnic table, sign-in box, and signage, and also picked up trash and cleared some weeds.This island was recently conserved by the Vermont River Conservancy and the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (read more about it here:…/johnson-farm-island). This project was made possible by a grant from TransCanada Hydro Northeast and other business and individual contributions to the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail Stewardship Fund.

Many thanks again to our volunteers, pictured here:

ConnRiverIslands workcrew(web) Jay Ericson

Support Johnson’s Beard / Gihon River Swim Park

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Public access to a favorite swimming hole on the Gihon River, in the downtown village of Johnson Vermont, is in jeopardy.

In 2014, the civic-minded Beard family contacted the Vermont River Conservancy about selling their 2 acre parcel, but wanted public access protected.  The Town of Johnson stepped forward to be the long term owner of the land, if the Vermont River Conservancy can acquire the property and permanently protect public access with a Conservation Easement. Beard Swimming Hole

The Beard River Swim Park is located within walking distance from the Johnson Elem
entary School, Johnson State College, the Vermont Studio Center, and the village’s downtown center.  The 2 acre parcel has been a traditional swimming hole for visitors and residents of Johnson village for generations.  If sold, a private purchaser would very likely develop the parcel for residential use and prohibit public access, given the parcel’s ideal downtown location and it’s open, flat characteristics.

With approximately 600 feet of river frontage, this parcel possesses beautiful shoreline, waterfalls, and swimming spots along the Gihon River.  There is a rock ledge outcropping in the river that creates a deep swimming “pool” with an extensive sand and gravel beach – suitable for swimmers of all ages and abilities.  The bedrock also forms beautiful waterfalls and cascades in the Gihon River channel.   The parcel, if maintained as open floodplain, can help mitigate flood damage to the downstream village structures.

VRC secured a purchase and sale agreement with the landowners, and has partnered with the Town of Johnson to raise $120,000 to complete this project.  $111,000 is already secured from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, Fields Pond Foundation, and generous local businesses and individual donors.  $9,000 remains left to raise.

Help us permanently protect public access to this property by donating to this project today.  Help keep it a recreational area open for swimming, picnicking, field games, nature enjoyment, bird watching, fishing, community gatherings, and relaxation.  Help us protect this special place and maintain the community character and healthy nature of the Gihon River and Johnson Village for generations to come.

New Public Access to the Winooski River at Twinfield Union School

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Traveling on Route 2 through Plainfield VT, paddlers, anglers and swimmers now have a safe path to access the Winooski River.  Just off of Nasmith Brook Road, a parking area and informational Kiosk on the Twinfield Union School property directs you to a gravel path and ramp, leading to the river’s edge.

Taken from Nasmith Brook Road on the bridge where it intersects Route 2, the new public access slopes gradually downstream to the rivers edge.

Taken from Nasmith Brook Road on the bridge where it intersects Route 2, the new public access slopes gradually to the rivers edge. (Photo by: Sam Watson)

The VRC is grateful for the help from many community partners in the completion of this project!  We appreciate the support and enthusiasm for the project by the Twinfield Union School, and it’s principal Mark Mooney. Twinfield School teacher Trevor Tait helped to organize the project and built the informational kiosk with his students.  Twinfield staff member Richard used the school’s tractor to move much of the stone on site for us.

Mike from J.A. McDonald helping Noah Pollock and Seth Bosman sort rocks for our project.  Mike shares with us a love for Vermont's rivers, thank you for the stories and your assistance throughout the project!  Photo by: Sam Watson

Mike from J.A. McDonald helping Noah Pollock and Seth Bosman sort rocks for our project. Mike shares with us a love for Vermont’s rivers, thank you for the stories and your assistance throughout the project!
(Photo by: Sam Watson)

Stone was donated by J.A. McDonald operating out of the Bickfords Quarry, and M. Brown Trucking out of East Montpelier donated their services to move the material.  Rounding off our team were three interns from Johnson State College; Seth Bosman, Steve Eng, and Jacob Jackson.

Pictured left to right; Steve Eng, Sam Watson, Jacob Jackson, Seth Bosman and Noah Pollock

Pictured left to right; Steve Eng, Sam Watson, Jacob Jackson, Seth Bosman and Noah Pollock (Photo by: Noah Pollock)

Funded through a grant from the American Canoe Association.

The Lamoille River Has Two New Portage Routes in Johnson VT

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

As the Lamoille River meanders through Johnson, VT, two potentially dangerous waterfalls now have safe portage routes around them.  These are the first two on the ground projects of a community effort to develop a paddlers’ trail for the Lamoille River.

Portage past Vernal Pool

Pictured is a portion of the portage around Sloping Falls, where spring floods and rainfall left a vernal pool where the old access road ends. (Photo by: Sam Watson)

Above Dogshead Falls; a small path on the left bank will take paddlers through tall ferns and across a new bridge and over a small series of stone steps down to the lower pool of the falls.  A short float down river is Sloping Falls.  The portage begins about 50 meters upstream, and takes boaters over steps, around vernal pools, and along an old access road to a safe put in below the falls.










building bridge

Eric Nuse, Kimberly Komer, Jen Davis and Timothy Grannis constructing the portage bridge over a seasonal stream which drains nearby fields. (Photo by: Noah Pollock)


The VRC had tremendous volunteer help throughout this project.  Johnson College interns Seth Bosman, Steve Eng and Jacob Jackson helped with heavy stone work and trail building.  Duncan Hastings and the Town of Johnson helped to coordinate the project and got a load of stone donated for the project.  Susan Lovering donated cedar for the bridge, and Johnson Hardware Rental, Farm & Garden donated the necessary hardware.  Eric Nuse, Timothy Grannis, and Matt Pietryka were there rain and shine, building a trail through a rocky and muddy understory.  Jim Ryan, Kimberly Komer, and Jen Davis also joined us to complete the portage bridge, and after finishing trail and rock work with us our portage routes were completed by the afternoon on our second day.  A very big thank you to all of you involved in this project, and to all the paddlers who safely utilize the new route!  Funded by a Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) 2015 Water Trails grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

From left to right; Eric Nuse, Sam Watson, Jen Davis, Kimberly Komer, Jacob Jackson, Noah Pollock, Steve Eng, Jim Ryan, and Timmothy Grannis (and Pearl)

Most of our project team members seated on the new stairs portaging Dogshead Falls. From left to right; Eric Nuse, Sam Watson, Jen Davis, Kimberly Komer, Jacob Jackson, Noah Pollock, Steve Eng, Jim Ryan, and Timmothy Grannis (and Pearl) (Photo by: Noah Pollock)













Pinch Rock Protected!

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy, collaborating with the White River Partnership, recently protected public access to “Pinch Rock,” a treasured swimming hole and fishing spot on the White River in Royalton, Vermont.  Peg Elmer generously donated this riverside property, including the rock, for the Vermont River Conservancy to hold a perpetual public access and conservation easement on the parcel.  The bedrock outcropping provides swimmers, anglers, and  inner tubers convenient and safe access to the White River.  After flooding from Tropical Storm Irene severely eroded the banks, parking along Route 14 has been reestablished, access improved with a stone stairway to the river, and trees planted by the White River Partnership.

Pinch Rock LM (18)

Over the past decade there has been increased recreational use of the White River by paddlers, tubers, and folks seeking refuge from summer’s heat.  Pinch Rock has been a bedrock of local river activities for generations.  This project secures perpetual public access, guaranteeing that no future landowner could post it.

VRC will soon convey the parcel to the Town of South Royalton, retaining the public access conservation easement. For more details on Pinch Rock, click here.

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