News Archive

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.

VRC Conserves Public Access to the “Wild & Scenic” Missisquoi River in North Troy

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Thanks to a generous donation of land from Anne and Bruce McKay, a 2.4 acre property along the Missisquoi in North Troy, Vermont has been conserved by the Vermont River Conservancy. This property is located just below Big Falls, the highest undammed waterfall in the State of Vermont, and will provide public access to this beautiful river. The Missisquoi River and the Trout River are the first rivers in Vermont to earn the “Wild & Scenic” status. More information on this project can be found here.

McKay LM (24)

VRC Executive Director Steve Libby and landowner Anne McKay take in the sites along the Missisquoi River.

McKay LM (21)

The newly protected parcel along the Missisqoui River in early spring.

VRC Welcomes Joe Acampora as Summer Intern

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Welcome Joe Acampora – VRC’s summer 2015 Stewardship Intern.  Joe joins us with a background in real estate, along his path from Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont to an Environmental Management Master’s program in Colorado.   Joe will be helping VRC monitor our easements and steward our protected river lands this summer.  Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 1.03.43 PM

Lamoille River Paddlers’ Trail Development Effort Underway

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

A community effort is underway to create new opportunities for paddling and fishing along the Lamoille River. Called the Lamoille River Paddlers’ Trail, the project’s goal is to establish a network of well-maintained river access points, primitive campsites, and portage trails from the river’s headwaters west to Lake Champlain, as well as to develop recreational guides for visitors. A steering committee of local community members has been assembled to coordinate this effort, facilitated by the Vermont River Conservancy.

Over the winter, meetings were held about the initiative in Johnson, Milton, and Hardwick. Over 100 community members attended the meetings, providing input into the conditions of river access points and helping to identify project priorities. These gatherings complemented efforts by University of Vermont students and volunteers to paddle the river this fall, collecting data on access points and portage trails while identifying potential locations for primitive campsites.

Thanks to a Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) 2015 Water Trails grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the steering committee is now working to develop a web-based guide to the river and to facilitate a series of stewardship projects.

This project will engage area volunteers, grade schools, and college students in an emerging community effort” said Noah Pollock, project coordinator for the Vermont River Conservancy. “For example, this spring we are working with three students from Johnson State College to build a web guide to recreation along the river and its natural and cultural history.”

The CVNHP grant will also support a series of volunteer service projects this summer, include improvements to portage trails, the construction of a new campsite, and a river clean up. Those who wish to get involved with are encouraged to contact Noah Pollock at noah@vermontriverconservancy.org or (802) 229-0820. The Vermont River Conservancy protects public access and clean waters by conserving undeveloped land along rivers, lakes and wetlands of Vermont. Since 1995, the organization has completed projects at over 65 popular local swimming holes, gorges and waterfalls, fishing and boating access points, and paddler campsites across the state.

Vermont Trout Camp for Teens

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Do you know a teenager who would love a week of adventure and fun on Vermont’s rivers…and, yes, a lot of learning thrown in there, too? Vermont Trout Unlimited’s Trout Camp could be a perfect fit! Applications are due April 15th. Check out their website for more details, and spread the word about this popular camp!http://www.vermonttroutcamp.com/about/

 

VRC Partners with NH Land Trust to Conserve Farm & Islands

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy was thrilled to partner with the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust and landowner Richard Johnson to protect a farm on an island in the Connecticut River. The project insures that this land will be forever protected from development, and it can continue to be a working farm as it has been for generations. Additionally, this property offers an ideal spot for a campsite for paddlers along the CT River who wish to complete a multi-day trip, thereby further extending the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail. Please check out this NHPR story for more information on this exciting partnership: http://nhpr.org/post/after-six-generations-making-sure-family-farm-stays-farm-forever. And click here for a more comprehensive project description.

Stretch of Lewis Creek Conserved in North Ferrisburgh

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy worked with landowner Clark Hinsdale at the end of December in 2014, to protect a reach of Lewis Creek that includes an actively meandering channel . This property also contains an accessible floodplains capturing sediment and retaining floodwaters, an active beaver colony, and there is potential to restore the native “Clayplain Forest” on sections of the property.  This reach is well known to anglers and presents the opportunity for significant riparian habitat restoration.

This project is a prime example of how a River Corridor Easement can protect a wide range of conservation values including aquatic habitat, water quality, and flood resilience. Many thanks to the State of Vermont, Department of Environmental Conservation, in providing the Ecosystem Restoration Program funding in order to make this project possible.

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