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Welcome to our new Board Member, Matisse!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

This spring, the Board at Vermont River Conservancy were pleased to welcome a new member to our team, Matisse Bustos Hawkes!

Matisse shared her interest in serving on our Board and her love for Vermont and its waters with us:

I grew up in Southern California and my family’s frequent visits to our public beaches were a formative part of my childhood. In my college years and well into adulthood I lived in New York City, surrounded by water that was intrinsic to the city’s identity, vital to its economy, and polluted to the point of being a punchline to frequent jokes. When I moved to Vermont about 6 years ago with my husband and young son- it was the first time I had ever lived more than a 30 minute drive from an ocean. I gravitated to the Wrightsville Reservoir, Lake Elmore, Lake Caspian and swimming holes in Central Vermont that provided me with the connection and accessibility to water that feels fundamental to my existence.

 

In my time in Vermont, I’ve also learned a bit about the human impact on our water bodies, like the blue algae blooms that prevent swimming each summer in Lake Champlain, and the threats to habitat in various locations due to development. I have a lot to learn about best practices for conservation and public access to natural resources, but I believe my life-long appreciation for the recreational and life-sustaining properties of public waters would be a great entree to building a relationship with VRC.

 

I hold a B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from NYU and I have worked in nonprofits for almost my entire professional career. For the last 14 years, I have worked at the New York City-based international human rights organization WITNESS whose mission is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. Currently, I serve as the Associate Director of Communications and Engagement. Again, I would be very interested to learn how I can put my skills and experience to work for my adopted home state and the natural resources I hope that my children and theirs will safeguard and be able to enjoy for many years to come.

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Saturday, January 13th, 2018

North Branch Cascades Trail Workday – Saturday, July 29th

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

North Branch Cascades Trail Workday

Help begin construction of a new recreational asset along the North Branch of the Winooski! This trail will serve a variety of users, including families looking for a kid friendly hike, swimming hole enthusiasts seeking to escape summer’s heat, nature photographers, and paddlers.

Work will involve clearing an overgrown road bed and spur trails to the river. We also will begin constructing a stone stair case. Join us from 9:00-3:30. Please pack water and a lunch – and a swim suit for post work exploration! For more information and to RSVP, contact noah@vermontriverconservancy.org

Made possible with support from the Outdoor Gear Exchange’s Charitable Giving Fund and the Central Vermont Women’s Giving Circle.

Nulhegan Confluence Hut and Trails

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

The Vermont River Conservancy has recently conserved several properties at the confluence of the Nulhegan River and its East Branch in in Vermont’s Northeasrt Kingdom (see map). We are now using these lands to pilot a hut and trail system that will provide new opportunities for nature-based tourism and recreation in Vermont. We have partnered with the Yestermorrow Design-Build School to construct a 14’x18’ timber framed ‘hut.’ Students enrolled in a summer timber framing class built the hut’s frame, which was then assembled with the help of over sixteen volunteers. Through a series of additional volunteer days,  wall sheathing, a roof, windows and doors have been installed. We anticipate over 400 hours of volunteer support for this project! When complete, the hut will include a small kitchen, a sleeping loft, a screen porch, deck, a mouldering privy, and auxiliary camping areas. It will be insulated and have a wood stove for winter use. Designed for use by hikers, paddlers, and skiers, paths on the property also provide access to the Nulhegan Rivers. Trails include a new portage route for Northern Forest Canoe Trail users, as well as a take-out for whitewater enthusiasts running the Class III Nulhegan gorge.

We expect the hut to be ready to use by the summer of 2017. Those interested in the project should contact Noah Pollock

For a map of the project site, click here

For a photo album, click here

This project is made possible through grants from the Tillotson Foundation, the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, the Vermont Recreational Trails Grant program, the TransCanada Foundation, and contributions from private donors.

 

 

Paddler Trails

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

The Vermont River Conservancy is actively working to develop, in partnership with other organizations around the state, paddlers’ trails for our rivers. Here are some we are working on:

The Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail. The VRC has been actively conserving land along the Upper Connecticut River for nearly fifteen years. Since, 2009, the VRC has facilitated a multi-partner effort to manage and improve stewardship of access points, portage trails, and campsites along the river. Work is focused on developing and stewarding campsites  from ‘source to sea’ – creating a 410 mile paddling route through the heart of New England..

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail: This 740 mile route crosses Vermont via the Missisquoi, Clyde, and Nulhegan Rivers. The VRC has assisted with conservation projects along the route, most notably in Enosburg Falls along the Missisquoi, as well as along the lower Nulhegan.

The Lamoille River Paddlers’ Trail: This is an emerging, grassroots effort to improve recreational opportunities along the Lamoille. VRC facilitates a steering committee working on a variety of stewardship and mapping projects along one of Vermont’s finest tripping rivers.

The Passumpsic River Paddlers’ Trail: A “spur” to the Connecticut River, the Passumpsic is a popular destination for day trips in VT’s Northeast Kingdom. Work is underway to improve access and develop guides for visitors.

The White River Paddlers’ TrailVermont’s longest undammed river, the White provides fine paddling opportunities with few portages. VRC has been active in helping conserve lands and assisting with improvement projects. The White River Partnership is coordinating this project

Passumpsic River Paddlers’ Trail

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

The Passumpsic River Paddlers’ Trail is a collaborative effort to expand water-based recreational opportunities on the Passumpsic River, while fostering flood resiliency, conservation, and ecological restoration in the watershed.

For several years, the VRC has been helping develop regional Paddler Trails. We have found these efforts not only help improve regional recreational opportunities, but also serve as tools for bringing adult and youth volunteers together in hands-on stewardship projects.

As part of this project, thanks to a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund, we completed an inventory and assessment of the Passumpsic River, identifying potential stewardship projects.

Those seeking to explore the Passumpsic River are encouraged to download the following Google Earth file, which contains information on access points, portage trails, rapids, and dams. Work is under way to develop a new guide to the river.

In partnership with the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, and with support from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and the State’s Clean Water Fund, projects completed to date include:

  • East Barnet River Access: Following Hurricane Irene, the river bank was lined with rip rap rock here, making access a challenge. Staff from the NorthWoods Stewardship Center and the Vermont River Conservancy graded a new path to the river here, installing a series of switchbacks and stone staircases.
  • Lyndonville “Upper Tubing” Access: This access, developed by the town of Lyndonville, was steep and eroding. With support from the state of Vermont’s Ecological Restoration Grant program, a NorthWoods Stewardship Center crew added additional concrete steps leading down to the river.
  • Confluence Parcel Access: A NorthWoods Stewardship Center crew improved an access trail by adding timber cribbed stairs on this strategic parcel, owned by the Passumpsic Valley Land Trust, at the confluence of the East and West Branch.
  • Lyndonville “Lower Tubing” Access: A steep and eroding access path was stablized with a timber cribbed stair case.

 

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Nulhegan Confluence Hut Raising

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Join us on Monday, October 10th (Columbus Day) to help raise a new timber framed hut along the Nulhegan River in Bloomfield, Vermont!

This is a partnership with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) and the Yestermorrow Design Build School.

Early this summer, NFCT and VRC volunteers developed trails on this property, a privy, and installed the floor for the hut. The hut has been pre-built by students from a Yestermorrow Design-Build School class. Work will primarily involve lifting timbers into place and securing them with pegs. We will also be finishing the deck and porch flooring.

Volunteers are welcome to arrive Sunday afternoon to join in on a paddle and river clean-up on the Nulhegan River (more info), arrive Sunday evening to camp, or just come for Monday. We will begin the raising at 9 AM.

Food will be provided.

For more information and directions, and to RSVP (requested by October 6th) contact Noah Pollock at noah@vermontriverconservancy.org
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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.

Westminster Floodplain Forest Conserved! Volunteers needed to develop new campsite

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Vermont River Conservancy has recently completed the conservation of a a 15 acre floodplain forest in Westminster, VT, providing new opportunities for non-commercial, non-motorized public recreational use along the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail.  This is a special property located on a scenic stretch of the Connecticut River. In particular, it is one of the few remaining parcels of intact floodplain forest in the town of Westminster. In addition to 12.6 acres of forest, the parcel includes nearly 3 acres of productive agricultural land leased to an organic farmer. The property is located 16 miles south of the SCA campsite, an ideal length for a day’s paddle. Well away from roads, it is a scenic, secluded location for a campsite. The parcel, which includes 3,300 feet of river frontage, is now protected from development, timber harvest, and river bank alteration. In the coming month, a campsite will be developed for paddlers.

Volunteers are invited to help construct a campsite during workdays scheduled for October 25th. A site adopter is also needed to assist with campsite monitoring and maintenance tasks. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Noah Pollock at noah@vermontriverconservancy.org.

This project was made possible through financial assistance from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Davis Foundation, the National Park Service, and local donors.  Many thanks for their generous support.

Directions: Public access to this parcel is permitted from the river only. A campsite will be developed in October, 2014, near the mouth of Cobb Brook.  To access the property, launch from Bellows Falls or North Walpole. It is a 2.7 mile paddle downstream from these sites.  Alternatively, one can paddle 0.5 miles upstream from the an access in Walpole. Look for a beach near the mouth of a tributary.  The landing will also marked with campsite signage.

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VRC seeking Office Manager

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Vermont River Conservancy is hiring a part-time office manager to begin working with our small and efficient not-for-profit land trust in February 2014.  This is an exciting position, with potential for growth for the right candidate. Read the full Job Description, and send applications to VRC by January 10, 2014.

 

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