The Charlotte Trails Committee is pleased to announce the completion of a new section of trail. The project — a combination of gravel pathway through woods and boardwalk over a wetland buffer — allows users to follow the Village Loop Trail from the Old Lantern area north to Ferry Road, near where the old health center was located at 527 Ferry Road.
A rough trail has long existed there, but parts were nearly unusable because of persistent mud and heavy growth of invasive plants like buckthorn and honeysuckle.
This project took about two years to complete because of a complex series of steps required to delineate the wetland area, secure a state wetland permit, have a trail-building company design the trail, and then go through the town bidding process to hire an experienced trail builder.
The winning contractor, Hermit Woods Trail Builders, bid about half of what other contractors bid. The price was further reduced because trails committee volunteers donated well over 30 hours of sweat equity to help clear the trail’s path.
We encourage folks to explore the new trail section. Please park at the Village Loop Trail parking area next to Greenbush Road at the Old Lantern.
We also ask that you be respectful of our neighbors by staying on the trail, keeping dogs under control, and cleaning up after pets. Please be careful on the boardwalk portion since it is elevated above the surrounding mud.
The trail is marked by yellow signs and blazes, which the trails committee plans to augment now that construction is complete.
The trails committee would like to thank the property owners who over the years granted easements for the Village Loop Trail (and all town trails!) and for the great support we received from neighbors along the path’s way.
We would also like to thank Hugh “Junior” Lewis for helping to haul gravel, topsoil and hay for mulching. Kudos to Bob Hymans for coming out and helping with the buckthorn.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the selectboard for backing the project and to all the Charlotte residents who support trails at the ballot box, through year-end donations and by their overwhelmingly positive messages to us in private and public forums.
Although the trail now terminates at Ferry Road, the Town Plan, as endorsed by voters in 2019, calls for the trail to continue to the town beach. The exact routing and pace of that work are to be determined by voters and the selectboard, but a scoping study, completed in 2021 with public input and available on the town website, looked into many different options.
The trails committee seeks your continued support as we work to provide an off-street alternative for recreation and transportation that fosters community and connects our village centers and major town amenities.
(Bill Regan is chair of the Charlotte Trails Committee and a member of The Charlotte News board of directors. The opinions expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the board or the newspaper.)