Trail Construction at Bluffside Farm

In the summer of 2020 work began on an ambitious project to build nearly a mile of trail across VLT’s Bluffside Farm in Newport, including a boardwalk and bridge over Scott’s Cove on Lake Memprehmagog.

When completed in 2021, that trail will link with trails to the north and south of the farm, creating a seven-mile car-free experience for bikers, runners, skiers and more. And, the entire path will be accessible to people with disabilities.

We are documenting the construction progress here.

Trail Overview & Map

After we bought the 129-acre Bluffside Farm in 2015, we asked the community what they wanted to see the land used for. There was so much enthusiasm for recreation potential of the farm, which is located right on beautiful Lake Mempremagog. Without the Bluffside Farm section of trail, path users must travel roads to get from Newport City paths to the main trail north.

map showing trail

Summer & Fall 2020: Trail Construction Begins

After a lot of planning and some generous grants, we began to build an eight-foot-wide, gravel, multi-use path and a 10-foot-wide wooden boardwalk across Scott’s Cove.

construction drawing of a boardwalk cross-section with a biker snad two walkers on the path

 

The boardwalk will be constructed in a way that minimizes environmental impacts on the area’s wet soils, as explained by resident engineer Jeremy Dean in this video:

 

Helical Piles Form the Foundation of the Boardwalk

Hundreds of helical piles were installed to support the boardwalk. All of these then had to be leveled before the framing could be installed.

two workers install heilical piles

Like all construction, trail building is not without challenges. In this video, some tricky bedrock that got in the way of a portion of the gravel path was tackled.

 

Time for Timber

The last step before winter halted construction was framing the boardwalk, which was completed by a crew from Timber & Stone.

crew of workers on partially completed boardwalk

With the wooden skeleton in place, you can really envision just how much fun this trail will be.

framed boardwalk trail curving into distance

 

Next up: Decking to be Cut and Milled in Vermont this Winter

This winter, black locust trees will be cut and milled in Putney, Vermont. The timber will be used to create the boardwalk decking next spring.

aerial view of the boardwalk in late fall

Videos and photos of trail construction by Kyle Gray

We Thank Our Trail Funders!

Northern Border Regional Commission

Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

USDA-Rural Development Community Facility

USDA-Rural Development Business Development

Vermont Community Foundation

Freeman Foundation

VT Forest Parks and Recreation

Ducks Unlimited

Northern Forest Center

VT DEC Watershed Grant

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

 

Casella Waste Systems

North Country Hospital

Community National Bank

Passumpsic Savings Bank

Columbia Forest Products

Jay Peak

NCIC

VT AARP

Newport City Downtown Development Corporation

Private donations from 140 individuals, families and local businesses