In February, 2011, the public learned that most of the land encompassed by the Bolton Valley Nordic Center would be sold to a private investor and that public access to the extensive trail system would be lost. In less than two months a group of community members formed the Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry to protect this resource and maintain public access to it. This group of over 200 concerned citizens reached out to the Vermont Land Trust, which, in February, 2012, signed a contract to purchase this 1161 acre tract for $1.85 million. A grant of $800,000 from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board was obtained, leaving $1,050,000 to be raised from local fundraising. This fundraising campaign is in progress.
What's at risk? With over 90 kilometers of groomed and backcountry trails, the Bolton Valley Nordic Center is one of the three largest trail systems in Vermont. In fact, it's base elevation is the highest in Vermont. The Catamount Trail runs through the property and the trail system connects with many other routes, including those at the Trapp Family Lodge, Mount Mansfield State Forest, Underhill State Park, and Little River State Park. These trails are used throughout the year by colleges, universities, and public schools for outdoors events. Furthermore, the land and trails are heavily used by community groups as well as individuals, providing recreational access for people of all ages and ability levels. It is noteworthy that nearly half of Vermont's population lives within 30 miles of this property. The outpouring of enthusiasm for the Save Bolton Nordic project is a testimony to the widespread support for public access to this land.
Bolton Valley Nordic provides critical wildlife habitat, as well, connecting two large blocks of state land, Mount Mansfield State Park and Camel's Hump State Park. The land also includes the headwaters and much of the watershed of Joiner Brook, which feeds into the Winooski River. As a result, the Chittenden County Uplands Conservation Project has designated this property as their highest priority for conservation.
What about the bird life at Bolton Valley Nordic? The birds inhabiting Bolton Valley have not been formally identified, though the habitat likely provides breeding territory for a variety of thrushes, vireos, flycatchers, and warblers among others. To address this issue, the Green Mountain Audubon Society, lead by Board member Liz Lee, conducted monthly bird walks on the Broadway Trail through August and created a preliminary species list for Bolton Valley Nordic. We hope that this effort will increase public awareness of the value of this land and will support the VLT fundraising campaign. For more information about the Save Bolton Valley Nordic project consult the Vermont Land Trust website at http://www.vlt.org/bolton or call 802-262-1241.
Bolton Valley Bird List
|American Woodcock||Brown Creeper||Yellow-Warbler|
|Ruffed Grouse||Winter Wren||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Broad-winged Hawk||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Louisiana Waterthrush|
|Red-tailed Hawk||American Robin||Cedar Waxwing|
|Mourning Dove||Hermit Thrush||Scarlet Tanager|
|Northern Flicker||Swainson's Thrush||Indigo Bunting|
|Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||Wood Thrush||Northern Cardinal|
|Downy Woodpecker||Veery||Rose-breasted Grosbeak|
|Hairy Woodpecker||Red-eyed Vireo||Purple Finch|
|Eastern Wood-Pewee||Blue-headed Vireo||American Goldfinch|
|Least Flycatcher||American Redstart||Pine Siskin|
|Great-crested Flycatcher||Blackburnian Warbler||Chipping Sparrow|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher||Blackpoll Warbler||Song Sparrow|
|Yellow-bellied Flycatcher||Black-throated Blue Warbler||White-throated Sparrow|
|Eastern Phoebe||Black-throated Green Warbler||Dark-eyed Junco|
|American Crow||Black-and-white Warbler||Red-winged Blackbird|
|Blue Jay||Canada Warbler||Common Grackle|
|Common Raven||Magnolia Warbler||Ruby-throated Hummingbird|
|Black-capped Chickadee||Mourning Warbler|
|Tufted Titmouse||Nashville Warbler|
|Red-breasted Nuthatch||Chestnut-sided Warbler|