You adjust the driver’s seat all the way back so you can maneuver around the steering wheel to lace up your boots and get your gaiters adjusted. After putting your hands in front of the heater for one last blast of hot air you turn off your car, step outside into the cold winter air, and grab your skis for a tour along the Catamount Trail. Perching your skis and poles across one shoulder you set off on foot along the narrow shoulder of Route 100 as cars zip by on this busy section of road.
Up until very recently, the lack of trailhead parking at one of the primary access points on Section 1 of the Catamount Trail meant that users looking to hop on the trail in Readsboro, Vermont had to park their cars offsite and walk along the narrow shoulder of Route 100 before arriving at the trailhead. Thanks to a property donation from Wells Fargo, which the Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment NPO closed on this past January, the organization has set the wheel in motion to develop a parking lot across from the Catamount Trail access point on Route 100. Earlier this month, firemen set ablaze the decrepit house that sat on the property and ensured a safe burn to clear the site for the new parking area. The existing driveway will be helpful in simplifying the process as plans move forward.
Sam Bartlett and Alan Binnick, trail chiefs for southern sections of the CT, are excited about the positive impact this will have on trail usability. Both noted that the generally flat terrain of the section that follows the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad bed, along with the fact that it can even be skied in low-snow conditions, make this a great place for skiers of all abilities to get out and enjoy the trail. A safer parking option will be much more inviting, and will encourage more people to use this multi-use, family friendly recreational path during all seasons.
Along with the obvious benefit to trail users, the parking area could also prompt an economic boost to the nearby towns of Readsboro and Wilmington. Greater accessibility means greater usage, which results in more people frequenting businesses in these rural Vermont towns. We are happy to see organizations, towns, and individuals coming together to help create meaningful changes that have the potential to benefit a diversity of people. This will undoubtedly be a great asset for Catamount Trail users as well as for visitors and residents of nearby towns.
The Deerfield Valley Reported recently ran a story on this project. To read it and see a photo of the demolition fire you can follow this link: http://www.dvalnews.com/view/full_story/27155443/article-Bank-donates-land-for-trail-parking?instance=news_page