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Thursday, October 21, 2021

New recreation path links Newport to Canada

NEWPORT — A fully accessible recreation path and boardwalk along the shores of Lake Memphremagog is complete and open to the public.

The new mile-long trail on Bluffside Farm crosses Scott’s Cove, connecting downtown Newport to trails that run north to Canada.

“This project, three years in the making, connects residents and visitors to what makes Newport special, the lake, our proximity to Canada, and our love for the outdoors,” said Tracy Zschau, Vice President for Land Conservation and project lead for the Vermont Land Trust. “The Vermont Land Trust is proud and humbled by the collective action that made this dream a reality,”

The project has been touted as a cornerstone to advancing Newport’s recreation-based economy and community connections to land.

When the future of Bluffside Farm, owned by the Scott family for generations became uncertain supporters wanted to see it protected.

In 2015, the Vermont Land Trust purchased the farm and held community meetings to uncover opportunities for deepening connection to the land.

Creating a recreation path quickly rose to the top of the wish list.

“This trail is a gift to this community. What started out as a kernel of an idea in 2017 is now a wonderful reality for all to enjoy,” said Laura Dolgin, Manager for the City of Newport. “There are many people, organizations, and funders who worked tirelessly to create an incredible enhancement to what is already one of the most pristine areas of the state.”

Owned and operated by the Vermont Land Trust, the 130-acre Bluffside Farm sits on a promontory above Lake Memphremagog.

It supports a network of trails, a community garden, mature forestland, organic hayfields, and programs that link community partners to the land and food.

Some close partners include the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki, North Country Hospital, and North Country Union High School and Career Center.

“North Country Union High School students and staff have benefitted tremendously from the new bridge over Scott’s Cove,” said Chris Young of North Country Union High School and Career Center. “Our academic classes and wellness programs have been enhanced by this incredible resource. We look forward to building more partnerships and place-based learning into our programs.”

Many supported the $1.4M project, including USDA Rural Development, the Northern Border Regional Commission, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

Several private foundations, dozens of local businesses and institutions, and over 150 individuals also contributed.

For more information about Bluffside Farm, the trails, and other programs, visit vlt.org/bluffside.

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