Mt. Philo State Park Trail Project Supports Outdoor Recreation Initiatives in Vermont

18 December 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2020

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

Contact:

Reuben Allen, Parks Regional Manager

Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources

802-779-6054, reuben.allen@vermont.gov

Mt. Philo State Park Trail Project Supports Outdoor Recreation Initiatives in Vermont

Project Completed for the Season, with Work Set to Resume Next Spring

Charlotte, VT – As a significant trail project at Mt. Philo State Park ends for the season, project managers and visitors alike are commending the improvements and the broader benefits to Vermonts outdoor recreation economy. The project, managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR), was awarded by a competitive bid process. Designed and constructed by Timber and Stone, LLC, it updates major sections of the main trail to provide a more sustainable and safe ascent, and features a universally accessible trail that improves access at the summit.

Mt. Philo State Park has seen substantial increases in visitation over the past decade, and has experienced related impacts to trail and park infrastructure. This project addresses the most serious of these impacts, relocating the main trail to follow an improved grade and surface and widening the trail to enable visitors to walk side by side or with leashed dogs. It features multiple stone staircases—over 300 stone steps in total—and crushed stone surfacing, and a design shape that minimizes steep pitches to shed water and snow more effectively. The result is a more durable and sustainable trail that will last for generations without the need for continual maintenance. In addition, the universal access summit trail from the upper parking lot will enable more visitors to enjoy Mt. Philos iconic views.

This project will not only improve visitor experience and address environmental concerns, but also support larger state efforts to promote and expand outdoor recreation. The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC), created by Governor Scott in 2017, works to grow Vermonts economy through outdoor recreation, support outdoor recreation businesses, strengthen the stewardship of recreation resources, and increase participation and recognize the public health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.

Mt. Philo was Vermonts first state park, and as it approaches its 100th anniversary, were investing in the park to make sure its here for visitors in another hundred years,” says VOREC Chair and FPR Commissioner Michael Snyder. This project protects recreation opportunities at a place thats special to so many people, and it will make their experience at the park safer, easier to access, and more environmentally protective. This kind of project is at the heart of VORECs work and FPRs mission.”

Timber and Stone, LLC sourced all materials from as close to the park as possible. Stone surfacing came from a local quarry and was trucked by a local company, and lumber for a wooden bridge was harvested and milled in Vermont. Machinery used for the project was purchased from local vendors, while hand tools came from a retailer in Central Vermont. Materials that needed to be purchased out of state came from just across Lake Champlain in upstate New York.

Josh Ryan, principal of Timber and Stone, LLC, is a VOREC steering committee member. Ryan says, This project is an on-the-ground example of all that outdoor recreation stands for in Vermont: Reducing barriers and encouraging people to get out and stay healthy, creating a trail thats inviting to visitors and protects the land its built on, supporting the local economy, and providing meaningful employment to seven full-time staff.”

Work has been suspended for the season due to weather, and will resume next spring and is expected to continue through the summer. Next years phase of the project will rehabilitate existing stretches of trail. If additional funding is secured, officials from FPR hope to extend the project to improve the lower stretch of the trail and make further improvements to the lower parking lot, park entrance, and summit.

This project is funded through many federal and state sources, including the federal Recreational Trails Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and CARES Act, and the state of Vermonts Capital Budget. To learn more about Mt. Philo State Park, visit https://vtstateparks.com/philo.html.

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