Monday, June 20, 2011

Causeway bike ferry canceled for season

From Burlington Free Press
The causeway between Colchester and South Hero, seen on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, has been heavily damaged by high water from Lake Champlain. The causeway has been closed by washouts after the bridge on the Cochester side.

Bike ferry service between Colchester and SouthHero sections of the Island Line Trail has been cancelled for the season -- a casualty of flood-related causeway damage, advocates announced today.
That disappointment has been softened by "unbelievable" business and community support, and a new, collaborative fundraising effort for the Lake Champlain-side trail, said Chapin Spencer, executive director of Burlington-based nonprofit Local Motion.
Island Line Trail enthusiasts, meanwhile, can ply alternative scenic routes -- and participate in a growing number of local events to help restore the popular link between Burlington and South Hero, Spencer said at a press conference at the group's trailside office.
Local Motion is hosting the newly established Friends of the Island Line Trail charitablefund, and will coordinate the regional campaign with local outdoor stores, Burlington Parks and Recreation; and the causeway's co-owners: the Town of Colchester and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A "Save the Causeway Soiree" will inaugurate fundraising at 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Snow Farm Winery in South Hero.
Other upcoming events:
- July 1-3: Earl's Cyclery, Old Spokes Home, North Star Sports and Skirack will donate 7 percent of sales to the trail's repair
- July 4: A barbecue and live band will benefit the trail, noon - 3 p.m. at Blue Paddel Bistro in South Hero
- July 15: Full Moon Dance Part at the Old Lantern in Charlotte, 6 p.m. - midnight
Parks and recreation directors Glen Cuttitta (Colchester) and Mari Steinbach (Burlington) said that engineers are continuing to evaluate damage inflicted by Lake Champlain's record-breaking floods.
Although lake water levels dropped below the 100-feet flood stage Sunday, experts will need the lake to drop several more feet before they can begin designing repairs and estimate costs, Cuttitta said.
Some funding to repair and maybe even improve the trail will likely come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Spencer said, but will require a 25 percent local match.
To make an online donation, or for more information on flood-damaged trails - and those that are in good shape for walkers and bikers, visit Local Motion's website:
Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843

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