Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help make the Rail Trail a real Trail - Across Vermont!

Introducing the LVRT

While the old Lamoille Valley Rail Road is now just a part of Vermont history, its footprint is a very exciting part of the state’s future. The railway served as a vital east-west transportation corridor from 1877 till its closing in 1994. By the new millennium, after an extensive review process, the state determined that a proposal from VAST to convert the railway into a 4-season recreational trail was the best use of this important asset – and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail was born. Currently a partnership of VTrans and VAST, managed by the LVRTC, is focused on the trail’s rehabilitation and realization.
Watch the video at LVRT.org
When completed, the new LVRT will be an unparalleled experience, spanning the breadth of Vermont from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, and crossing eighteen communities along the route. Nearly 100 miles long, the LVRT will be the longest rail trail in New England, offering spectacular vistas and local hospitality and services for hikers, bikers, equestrians, snowmobilers, snowshoers, dog mushers and cross-country skiers and a host of other users and organizations.
*This website is just a precursor to the experience you’ll find when the trail is completed. Currently, the Trail Guide features only the two short sections of trail that have been completed to date. We encourage you to visit these sections and get a sense of what the LVRT will be like, hopefully in the near future. At that time, among many other things, the site will feature an Adventure Planner that will detail lodging, dining, shops and services that will help you to plan your East-West Adventure right on the site.

Help us Make the Rail Trail a Real Trail

In addition to its recreational and cultural value, the LVRT has very real economic implications for Vermont and the communities along the trail. The year-round influx of visitors using the trail for single and multi-day recreation promises to be a long term boon to tourism. And the estimated two year construction of the LVRT will bring a welcome boost to the regional economy in the near term. Unfortunately, despite over 12 years of planning, development and review, and the tireless efforts of so many volunteers; the LVRT has been put on hold, and its future is at risk.
After a lengthy process, the LVRT had cleared its final regulatory hurdle and construction was about to begin in the spring of 2010. But a last minute legal appeal seeking to overturn the trail’s Act 250 exemption has halted the project and forced the committee to file an Act 250 application.
What can you do to help? Get on the phone, send an email or write a letter to your local and state representatives and tell them you want the rail trail to become a real trail! Let them know that you support this important project and ask them to be vocal in their support. You can also write letters to the editor of your local and regional newspapers. In the best Vermont tradition, the LVRT project is supported by a coalition that spans a wide spectrum of pursuits and interests. It’s an historic, economic and recreational asset for all Vermonters, and we need your support to make it rail.

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