GREEN MOUNTAIN FALLS • As hikers rejoice in the reopening of Catamount Trail, details highlight the work of the Green Mountain Falls Historic Foundation.
When a landowner balked at the increasing number of hikers on the popular trail’s 1,300 feet that crossed private property, Mayor Jane Newberry and the board closed the trail in August 2021.
The closure is the result of stalled negotiations between the landowner and the city’s parks/trails/recreation committee. One proposal was to reroute the trail. “It would have taken years,” said Jesse Stroope, the committee’s chairman. “We considered buying an easement from the owner.”
Finally, the foundation stepped in and bought the property – seven acres that included the disputed part of the trail. “Not only is this piece part of the trail system, but it’s also a nice little hub for doing fire mitigation work,” said Stroope, who also represents the foundation. “Most of the time we will maintain and restore it and keep the trail open as part of the open space for people.”
As an affiliate partner of the foundation, the city officially opened the track at the first official trustees’ meeting with new mayor, Todd Dixon.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for the foundation’s support,” Dixon said. “Their thoughtful and innovative ideas continue to protect our city’s backscape and provide open spaces for public recreation.”
In recent years the foundation has purchased other properties including Mountain Road Corner, the Green Box Arts Workshop on Lake Street, Lakeview Terrace, HB Wallace Reserve, Mount Dewey and Red Butte, the location of the James Turrell Skyspace. The skyspace will be unveiled on June 18, the opening day of the Green Box Arts Festival 2022.
“I think what the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation does is lost,” Stroope said. “We bought a lot of properties while paving trails and building artwork.”
Additionally, the Catamount Trail brings people into town and is, therefore, an economic stimulus. “Businesses certainly felt the impact of the trail closure,” Stroope said.
The foundation’s mission is to preserve and maintain open space to include trails as well as historic city structures, such as the Lakeview Terrace.
“I think it’s great and I’m proud to be part of the foundation,” said Stroope, production manager of the Green Box Arts Festival.
The Catamount Trail will be included in the nature and art walks during the festival, from June 18 to July 4. For more information and to register for festival events, visit greenboxarts.org.