Bingham Falls has become one of Stowe’s most popular hiking destinations, and state forestry officials hope to match that enthusiasm with a solid management plan.
For a popularity check, just look at the cars that line both sides of Route 108 well past the shoulder parking areas at the trailhead, located just south of the Smugglers Notch State Park entrance.
The Bingham Falls area can be dangerous, and not just the main pool at the end of the half-mile trail. Cliffs and holes run along the river well before a hiker gets to the actual swimming hole at the bottom.
In the last couple of years, work crews have improved the access trail leading down to the falls, with cable fences lining the trail, discouraging people from walking or running around willy-nilly and getting too close to the edge.
Earlier this month, a work crew from the forestry department worked on the bottom part of the access trail, turning the sometimes-slippery steep pitch into a more hike-able staircase.
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is working on a management plan for the Bingham area, and Craig Whipple, director of Vermont State Parks, said Wednesday it’s almost finished.
The state held a public forum in Stowe earlier this summer to get feedback about the area, and Whipple said a planning group hopes to have a rough draft available in the next week or so.
After that, the management plan will go to Whipple and commissioner Michael Snyder for approval. Whipple said the goal is to have the plan available to the public in early October.