SLT has owned and managed the 35-acre Mill Trail property in Stowe as a community natural area since 2003. Trails on the property are open year round and provide family-friendly access to Bingham Falls and the West Branch of the Little River and are very popular, particularly during the summer months. In 2017 & 2018 we will be working to remove an old camp along the trail - the Blacksmith Shop - clean up the site, create a simple naturalized picnic area with interpretive information about the rich natural and cultural history of the area, and improve the public trail down to the river.
SLT is Stewardship Strong!
Current Stewardship Projects
Last updated November 2017
Caring for conserved land is a forever job - one we take seriously and enjoy. These are some of our current projects. As you can see, we rely on help from volunteers to get much of this work done. Interested in helping out? Learn more about volunteering with SLT or contact us at info@ or (802)253-7221. We'd love to have you join us! stowelandtrust.org
Improving River Access at the Mill Trail
Improving Timber and Songbird Habitat at Kirchner Woods
Although now best known for its network of public trails, Kirchner Woods has a long history as a working forest that was tended for many years as a sugarbush and woodlot by its previous owner, Jerry Kirchner. We are carrying on the tradition of actively managing the forest for wood products like firewood and timber, but with the added goals of improving habitat quality and demonstrating best forest management practices. After creating a specific harvest plan, securing a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and hiring a consulting forester to administer the project, we began marking trees to keep and cut in fall 2017. The silvicultural treatments that will be applied over the project’s 32 acres are drawn from guides created by Audubon Vermont and the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation’s Foresters for the Birds project. Some trees will be dropped and left on site to add cover and perch sites for birds and other wildlife. Others will be harvested and used for firewood and lumber. If possible, we'll work with partners to create custom pieces like shelves, tables or benches for use in community spaces that feature the maples’ unique character wood as well as to find places to donate firewood to those in need.
Improving & Managing Trails
Did you know that the trails at Wiessner Woods have more than 20 footbridges? That's a lot of bridges! We have been caring for and improving these beloved trails since 1992, and our work is never done. As the bridges age, they naturally rot, so we've been replacing a couple bridges each year since 2013 with the help of volunteers. We've also been improving the surfacing and drainage of all our trails - totaling over 11 miles - over the years with funding and assistance from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, the Fields Pond Foundation, the Oakland Foundation, the Vermont Recreation & Trails Program, and many other supporters. Starting in 2017, we will be partnering with the Stowe Mountain Bike Club to install and use TRAFx infrared trail counters to gather data about trail use to help us to better understand and manage our trails.
Renovating the Mill Trail Cabin
In 2008, we began the renovating the historic Moravian Cabin at our Mill Trail Property. With a grant from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, we were able to stabilize the hand-hewn log structure, make drainage improvements, and refurbish the windows and doors. A historic preservation easement now protects the building. In 2015, we added a solar lighting system with help from the Green Mountain Technology & Career Center, and masonry repairs to the stone fireplace and chimney were completed in 2016. This beautiful and unique historic cabin is now home to SLT's Summer Naturalist Program and is open to the public on a limited basis.
Tackling Pet Waste Problem on Trails with Volunteer Poo Crews
We have been getting complaints about the pet waste that accumulates on some of our trails that are popular with dog walkers for years – particularly at Wiessner Woods and Kirchner Woods. The problem goes beyond a nuisance for visitors; the waste also washes into streams adding pathogens and pollutants to waterways and is a source of disease for pets and people. In 2014, we decided to take a proactive approach to address the problem. After adding pet waste bag dispensers and educational signs at our trailheads, dog-loving volunteer Poo Crews hit the trails each week to monitor and promote picking up and packing out waste. Counts of piles found along trails get posted online and at trailheads through the winter and early spring. Our goal: zero waste along all of Stowe's trails. The result: happy and healthy dogs, hikers, and environment!