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1st phase of northern Vermont rail trail opens from West Danville to St. Johnsbury

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DANVILLE, Vermont — Communities in northeastern Vermont are celebrating the opening of the first phase of a recreational rail trail that will eventually run nearly 100 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton.

The first phase of the Lamoille County Rail Trail, a 17-mile section from West Danville to St. Johnsbury, was celebrated Thursday. The recreational trail is open to bicyclists, runners, walkers, horseback riders, and, in the winter, snowmobilers.

"This is incredible. It shows the energy and life and vitality that makes this project real," said project manager Shane Prisby, who is also trail manager at the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers. "This trail is for everybody, to connect the community."

The project was funded by a grant from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation as well as federal money and a 20-percent matching commitment from the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury. Community members also pitched in, volunteering in the construction of the trail while local companies made the informational kiosks signs, displays, and maps, the Caledonian Record reported.

The full trail is nearly one-third compete, according to NVRH liaison Laural Ruggles. Volunteers are working on a 15-mile section between Morrisville to Cambridge. The entire trail is tentatively scheduled to be finished in five years but Prisby said it could take seven.

"There's still more that needs to be built," said Heidi Krantz, who has been instrumental in the trail's inception and construction. "We can always use more volunteers."


Information from: The Caledonian-Record, http://www.caledonianrecord.com

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