Mt. Philo State Park Trail Project Completed for the Season, with Work Set to Resume Next Spring
|Finished trail segment at Mt. Philo State Park|
Mt. Philo State Park has seen substantial increases in visitation over the past decade, and has experienced related impacts to trail and park infrastructure. This project addresses the most serious of these impacts, relocating the main trail to follow an improved grade and surface and widening the trail to enable visitors to walk side by side or with leashed dogs. It features multiple stone staircases—over 300 stone steps in total—and crushed stone surfacing, and a design shape that minimizes steep pitches to shed water and snow more effectively. The result is a more durable and sustainable trail that will last for generations without the need for continual maintenance. In addition, the universal access summit trail from the upper parking lot will enable more visitors to enjoy Mt. Philo’s iconic views.
|For the full design, click here.|
This project will not only improve visitor experience and address environmental concerns, but also support larger state efforts to promote and expand outdoor recreation. The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC), created by Governor Scott in 2017, works to grow Vermont’s economy through outdoor recreation, support outdoor recreation businesses, strengthen the stewardship of recreation resources, and increase participation and recognize the public health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.
“Mt. Philo was Vermont’s first state park, and as it approaches its 100th anniversary, we’re investing in the park to make sure it’s here for visitors in another hundred years,” says VOREC Chair and FPR Commissioner Michael Snyder. “This project protects recreation opportunities at a place that’s special to so many people, and it will make their experience at the park safer, easier to access, and more environmentally protective. This kind of project is at the heart of VOREC’s work and FPR’s mission.”
Timber and Stone, LLC sourced all materials from as close to the park as possible. Stone surfacing came from a local quarry and was trucked by a local company, and lumber for a wooden bridge was harvested and milled in Vermont. Machinery used for the project was purchased from local vendors, while hand tools came from a retailer in Central Vermont. Materials that needed to be purchased out of state came from just across Lake Champlain in upstate New York.
|Measuring grades for stone step installation.|
Work has been suspended for the season due to weather, and will resume next spring and is expected to continue through the summer. Next year’s phase of the project will rehabilitate existing stretches of trail. If additional funding is secured, officials from FPR hope to extend the project to improve the lower stretch of the trail and make further improvements to the lower parking lot, park entrance, and summit.
This project is funded through many federal and state sources, including the federal Recreational Trails Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and CARES Act, and the state of Vermont’s Capital Budget. To learn more about Mt. Philo State Park, visit https://vtstateparks.com/philo.html.
Reuben Allen, Parks Regional Manager
Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources