The Putney Mountain Association announces the official opening of its newest hiking trail, extending five miles through gorgeous ridge-top hardwood and hemlock forest from Vermont’s 3rd largest ash tree near the Putney-Dummerston town line south to Prospect Hill. Since 1991 Putney Mountain Association has been working to connect their extensive trail network to the Prospect Hill trails in Dummerston, and this is one of the final pieces of that puzzle.
The Missing Links Trail Project has succeeded in gaining trail access to eight parcels of land through the generosity of public-spirited landowners. In addition, two land parcels were purchased and conserved with over 200 individual gifts from local residents and major grant funding.
Following the work of the acquisitions committee to create a corridor, the physical work of building trail started in 2020. First, a trail was laid out by Dummerston trail builder and designer Roger Haydock. Winding through many different habitats, the trail passes through old sugarbush with a vast understory of ferns, past 175-year-old hemlock, over streams, over beautiful ledges, past cliffs, and through wet areas with dense vegetation. The current northern end is marked by a truly remarkable ash tree more than 5.5 feet in diameter. Trail construction was led by PMA board member Richard Fletcher and continued one to two days a week from March 2020 to October 2020 then from May 2021 to October 2021. A group of over a dozen devoted volunteers labored to cut and improved a trail proved to be one of the most beautiful hiking trails on the PMA network. Sweeping vistas along the northern half of the trail overlook Black Mountain to the south, and offer gorgeous views of the West River valley and the southern Green Mountains.
While we are delighted by the arrival of this long awaited goal, there is still work to do. Ironically, there are still missing links to the Missing Links! Our first priority is to connect the current northern end of the Missing Links Trail at the large Ash tree to Holland Hill Road where it will join the Hannum and Dine trails which lead north to the Putney Mountain Summit, achieving our long-sought goal of joining Prospect Hill and Putney Mountain. After that, and spurred by the incredible success of our planning committees, we have an even more ambitious goal of trails connecting the final mile or so between Prospect Hill and Black Mountain. Our trail builders are ready if we can find a route!
The official trail opening date for the new section of trail is November 15, 2021. We have gone without a formal trail opening party or ribbon cutting due to the pandemic, but please take a celebratory hike at your own convenience. The trail can be accessed in two places, from the southern end via Prospect Hill, and from its midpoint off of Hague Rd.
To access the southern, end park at the Dummerston Town Office and walk about ½ mile north on Park Laughton Road to the TRAIL sign on the left, designating the start of the Prospect Hill trail. Follow the trail to the top of the hill and through the field heading west until you see the trail turn into the woods to the north and follow the white discs and signs. The trail can also be accessed at its midpoint via a new trailhead near the end of Hague Rd in Dummerston marked Missing Links Trailhead.
We hope you will enjoy the trail and the land and appreciate our wonderful community of volunteers and donors that made the Missing Link Trail possible. Please visit our website at http://putneymountain.org/ for maps and further information.