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19 May 2014

A Hike in St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest

Many New England towns have some sort of trail network that is operated by the town itself, or by a variety of other means such as a non-profit organization, etc.  It has been my experience that these municipal trail systems are supported by a group of dedicated people who do a wonderful job of maintaining the trail corridors.

When only a limited amount of time is available for hiking, I find these local trail systems to be an invaluable resource.  And who knows?  By promoting these hometown trail systems through my blog, perhaps some revenue can be generated for the  local and regional economies through tourism.  But admittedly, that might fall into the category of "pipe dream" thinking!

Regardless, I've recently discovered a trail network in the town of St. Johnsbury, VT which is just a little over 20 miles from home, most of which is travelable on Interstate Highway.  Click HERE to view a  map of hiking/walking trails within this small New England town. (I don't know how robust this link will be in the future, but for now it seems to work!)

For my first foray on this network, I opted to hike the trails within the St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest.  The trail map is shown below. (Click to enlarge.)
Trail Map for St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest (click to enlarge)
As shown on the map, there are four named trails (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green).  All of the corridors are marked with colored blazes that corresponded to the trail name.  The pathways are a mixture of flat terrain and hills, some of which are moderately steep.  Not all of the trail junctions have signs, but there is little danger of becoming hopelessly lost!

The Municipal Forest encompasses about 100 acres of land which is located on a hillside with elevations ranging from about 575 feet at the trailhead on Almshouse Road to just over 900 feet at the property's high point.  The woods consist of variety of conifers and deciduous trees.

The Moose River runs along the southern border of the property.  Scenic views of this river are provided by the Blue Trail, particularly at the far eastern end of the trail.  Be aware that once you reach the end of the Blue Trail, you need to backtrack in order to reach other trails within the network.

The Municipal Forest was created in 1922 to commemorate World War I veterans.  It's maintained by local Scout troops and other volunteers.  No campfires, overnight camping, bikes, or motorized vehicles are allowed.  Pets must be leashed, and trash must be taken out with you when you leave the forest.

For those who might be interested, the St. Johnsbury Academy Community Recreation Website has an impressive MS-Word document that contains a wealth of information about trail distances, loop hike suggestions, etc. Click HERE to download that document. (Once again, I don't know how robust this link will be in the future, but for now it seems to work!)

Here are a few snapshots taken during my trek at the St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest in mid-May.
Typical scene along trail corridors within St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest
Moose River as viewed from  Blue Trail
A picturesque patch of Marsh Marigold seen along the river bank
A relic from the past along the bank of the Moose River.  Perhaps it's hardware related to an old bridge?

Directly across the road (Almshouse Road) that leads to the trailheads for St. Johnsbury Municipal Forest is a small plot of land known as Fred Mold Park.  From this park there is a pleasant view of the Passumpsic River with a portion of St. Johnsbury in the background.

~THE END~


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