Creating a multi-recreational trail system in the town forest that connects to surrounding recreational opportunities
- Working with adjoining landowners to improve access to the forest
Weathersfield (population 2794) has a 310-acre forest that is an integral part of the town's economic development plan, which calls for an integrated trail system connecting villages, hamlets, and recreational areas throughout town. Weatherfield is interested in developing a trail plan that provides a solid foundation of the multi-recreational trail system, conservation of wildlife habitat, and a stronger community connection to the town forest.
Weathersfield Town Forest borders I-91 and Mt Ascutney State Park. There is currently no public road access to the forest. As a result, the forest sees minimal use. The property contains an old logging road network, a cabin, a network of former private trails, and VAST trails. The town has not constructed any new trails or other infrastructure since acquiring the land in 2010. Recently, the town obtained access for public parking and is now planning for an increase in users with improved access. The forest is part of the town's economic development plan, which includes a regional plan to create trail connections between area villages, mountains, and recreation areas.
The Conservation Commission plays the primary role in forest management, with collaboration from the Upper Valley Land Trust. There is no current forest management plan.
The word trees below demonstrate what the community answered when they were asked what word or phrase best describes their existing or desired future experience with the town forest – the size of the word corresponds to the number of times it appeared in the responses.
Strategies to Implement Vision
As a result of the planning process, the town generated a robust action plan matrix. From it, the planning commission selected several steps that seemed to achieve the greatest result with a manageable amount of effort. Strategies include:
- Parking lot and access trail
- Existing trail review and redesign
- Trail markers and signage
- Educational programs and partnerships
- Trail network connectivity
- Trail maps and online presence
- Pause places
- Engaging volunteers
Words of Wisdom
“Not only does our town forest support recreation for our citizens, but it will be an integral part of connecting communities and bringing people to the area. Along with recreation, this planning process offered a solid foundation towardsthoughtful wildlife habitat conservation, community connection, and development.” Ed Morris, Weathersfield Town Manager
For more information check out Weathersfield's Town Forest Plan