VLS Senior Class Gift: A Clear Trail

Front Page / May. 29, 2008 12:00am EDT

VLS Senior Class Gift: A Clear Trail

Vermont Law School senior Nicole Lynch hiked Kent’s Ledge last fall, the popular trail that departs the very center of South Royalton leading to a panoramic view of the White River Valley.

Making her way past the washed out sections of trail and dodging the downed tree limbs, the thought came to her: Why not set out to clean up and maintain the trail for others? Thus the seeds were sown for the Kent’s Ledge Improvement Project, which would become the class gift from Vermont Law School’s Class of 2008.

"It’s unique," says Lynch, who by virtue of coming up with the idea also became chair of the Kent’s Ledge project. "It’s a completely new idea—and practical."

VLS class gifts often come with an outdoors theme, such as the outdoor classroom offered by the Class of 2006 and the gazebo on the riverbank that came before that. But restoring and preserving the Kent’s Ledge trail brought new challenges, as Lynch and her classmates quickly learned. It needed the approval of the Prudential Water Board, which owns the land. And it meant reaching out to Mary Russ and the Royalton Conservation Commission, who also agreed to lend their support. Other partners included Dave Hardy of the Green Mountain Club.

On May 12, nearly a dozen members of the Class of 2008 hit the trail to begin work on the project. Armed with shovels, rakes, pickaxes and other assorted clearing tools and with Hardy’s oversight, they created a switchback near the top of the trail, cleared fallen trees and planned for future site work.

An excavator will be brought up to create water bars and ditches to prevent the erosion that results in deep trenches along the trail. And the graduating class will work with a local woodworker to design small signs for the trail, which currently isn’t marked. (resulting in the Herald editor’s once losing his way on the way down).

"When I first presented the plan, I didn’t realize how much work it was going to be, but it’s been nice," says Lynch. "We’ve been able to work with a lot of people in the community to get it done."

In addition to the costs associated with trail improvement, signs and future upkeep, the Class of 2008 agreed that its gift would help boost the VLS Loan Repayment Assistance Program). With the help of a $10,000 matching grant offered by VLS Trustee Glenn Berger, JD 1978, the class raised $28,000.

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