Work Begins on Valley Trail Connecting Rochester, Pittsfield



Pictured (l-r) are RJ Thompson of Vt. Huts Association, Matt Baatz from Green Mountain Trails, Angus McCusker of RASTA, Holly Knox of the Green Mt. National Forest, and Josh Hanford, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Dept. of Housing & Community Development. (Provided / Peg McKinley)

Pictured (l-r) are RJ Thompson of Vt. Huts Association, Matt Baatz from Green Mountain Trails, Angus McCusker of RASTA, Holly Knox of the Green Mt. National Forest, and Josh Hanford, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Dept. of Housing & Community Development. (Provided / Peg McKinley)

Officials from RASTA (Randolph- Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance) and the Green Mt. National Forest held a ribbon cutting to kick off construction on Phase 1 of the new Valley Trail on Wednesday evening, July 19 at the Rochester Ranger Station.

RASTA was awarded a grant for $43,000 through the state’s recreational trails program to pay for the work. RJ Thompson of the Vermont Huts Association announced that RASTA and the GMNF will also receive the VHA’s first Trail Collaboration Grant for $1,500 for trail work between Rochester and Pittsfield.

“This is seed money to help foster community,” said Thompson, presenting the check. The Vt. Huts Association is exploring sites for a new hut that would be available for year-round recreational use in the Chittenden Brook Campground.

Holly Knox of the GMNF wielded a “golden shovel” as she welcomed everyone, noting that the trail system for biking and hiking that will begin behind the ranger station is “totally a community project” with many volunteers pitching in to work on it.

“This is community development on public land in our little town,” said Josh Hanford, a Rochester resident who serves as the Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Dept. of Housing & Community Development.

Tom Lepesquer of Lepesquer & Daughters Excavation and Trail Works LLC, who has been contracted to complete the first phase of what will be RASTA’s first machine-built multi-use trail, noted, “This is a new endeavor for us.”

Angus McCusker, who acted as a liaison between RASTA and the GMNF, explained, “This project connects the downtown community to other areas of town.”

“It’s going to be a great family activity for everyone,” added Rochester Selectboard chair Doon Hinderyckx, who is also the owner of the Green Mt. Bike Shop.

“RASTA can do a lot with a little, due to the many dedicated volunteers in our membership,” concluded

McCusker, who announced that RASTA is already fundraising for Phase 2 of the trail, with a goal of raising $8,500. For more information, visit rastavt.org.


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