The Waitsfield Conservation Commission will apply for a grant from Vermont Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (VOREC) in the amount of $30,000 for trail construction at the Scrag Mountain parcel. The commission is looking for a letter of support from a community member as part of the application, which is due on May 26. The commission has been working with the town on the application. It requires support from the Waitsfield Select Board and is on the select board’s agenda for May 23.
At the commission’s May 16 meeting members also discussed an area of an existing trail on the Scrag parcel where there is concern about erosion. Members discussed redirecting a portion of that trail and placing a few trees to direct people onto a new footpath to let that area revegetate. There was a question about emergency vehicles being able to reach all parts of the trail, but member Chris Loomis clarified that ATVs could make it up to the beaver pond in an emergency, though that situation may call for some minor repair to the trail.
Commission chair Curt Lindberg and Bob Cook gave an update on the town’s knotweed management project. “We’re off to a good start,” Lindberg said. Approximately 25 people attended the two informational sessions the commission has held so far this spring. Ten volunteers showed up for the first “Knot Thursday” last week at the Lareau swim hole (see story on Page 6). Knot Thursday will be at Bridge Street this week from 4 to 7 p.m. (all are welcome to come by for as much or little time as they can). The Waitsfield Conservation Commission will be sharing four interns with the Warren Conservation Commission for knotweed management this summer. The interns will spend roughly one-third of their time working in Waitsfield, based on the funding the two towns have provided. Cook is working on a document that lays out the town’s methods of knotweed management, which include the smothering method, the cutting method, and mowing method. “One of our important goals at Lareau, in addition to beautifying this special place, is to educate the public about the variety of knotweed management and eradication we'll be using throughout town. Soon we'll be putting up some signs to describe these three methods,” Lindberg said.
Volunteers have logged roughly 122 hours of work on knotweed management so far this spring. “We’ve been very pleased with the response from the community and what we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said.
Commissioner Phil Huffman spoke at the meeting, along with Liza Walker, Mad River Valley project director of the Vermont Land Trust, about creating a memorial to Virigina Farley at the Tardy parcel by the Lareau swim hole along Route 100. Farley was a longtime conservation leader in Waitsfield, the first Valley program director for the Vermont Land Trust and was instrumental in conserving much of the forest and recreation lands in The Valley, Huffman said. She passed away this year and Huffman, Walker, and Farley’s daughter have been working with a planning group on a proposal to create a memorial bench to honor her commitment to conservation in The Valley. They have discussed the plan with the Waitsfield Select Board. They have also proposed potentially renaming the Tardy parcel the Farley Riverside Park or naming the memorial stone bench the Virginia M. Farley Memorial at the Tardy Property. The proposal also includes a plaque with a brief description of Farley’s conservation legacy in the Mad River Valley, creating a small parking lot fit for three or four cars at the property so people can access it and planting lupine (Farley’s favorite flower) on the property. The project would be funded by an endowment established by Farley’s friends and family.
The proposal includes a dedication ceremony when the project is complete. Other potential elements of the project may include constructing a wooden sign at the entrance of the property and a “short interpretive trail with panels including excerpts from book ‘Miss Rumphius’ (a favorite of Farley’s).” The conservation commissioners approved the proposal and the planning group will present it to the select board at an upcoming meeting. Fayston is also considering putting a bench in Farley’s honor at the Boyce Hill Forest.