St. Albans Town, VT – After more than a year of volunteer work and planning, there are now some new places to enjoy the outdoors in Franklin County.
St. Albans Town has added two new multi-use trails to its town forest, and they officially opened Sunday morning. The new trails, named Sugarhouse Trail and Garibay Way, are travelable year-round, with hiking, biking, and snowshoeing being some of the ways you can tackle the turf.
Some of the first people who got out to hit the new paths were members of the Franklin County Mountain Bike Club. Andy Crossman, the club’s president, and Kurt Hansbury, the club’s treasurer, were two of the volunteers who helped plan and build the trails dating back to 2022. Both of them were excited to see how many people showed up for the grand opening of the trails.
“I love to see the parking lot full, because the more people that come out here and enjoy it, that means we’re doing our job right and people have discovered this little hidden gem here,” Hansbury said.
Members of the Rotary Club of St. Albans were there for opening day too, and they, along with bike club members, hope the new trails will do even more than get people outdoors. They see the potential for the trails to help stimulate the local economy in St. Albans, and even in nearby towns like Fairfield.
“Tourism is part of our local economy, and these additional activities like the bike trails and hiking opportunities and snowshoeing are inviting others really to come to our county,” said Leon Berthiaume, president of the Rotary Club of St. Albans.
“St. Albans is lacking that recreational economy,” Hansbury said. “We have a lake, which is fantastic, but let’s bring it inland a little bit. What can you do when you can’t put your boat in the water? You can come here and hit the trails.”
Furthermore, one feature of the new trails that shouldn’t be overlooked is that they’ve essentially been built to be flood and erosion-proof. With much of the construction taking place this summer during heavy rainstorms, people forging the paths had the opportunity to see what areas could become trouble spots, and were able to add bridges and culverts to the trails last-minute.
“In some ways it was better that we had that (rain), because we knew what we needed to do,” Crossman said.
“If there was a silver lining out of all the terrible weather, we got to see the worst of the worst, and now we’re going to build trails that will manage that so then when we don’t have a summer like this, it will have rideable trails all summer long,” Hansbury said.
All told, it took $18,000 in community donations and an $18,000 match by the town to make the new trails possible. They’ve now expanded the town forest trail system by 20 percent, and the people who helped build them are excited to see them become well-traveled.
“That’s the ultimate goal is to get as many people out into the woods as they can riding bikes, and build as many trails as we can,” Hansbury said.