Fest to Fest Hike was a blast!
About 75 hikers of all ages came out for the Fest to Fest Hike on Saturday, September 15. They began the 5-mile hike at the Adirondack Harvest Festival at the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport and finished back at the Festival—just in time for a wonderful lunch by Festival vendors!
At the midpoint oasis, hikers enjoyed delicious snacks from Ernie’s Market in Westport, apples from Gunnison’s Orchards, and DakBars. The oases are great because of the snacks and opportunity to meet fellow hikers.
All proceeds from the hike—registration fees and special donations— support the Viall’s Crossing Conservation and Trail Project where we completed a complicated land protection that provides for a permanent hiking trail. You can read about the Viall’s Crossing Conservation and Trail Project below.
A Special Message from CATS Executive Director Chris Maron
Last fall word came of a unique opportunity to save an historic 130-acre Westport farm called Viall’s Crossing. I immediately recognized the property as a critical link in the Split Rock Wildway, the partly protected wildlife corridor that connects Lake Champlain with the Adirondack High Peaks.
Strategically, the farm also included something that was essential to the mission of CATS: A critical place where hikers can legally cross railroad tracks on the trail that connects Westport and Essex.
But because there were others interested in the land, we had to act fast. And to make this crucial conservation and trail opportunity happen, it would take more cash than CATS had in the bank.
So, I enlisted the Eddy Foundation to purchase the property, sell a conservation easement over time to CATS and then sell the protected property to a farmer, returning the land to private hands.
This spring that plan worked perfectly when the Eddy Foundation sold Viall’s Crossing to a young couple with conditions that guarantee a permanent trail and assure that they farm it using methods that protect clean water, allow for wildlife movement, and protect scenic vistas.
The conservation easement preserves farmland and prevents forest fragmentation by removing 20 building rights, promotes new forests in critical areas, and limits logging so the woods can mature and become old-growth forest.
Now we come to the money part; conservation easements are not cheap. It costs money to save land and make trails. In fact, the cost of conserving Viall’s Crossing and making the new trail (which was a huge hit in this year’s Grand Hike, and central to CATS’ mission of connecting towns with hiking trails) totaled $137,000.
I’m happy to report that because of two grants totaling $50,000, a pledge from the Eddy Foundation and gifts from generous donors, the debt has been reduced to $69,000. Our goal is to pay it off entirely by the end of this year.
Please help us meet that obligation. You will be investing in a promising future for hiking, skiing, and enjoying the beauty of the Champlain Valley.
Please donate today and play an integral part in saving forest and farmland in the Split Rock Wildway, in creating trails for people, and in saving an historic farm. Use the “Donate” button at the top of this message and say “Viall’s Crossing” in the Comments section.
If you’d like more information, we have a Viall’s Crossing brochure available with more details, including photos, maps and the fascinating history of the farm (John Brown plays a prominent role); we can send you a copy if you like.
Or feel free to give me a call at (518) 962-2287 and I can answer any questions or share additional information.
Thank you in advance for your support.
And a special thank you to those who have already donated to the Viall’s Crossing project—you are playing a critical part in saving land and making trails in the Champlain Valley we all love.
Seven Days (VT) published a wonderful piece on the Viall’s Crossing Project. You can read it here.
The CATS 2017 Annual Report with list of donors is now available! Click here for your copy.
New items for sale in the CATS office
We now have tee shirts and a fabulous new book by John Davis, as well as framed copies of the “Hike the Lake” poster by Aaron Woolf for sale. All are available in the CATS office in Westport and we can ship them to you. Any questions, just give us a call at (518) 962-2287 or email email@example.com.
CATS Tee Shirts
Designed to wick away perspiration and “breathe.” Available in Women’s Small, Medium and Large, and Men’s Medium, Large and Extra Large. $18
John Davis’s new book is a rambling look at the wildlife thriving in the wooded hills and adjacent waterways linking Lake Champlain with the High Peaks. A great read!
Paperback, 160 pages, $15
Hike the Lake Poster
This fabulous poster celebrates Champlain Area Trails in beautiful bold graphics. Designed by Aaron Wolfe. Available framed for $75 and unframed for $30
A huge thank you to our Oak Level Business Sponsors!
A special thank you to all our Sponsors! Please support our local businesses.
CHAMPLAIN AREA TRAILS’ MISSION is to create a network of hiking/skiing trails in New York’s Champlain Valley that link communities, connect people to nature, and promote economic vitality; and as an accredited land trust, to protect habitat, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas.
CATS is one of just a few hundred land trusts that has been awarded accreditation. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display this seal, indicating that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation that we are proud to display.
6482 Main Street, PO Box 193
Westport, NY 12993
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