Directions Click here for a Google Map: Trailhead is at the end of Bentley Road, which is the third right hand turn off Willard Rd, which begins in the village of Quechee right next to the Quechee Library.
The Quechee Lakes Landowners’ Association consists of all property owners in the Quechee Lakes Master Plan Subdivision. The property designated as Section 5c remains undeveloped and has a rudimentary trail system accessible from Bentley Road.
Section 5 Trail Work for 2015
an update from Ken Lallier
The Section 5 Trails occupy a piece of Greenbelt that is approx. 780 acres. The current trail head at the end of Bentley Rd. is actually part of Section 5C, which is owned and controlled by the developer. If you proceed down the main trail from the parking lot, all of this land is part of 5C until you get to the first major trail intersection, at which time it becomes QLLA Greenbelt property and part of the 780 acre parcel.
The 780 acre parcel is under an original Act 250 agreement (made by QLC back in 1983) at which time they agreed to provide the state of Vermont with a Forestry & Wildlife Management Plan for the land and promised to keep it as undeveloped wildlife habitat. Since that agreement, QLC never followed through with their end of the deal and then they deeded the land to QLLA and ultimately went bankrupt and a new developer came into the picture. However, despite all of that history, the State is still expecting a forestry & wildlife management plan to be created and agreed upon before any activity takes place on this parcel, to include our existing trails which have been in use since the mid 80’s.
They understand what has transpired since the original agreement, but are not happy that there are trails being used in places that they feel are critical deer habitat, etc. We are in the process of creating a Forestry & Wildlife plan with the state, but that process will likely take the remainder of this year to complete. In the meantime, all we should do in section 5 is to minimally maintain the trails that exist. What this means is cleaning up down trees and debris and some light water management in the extremely wet areas.
Our plan for this year is the following:
By the Middle of June:
o Get a trail crew out on the trails to clean-up any downed trees and branches
o Do some light trail water management
o Fix any broken boards on existing bridges
By the end of June:
o Replace all of the signs with an improved & updated trail sign that shows contours
Throughout the summer:
o Periodically send a crew out to clean up any additional fallen trees or branches
o Send a crew out to prepare the trails for winter grooming
o Trail grooming as snow conditions allow
Again, until we have an agreement with the state on a Forestry & Wildlife management plan, all we really should be doing is very minimal maintenance on existing trails. The plan I envision pushing through with the state will address current trails (we may have to abandon or re-route some trails that are in sensitive areas) and allows for future trails expansion without having to go back to the state. This type of plan will require some give and take initially, but in the end, will be something everyone will be able to work with long term and avoids having to get approvals every time we want to create a new trail.
This plan will have to be well thought out and will take some time to complete to everyone’s satisfaction. The timeline for the plan’s development and approval is as follows;
. Review the draft and make any changes necessary to satisfy our goals
. Submit the plan to the state and we invite them to a field visit (hopefully later this summer)
. Negotiated changes with the state and draft the final version of the plan
. Submit the final plan for approval by late summer or early fall of 2015.
Once all of that is complete, we can then budget to start moving forward with the plan and could see the first part of the plan put into action during FY 2017.
There is a lot of work to do before we get there, but I am confident that we can get this done and make everyone reasonably happy as long as the state is willing to give a little to get what they really want and that is a well-managed long term plan for a critical wildlife habitat that they want to ensure stays intact long term.