Vermont hopes to complete 93-mile rail trail by mid-decade

The completion of a 93-mile rail trail across northern Vermont would help link an ever-expanding network of recreation trails across New England and beyond, advocates say.

The effort got a big boost this week when Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott asked lawmakers to approve $2.8 million as the state’s share of the estimated $14.1 million cost of completing the remaining 60 miles of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. It runs from Swanton, near the Canadian border, to St. Johnsbury, not far from the Connecticut River border with New Hampshire.

“As far as New England goes, pieces and parts are starting to come together,” said Marianne Borowski, the founder of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail. That trail begins in Woodsville, New Hampshire, about 20 miles south of St. Johnsbury, and runs 83 miles across northern New Hampshire to Bethel, Maine. “When they start to link together, they look good, not only for the locals who want to get out and take a walk, but for people who are coming from away who want to come in and enjoy the region.”

Tom Sexton, northeast regional director of the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which since 1986 has helped oversee the construction of 24,000 miles of rails-to-trails projects across the country, said the completion of the Lamoille Valley trail would go a long way toward linking a series of existing or planned rail trails throughout the six New England states.

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