By Angela DeBlasio
CASTLETON - Rutland County businessman Ed Davis acquired Birdseye Mountain three years ago, but his love for the mountain began decades ago.
Back in 1972, when Davis was nine years old, he accompanied his father to watch a snowmobile race at a mountain with an unusual name - Birdseye Mountain. He remembers snowmobile fans cheering and enjoying an afternoon of family fun. After the race, little Ed Davis turned to his father and said, "Someday I'm gonna buy that mountain."
Birdseye, located on the the Ira-Castleton town line, is the site of a once popular ski resort. According to the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, this lost ski area was founded by Bill Jenkins, along with a board of directors, in 1961. Names formerly associated with the ski area include Stan Brzoza of West Rutland, Harold Blittersdorf of Pittsford, Malcolm Williams of Poultney, and Herman Dederer of Shelburne.
The ski resort was constructed on the north side of Bird Mountain, just off Route 4 (now designated Route 4A). Don Sevigny and his father operated the mountain's camping area during the 1970s. Most of the trails, particularly the upper ones, vanished rapidly as trees and shrubs filled them in over the years.
From the 1980s and through early 2000s, the trails at Birdseye were nearly impassable. While some logging took place on the slopes, there were few signs of human activity. The old base ski lodge burned down and the
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camping ceased. Birdseye was a ghost.
Fast forward to 2008: Ed Davis is now working to restore and reopen the mountain that inspired a popular, local 1950s-style diner. Davis has bold plans to create nature trails, nature-center exhibits, a nature conservancy area, plus reopen Birdeye's campgrounds. The new nature-oriented complex will be called the Birdseye Environmental Center-unless, as Ed Davis said, "A big donor steps in, then there will obviously be a name change for the center."