Pine Hill Park: the yen to trek

Gibeault, who is a frequent user of the park's mazelike trail system, recalls the old days when Rutlanders enjoyed skiing and swimming at Pine Hill.

"Young people don't know this, but this was a Rutland municipal downhill ski area well into the 1940s," he said. "And Rocky Pond-inside the park-was a popular city swimming beach into the 1960s. But there's no skiing or swimming here now. Now, it's just nature and trails. I think the park land is more beautiful than it was years ago."

According to Gibeault, tens of thousands of back-breaking man-hours created the undulating "singlet" track trails.

Gibeault praised the efforts of Rutland resident and outdoorsman Michael Smith for his long-time involvement with Pine Hill. Smith, he noted, is also spearheading the new Creek Path that will traverse Pine Hill to the campus of St. Joseph's College.

"All the pickaxing, shoveling, bridge building, and signage has been entirely donated by volunteers coordinated through and by the Pine Hill Partnership," Gibeault said.

Inside the park, trails are occasionally connected via a network of unusual bridges including a miniature "Golden Gate" suspension bridge, an hourglass wooden span, a twisting seeping-ledge structure, a Middle Earth-like arched bridge (hobbits will love it), and several others that break up a long jog or bike trek.

No matter what the season or outdoor passion-walking, hiking, jogging, biking-Rutland's Pine Hill Park will satisfy your yen to trek.

Check It Out: Pine Hill Park is located within the City of Rutland. The park is open Wednesday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. and weekends, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The trailhead is located at the Giorgetti Athletic Complex, 2 Oak St. Extension, in Rutland. For more details, call 775-7980.

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