WESTPORT — An abandoned stone quarry became part of the Champlain Area Trails system on Sunday.
A group of volunteers met CATS executive director Chris Maron in the former Church of Latter-Day Saints parking lot on Rt. 9N in Westport to forge a path through hardwood forests and open meadows.
Armed with hand saws, rakes and loppers, crew members snipped shrubbery and relocated downed tree limbs as they made their way toward a small, scenic clearing overlooking the quarry.
By noon, their route was no longer a series of pink ribbons snaking through the woods—the hidden quarry trail had become a reality.
To date, CATS has 29 trails listed on its website, making the newest addition the 30th on their ever-expandng list.
Although one of the goals of creating the trail system is to give people in the Champlain Valley access to nature, Maron hopes it isn’t the only outcome.
The non-profit organization’s mission is also to improve the economy of the region by connecting its many small towns, enabling people to travel between them via wilderness paths.
“We normally approach landowners and try to make arrangements to put a trail through their property,” Maron said. “This time it was unusual because the landowner contacted us.”
This isn’t the first time CATS has been contacted, though.
Recently, officials from Moriah and Lewis have also expressed interest in recruiting CATS to help them create trails in their towns.
Maron said that the organization has never had trouble attracting volunteers since its inception in 2009, either.
“Sometimes only a few people turn out, and other times we’ve had 30 to 40 people show up,” Maron said.
Carving a trail through the woods isn’t for everyone, and everyone gets involved for different reasons.
When CATS recently completed the Cheney Mountain trail in Moriah, Bill Bryant decided it was time to lace up his boots and help out.