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Champlain Area Trails carves a new path in Westport

Champlain Area Trails Executive Director Chris Maron clears a log from the trail as trail-crew volunteer Bill Bryant looks on.

Champlain Area Trails Executive Director Chris Maron clears a log from the trail as trail-crew volunteer Bill Bryant looks on. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

“What really stood out to me on the Cheney trail is the overlook,” Bryant said. “I’m currently managing some family woodlands and I’m trying to get an understanding on how trails are designed.”

Bryant pointed out that Maron would often stop as the trail was being cleared and instruct the workers to alter the course to include a scenic feature.

Besides the opportunity to learn, Bryant also liked the fact that he’s contributing to the region.

“There’s a lack of hiking trails in the Champlain Valley, and people need variety,” Bryant said. “Not everyone has the ability to hike the bigger mountains.”

Elaine Miller, a member of the CATS trail committe, agreed with Bryant, and said that she sees the trails as an investment in the communities they pass through.

She also likes the challenge and the camaraderie that come with working in the woods.

“In the beginning it can feel like a forced march, but when the trail is finished everyone feels that same sense of accomplishment,” Miller said.

Miller has helped during the planning of some of the CATS trails, and said the organization always puts the integrity of the ecosystem first by avoiding wildlife habitat and old-growth forests.

“We do our best to prune responsibly and tread gracefully,” Miller said.

CATS holds volunteer trail days the third Saturday of every month. For more information on the organization, or to volunteer, visit champlainareatrails.com

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