July 25th, 2013
Approximately 20 people turned out for the grand opening of the new Sucker Brook Hollow Country Park and Trail last Friday.
The trail begins at a new parking lot and trailhead, located at 5035 St. George Road, and extends for a mile, connecting with the popular scenic overlook at Five Tree Hill. The first half of the trail is in the forested 20-acre park, and the second half runs through an easement on Dan Boomhower’s property.
The property has been in the Boomhower family since 1911, but Williston residents have been farming the area since the 1700s. After purchasing the land from his uncle, Robert Hill, Boomhower sold the portion that is now the park to the town in 2004, and the Vermont Land Trust took over the development rights.
Bob Linck of the Vermont Land Trust commended the gathered crowd, saying that landowner, town staff and community commitment helped fulfill the town’s vision for the parcel.
“This is the beginning of forever,” he said, noting the perpetual conservation of the land. “I think it’s a remarkable achievement for everyone.”
Boomhower urged the attendees to picture his ancestors driving livestock over the hills, taking a refreshing dunk under a waterfall upstream and haying the now-forested pastures.
The trail, including a 57-foot bridge over the Sucker Brook, cost approximately $80,000—$53,000 in grants and $27,140 in matching funds from the town’s capital budget, plus approximately $20,000 worth of in-kind services, said Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti.
Crews from Vermont Youth Conservation Corps worked on the bridge, and Home Depot stepped in to finish the decking when the town ran out of money, Andreoletti said.
Jodi Bartley and her son Will, 9, came to the grand opening for the opportunity to explore a new section of Williston. The family just moved nearby, and the Sucker Brook flows through their yard.
“We will certainly be using this in the future,” she said.
—Stephanie Choate, Observer staff