Last Sunday’s beautiful weather and pleasant temperatures set a perfect backdrop for the grand opening of the newest trail in the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) network of trails, the Hemlock Hill Trail in Westport. Hikers celebrated the opening with a walk through an upland forest with rock outcrops, mossy glades, beautiful old hemlock trees, and some grand specimens of oaks and shagbark hickories.
Along the 1.5-mile hike, CATS Executive Director Chris Maron and CATS Trail Steward Bill Amadon pointed out the unique natural features of the Hemlock Hill Trail, such as the large red oak trees and the small openings in the woods called “glades” that feature many types of wildflowers and grasses.
CATS thanks Tom Duca, the property owner who conserved the 120-acre property where the Hemlock Hill Trail is located with a conservation easement that allows limited development, protects the farmland and forest, and allows for the hiking trail.
Duca also expressed his thanks to CATS for its work to conserve the land and make the trail and to the Open Space Institute, the Klipper Family Fund, and many individuals who contributed to support the project.
“Sunday’s hike had it all,” said Maron. “Beautiful weather, pleasant end-of-summer temps, and high spirits on the part of the hikers. It’s really what CATS is all about—to make trails for people to enjoy and learn about nature, plus attract visitors and promote economic vitality. Hemlock Hill Trail is great for those who want a nice little hike and it will be part of the longer trail we’re working on between Westport and Essex.”
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in the Champlain Valley, with the goal of linking communities, connecting people with nature and promoting economic vitality. For more information on the Grand Hike and all of CATS programs, visit champlainareatrails.com or call the CATS office at 518-962-2287.