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News and Announcements

TRAILS CLOSED: APRIL 8, 2024

The following trails will be closed for the day of the solar eclipse, Monday, April 8. It is mud season in Vermont meaning that trails will be especially vulnerable to damage. Thank you for helping to protect Williston's trails. More information on trail closures in Vermont and places open during the eclipse can be found linked here

Trails Closed on April 8: 

Five Tree Hill Trail 

Sucker Brook Hollow Country Park 

Oak View Hill Trail 

Mud Pond Country Park 

Mud Pond Conservation Area

Allen Brook Nature Trail

ALLEN BROOK NATURE TRAIL BOARDWALK CLOSURE

The Allen Brook Nature Trail boardwalk has been closed. Following the flooding event on December 18th and ongoing beaver activity the a new channel in the Allen Brook near the viewing platform has deepened and widened. This has resulted in two of the posts that support the structure being dislodged and a pool of water forming adjacent to the boardwalk. 

Staff at the Town are assessing what repairs or alterations are necessary to make the structure usable again. The nature of the changing conditions in this area may necessitate a different approach than simply repairing the structure. 

While that process is happening the boardwalks is closed and we ask for the public's co-operation in not using it. 

 

Beavers on the Allen Brook Nature Trail

Beavers are back on the Allen Brook Nature trail! The repopulation of beavers creates many benefits for our natural environment. Beavers are agile creatures in the water but clumsy on land so they build dams to create beaver ponds to allow them to harvest food and live in safety. These beaver ponds create wetlands which benefit a host of other wildlife. By trapping water they help build up sediment which reduces the channelization of the Allen Brook and improves water quality. Once the beavers move on the dam decays and the pond becomes a meadow teeming with new growth and wildlife. 

Thanks to residents Jim Heltz and Arnold Wetherhead for the drone footage of the beavers available linked here (caution - this is a large file!).

Beavers have established dams and a lodge in the area of the nature trail between Keystone Drive and Old Stage Estates. The beaver pond they have created encompasses the footbridge and the bog bridges that lead to it from the north. The pond is relatively small and rises and falls quickly with rainfall. In the summer of 2023 town staff raised the bog bridges by 6" to get them out of the beaver pond.

Town staff have met with Tyler Brown a Vermont Fish and Wildlife Wildlife specialist. Beavers work hard to maintain their dams so will repair any damage quickly or any holes we cut to reduce the water level. They have an incredible work ethic!

Beaver baffles (a piped structure that pipes water through the dam to reduce water levels) are unlikely to be successful at this site. The pond is shallow and small with lots of vegetation which means the beavers will find the inlet and dam it up with mud and branches. The narrow twisty nature of the Allen Brook in this area also means that it would be easy for the beavers to simply build another dam if we baffle an existing dam and recreate their beaver pond. They are smart creatures! Eventually the beavers will exhaust their food supply and move on to other areas.

Working with the Conservation Commission the town has decided to monitor the situation. Click here for the Conservation Commission's discussion. The pond levels rise and fall quickly. This means that the trail may be inundated during periods of intense rainfall, but is should quickly fall in a dry spell. We know that this is a route to school for many children but that people are 'pro beaver' so we think this is the right solution. We will continue monitoring and revisit the situation as it develops. 

Beaver dam 

 
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