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Killington approves kayak trail

KILLINGTON - Killington's board of selectmen approved a proposal for a new kayak run along the Ottaquechee River at its regular meeting last Tuesday, Aug. 6.
"The trails committee has been working with Killington Resort to add a new recreation amenity to the town," Town Manager Seth Webb told the board. "This would be a planned kayak trail on the Ottaquechee River, which would stretch from Raebeck Road to Mission Farm Road."
The plan calls for kayakers to enter the river at a pullout on Raebeck Road, and follow the river for about two and a half miles to an exit point on Mission Farm Road; a ride of about 90 minutes to more depending on the current.
"This was brought to us by the trail committee and by the folks who lead kayak trips, Kayak King and Base Camp Outfitters," Webb said. "They said, 'This is kind of a secret in Killington, and if we could just provide access, we could have a new amenity.' Kayak King and the other outfitters call it 'Killington's Little Amazon,' because there's a lot of wildlife to be seen back there. It's an easy float down this area with lots of scenic views, and it's very protected from Route 4. Pasta Pot has agreed to adopt this trail the way KMS did for the trail on the other side of River Road, agreeing to keep it clear and clean."
The next step, Webb said, is to meet with the state Agency of Natural Resources.
"What we agreed to do was to survey the land," he said. "We're actually arranging a meeting with ANR right now to determine what setbacks would be required, and how we could effectively put in a landing. For the kayak put-in, we would probably add a gravel access, and possibly two or three parking spots. We do have the potential for other spots along the way. In the second area, we would construct four spots along the right-of-way, then we'd have a gravel trail for access to take boats out by foot. You wouldn't be able to drive to the water, but we're contemplating a gravel path to the waterfront."
Some of the parcels of land needed are owned by the Killington resort, which Webb said could be deeded to the town for a dollar. The consequence of this, he added, is losing about $2,000 a year from the grand list.
Webb said the project could increase business for outdoor recreation.
"In addition to providing a kind of self-serve for kayakers who want to use this," he said, "the local Kayak King is planning on offering trips through Base Camp Outfitters as well as with other businesses. We have seen a lot of traffic along the River Road trail, and that's been a nice addition to their offerings. We'd like to have the board's consensus that this is a good idea, so we can go forward and draw up the paperwork with Killington once we complete the surveys and other work with ANR."
Selectman Bernard Rome, attending by telephone, wanted to know where kayakers go now.
"Most of the kayak trails are controlled by ANR, I would think," Webb said, "things like what Kent Pond put in, just off Route 100. Those are the type of facilities that exist."
Chairman Chris Bianchi said the Killington kayak run would provide something new to offer.
"Compared to other kayak venues, it offers something very different," he said "which is a narrow winding river with wildlife views, as opposed to an open pond or open lake... Around Killington, there really isn't that much, so this is a really nice addition, I think."
Selectwoman Patty McGrath said she saw other advantages, as well.
"I think it would be a major contribution in terms of how it would directly affect several businesses," she said, "including New Life, Base Camp Outfitters and Kayak King. But I think, as a lodge owner, just being able to say, 'Oh, there's a kayak trail' is a good thing. It's a good way of promoting the area... Plus, also, it's a gentle type or run, so it's inviting to people who are relatively new to the sport."
All three board members voted to support the project.


Map courtesy of the Town of Killington
Top arrow: Kayak put in off Raybeck Road with a gravel ramp and 2-3 parking spaces.
Bottom arrow: Kayak take out off Mission Farm Road with a landing, 4 parking spaces and a gravel walking path. Across from Skyeship parking lot.