On Tuesday, Nov. 13, The Green Mountain Club announced the
completion of the Thundering Falls boardwalk on the Appalachian
Trail in Killington. This prominent, wheelchair-accessible
resource was extensively damaged by Tropical Storm Irene at the end
of August 2011.
"I cannot say enough about the work that the Green Mountain Club
has done to help the Green Mountain National Forest recover from
Tropical Storm Irene. This is a wonderful example, one of many,
where an organization has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to
provide quality access to forest visitors of all abilities," said
Colleen Madrid, forest supervisor for the Green Mountain and Finger
Lakes National Forests.
In Vermont, the Forest Service manages both the Green Mountain
National Forest and all the lands acquired by the National Park
Service for the Appalachian Trail in the state of Vermont.
The Green Mountain Club's Long Trail Patrol special projects
crew rebuilt the boardwalk with guidance and support from the U.S.
Forest Service. Much of the boardwalk was washed away and destroyed
when Irene caused the Ottauquechee River to overflow its banks.
"Thundering Falls is one of Vermont's greatest outdoor resources
and it provides unique opportunities for anyone to enjoy the
falls," said Will Wiquist, the club's executive
director. "This project was one of our great prides before
Irene destroyed it. Thanks to Forest Service leadership, the
boardwalk has reopened barely a year after the storm."
The Green Mountain Club's seasonal staff originally completed
the boardwalk in 2008. This section of the Appalachian Trail
provides handicap-accessible recreation opportunities near these
remarkable waterfalls while eliminating a half mile-long road-walk
from the trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine.
Thundering Falls is the sixth tallest waterfall in
Vermont. At high water it is a magnificent cascade as Kent
Brook tumbles 140 feet through a steep and narrow cataract before
intersecting with the Ottauquechee River. The falls are also the
site of a historic mill powered by the energy of the falling
Green Mountain Club volunteers from the club's Ottauquechee
Section (i.e. local chapter) have already reblazed the trail to
realign the Appalachian Trail over the boardwalk. The 10,000 member
club relies on more than 1,000 volunteers every year to help manage
more than 500 miles of hiking trails in Vermont - including the
Long Trail, Appalachian Trail and a new trail in the Northeast