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EPT Improves Equinox Preserve Access, Informational Programs

September 2007 - The Equinox Preservation Trust board is in the final stages of several key projects designed to improve parking, access and visitor information to the 914-acre nature preserve on Mt. Equinox this fall.

Visitors now have improved parking access to the Preserve with the addition of a new parking area at the West Union Street entrance in Manchester Village.

A new entrance gate at that access point was installed at the parking area, more clearly marking this one of the two Preserve entrances, which in the past lacked an obvious landmark at the northern Preserve trail head. With the cooperation of neighboring residents, the parking area and gate were installed with minimal impact on the surrounding land.

EPT is also installing two new informational kiosks at each Preserve entrance, one just beyond the new West Union parking area and one just inside the Black Gate entrance at the top of Equinox Pond Road. Both access points are off Prospect Street in Manchester Village.

The kiosks will contain colorful permanent displays and informational panels reflecting the diverse and valued forest environment now protected by the expanded boundaries of the Equinox Preserve. The kiosks will also be used to post program information offered by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), which manages the protected property and provides year-round educational programs in the Preserve. Trail maps will be available in the kiosks, along with dispensers for bags to be used by dog owners to remove dog waste from the trails

As the Preserve celebrates the first anniversary of the addition of 64 new acres to the protected forest lands on Mt. Equinox this month, EPT will soon be distributing new informational trail maps that reflect the new boundaries of the expanded Preserve lands and the revised trail system.

The various projects have been designed to better accommodate and educate visitors and safeguard the protected lands.

President of the EPT board Dr. Rich Heilemann pointed out, “With the growing popularity of the Preserve trail system, parking was becoming problematic. Additionally, the West Union Street entrance was never clearly marked and visitors were often confused as to where to go once they reached the top of West Union. With the completion of the kiosks this fall, and installation of tasteful signage, access will now be readily obvious. Our goal was to create this improved access with the least disturbance of the natural surroundings.”

Furthermore, the old “red gate” placed at the north entrance to the Preserve was removed, replaced by the new parking lot gate, painted green to blend with the environment. Said Heilemann, “Crews from the Equinox Resort have been responsible for the on-site work and have done a great job moving these projects to completion over the summer.”

Various EPT board members have also met with The Nature Conservancy of Vermont to discuss the spread and eradication of invasive plants on the Preserve lands. The EPT Board is also working with several local professional foresters to initiate a more complete inventory of the protected lands. This will help determine future programs that will best preserve the diversity of these woodlands. “EPT is providing ongoing oversight on these important issues to assure these lands maintain their environmental integrity while providing public access to these unique ecosystems,” said EPT’s Rich Heilemann.








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