Winter Outdoors at Rock Point, by David Lustgarten.
Happy New Year and greetings from your friends on Rock Point! We have some exciting winter news to share with you! A new trail on Rock Point’s property offers some exciting new possibilities for local winter recreation. Originally created as a training facility for the Burlington High School (BHS) Nordic ski team, the cross country trail initiative has evolved into a fully-fledged ski trail complete with grooming for both classic and skate-ski techniques. Snowshoeing is also allowed on the flat-groomed portion of the trail. The ‘West Trail’ is a 1.3-kilometer (0.85 mile) loop extending from the woods and soccer field behind the Rock Point School and northward onto the grounds of the solar panel array. The trail may be accessed just to the left side of the Rock Point School building, the left side of the Diocesan office building, or from Rock Point Road just before the trestle bridge. Please note that the cross country West Trail cannot accommodate pedestrian traffic or dog walking, but those activities can be done on another network of casually maintained trails on the other side of the access road—the ‘East Trails’—accessed from the Diocesan office building parking lot. The East Trails also connect to the Arms Forest trails.
While the West Trail does still serve primarily to support both BHS and RPS educational outdoor activities, guests and neighbors of Rock Point are most welcome to visit and enjoy the ski trail. The BHS ski team will train on the trail most days during the winter season from 3:00pm until 5:00pm. RPS usage will vary, typically occurring later in the day on weekdays. To avoid overcrowding, we ask that the public enjoy the ski trail when it is not in use by those groups. Please be aware that all health safety protocols must be followed—specifically mask wearing and social distancing. You’ll notice small pink flags placed at intervals along the length of the West Trail; these indicate minimum safe distance to be maintained between unrelated groups. There is no time limitation for use of the East Trails, however the same health safety protocols apply. Stay safe and stay well!
This pilot project has been made possible largely through volunteer efforts. When you plan to use the trails on Rock Point, please consider making a financial gift (www.rockpointvt.org) to help us assure that winter activities will remain as a sustainable asset for our entire community. Thank you!
Elena, a student at the Rock Point School, glides through the solar field with Rock Point School in the background. (Photo by CJ Spirito)
When there is little snow but the air is cold, the beaver pond offers quintessential Vermont natural skating—surrounded by both hardwood and conifer forest and offering a view of the Adirondack Mountains across glittering Lake Champlain. The pond is accessible from North Beach or the Rock Point trail access road; just follow the blue markers on the walking trail branching off to the south side of the road. Please remember that ice thickness should be at least four inches for safest skating conditions, but remember that no ice is assured as “safe ice,” so please never skate alone!
In late spring, as we take last ski strides and snowshoe treks through our beloved fields and woods, the rhythm of nature shifts and our focus turns to maple sugaring. You can watch as the buckets are distributed throughout the Rock Point property and fill with sap. Then the sap is boiled down to Vermont’s liquid gold at the sugar shack located just behind the Rock Point School. If you would like to purchase some sweet Rock Point syrup, contact Rock Point’s Property Manager, Chuck Courcy for more information. You can leave a message for Chuck at Rock Point Center’s voice mail by calling 802-658-6233.
We on Rock Point are thrilled to be able to share with our guests and neighbors these opportunities to stay healthy and safe while enjoying nature’s beauty and the best of Vermont’s winter magic—right here in our backyard. We hope to see you on the trails soon! Stay safe and Happy New Year!