The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy inducted Vermont’s Island Line Trail into its national trails "Hall of Fame" on December 1, 2010, recognizing the trail’s spectacular attributes and decades of collaborative work among towns, the State of Vermont, and trail advocates.
The Island Line Trail unites the Burlington Bike Path, the Colchester Causeway, and the Allen Point Access Area in South Hero into a stunning 14-mile trail that travels along, and over, Lake Champlain. The recent award by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy recognizes the Island Line as a "rail-trail jewel in a robust outdoor recreation scene."
Rails-To-Trails' review of the Island Line Trail can be found on the Conservancy’s website.
"The Town of Colchester is proud to have our trail receive this prestigious designation," said Colchester Parks & Recreation Director Glen Cuttitta. "We have worked hard to improve the former railroad causeway into a world-class multi-use trail. Today, this trail is a hallmark feature of our town and builds on Colchester’s reputation as an outdoor recreation destination.”
"This recognition affirms the work of our community and the city’s long-standing commitment to recreation, tourism and alternative transportation, knowing that the path is critical to our community’s vibrancy and livability. We are dedicated to ensuring that the path continues to be enhanced and is sustainable for another 25 years and beyond. To that end, we recently launched a citizen task force to help in that effort," commented Mari Steinbach, Director of Burlington Parks & Recreation. Details of the task force can be found on the department's website.
"We've been pleased to see the trail's multiple user groups working together at this site. It's certainly a unique and diverse recreational area," remarked Mike Wichrowski, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Administrator.
The Island Line Trail is Vermont's most popular multi-use trail – with over 150,000 user visits a year. For the last 10 years, Local Motion has been operating a limited service "Bike Ferry" providing passage across Lake Champlain at a 200 ft gap in the causeway, which connects the Colchester and South Hero trail sections. Expanded ferry service is planned in the coming years with significant infrastructure improvements targeted for 2012. More information can be found here.
"This national recognition and the proposed trail improvements will further attract visitors to our area and benefit our regional economy," said Ruth Wallman, Director of the Lake Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Town of Colchester, the City of Burlington, the Town of South Hero, the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Vermont Recreation Trails Program have funded improvements along the trail.
More information on this trail can be found on the Trail Finder.