St. Albans Recreation Reserve Project

Students from the Renaissance community are working with members of Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, Hard'ack Recreational Area, Aldis Hill Park, and the Franklin County Mountain Bike Club to improve the trail systems of Aldis Hill and Hard'ack. In addition to being a wonderful opportunity to improve these local resources, this project will meet each of the standards for the entire Earth and Life Science curriculum.

The project started with a conversation between different members of the above organizations (all St. Albans residents). Members of the Mountain Bike Club wanted better biking trails, Aldis Hill and Hard'ack board members were looking for ways to improve the experience for the people who use their land, and Friends of Northern Lake Champlain wanted a trail system that helped filter some of the pollutants that have a clear path to the lake. While each had their own issues they wanted resolved, each came down to one simple fact: the current trail systems, while a terrific resource, need improving.

With the support of the steering committee, the students in Renaissance are participating in all levels of this project. All consultants, firms, and individuals hired by the committee are required to include an educational component to their responsibilities, all meetings are held at St. Albans City School, and guest speakers present additional information to the students. Students have shared their own ideas with these consultants for a Hard'ack/Aldis Hill trail system that is sustainable, enjoyable and navigable, and that works towards resolving the water filtration issue.

The first part of the project was for the students to hike every trail in the system and add each one onto a Google map. This map is the primary resource for much of the work to be done. Images and descriptions of each trail, problem spots, potential improvements to the trails and trail system, and other information is included on the map. Using Google Apps, students have collaborated and shared their work with their group and teachers.

Here is a list of the steps taken by students and consultants thus far:
  • In May of 2014, Renaissance students interviewed three engineering firms.  As a result, Sinuosity was hired to consult on this project.  
  • Students designed a survey after meeting with Mr. Valliere, a member of the research staff in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM, around the trail use at Hard'ack/Aldis Hill.  
  • Renaissance and Sinuosity traveled to Cady Hill in Stowe to observe trail design that limited erosion.  
  • Sinuosity worked with Renaissance students in the classroom before collecting data in the field.   
  • This training proved to be very successful as students collaboratively gathered data and pictures that were needed for Sinuosity to create better trail designs.  
  • Sinuosity produced a report with a range of specific recommendations for trail improvements.

Now funding must be organized to modify and repair the existing trails. 

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