Kent History Bites

Kent History Bites

Friday, August 29, 1980: New Appalachian Trail Surveryed in Kent, Connecticut

Surveyors working for the National Park Service have been busy in Kent this week marking new routes for the Appalachian Trail. According to Randi Lemmon, an official at the NPS office in Falls Village, relocations of the trail are being planned in response to proposals of the Connecticut Appalachian Trail Committee. They are designed to compensate for the closing earlier this year of trail segments which crossed the property of Mrs. William Culbertson in Macedonia and the Pond Mountain Trust lands on Fuller Mountain.

Mr. Lemmon said that the trail has suffered three private property closings in the State of Connecticut, two of which are the above mentioned in Kent. In both cases, it was abuse of the trail and surrounding areas, primarily by people coming out of Macedonia State Park, which prompted the rerouting of the pathway. The third instance is in Cornwall, where landowner John Neuse has exluded hikers because of similar abuse by campers from Mohawk State Forest, which abuts his property. The new course being surveyed in Kent will be at least five miles shorter than the route hikers now have to take, and will cross – at right angles – Route 341 in the Macedonia Area and Fuller Mountain Road, instead of following lengthy stretches along these roads, as has been the case this summer.

Federal legislation in the past three years has empowered the National Park Service to acquire, through direct purchase or easement arrangement, a protected corridor for the Appalachian Trail. But there has been sharp criticism from local landowners of the approach taken by NPS, including suggestions that a 200′ wide corridor would be more feasible than the 1000′ designated in the law. The new route in Kent is contingent upon purchase by NPS of the Edling property, approximately 165 acres on Route 341, near Kent School farm and the Carter home.

This piece will provide hikers coming out of New York State over Schaghticoke Mountain with access to .9 miles of new trail, across 341 and onto Mount Algo, where it follows the ridge north and west to rejoin the existing trail, across Skiff Mountain Road and onto Caleb’s Peak above St. Johns Ledges. (Schaghticoke Mountain is known to many in this area as “Rattlesnake Mountain,” apparently a justified nickname, since a 4′ rattler was reported killed this past week by Mr. Daron Morgan of the NPS survey team. Mr. Lemmon noted rattlesnakes, because they are slow and noisy, pose less of a threat to Trail users than Copperhead snakes which have also been sighted in the area.)

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