Boardwalk in Bolton PPCA Town Forest

The Preston Pond Conservation Area (PPCA), our much loved and visited Bolton Town Forest, was acquired and conserved by the Town in 2003 with help from the Vermont Land Trust. Changing circumstances along the main Notch Rd. trailhead into the area created an obstacle, a stewardship issue, which led us to this management project.

As you leave the Notch Rd. parking access point on the trail into the PPCA, the land slopes down to a point where the packed path on solid ground crosses between two wetland areas, with a culvert that runs between them. A motivated beaver in residence seemed to think that an open culvert was a bad thing in that location, and so plugged it up repeatedly despite a few motivated people who have unplugged it over and over again only to find the beaver has a lot more interest and time to put into this than the people. When it was very rainy, or the wetlands were at their topmost point for any reason, the path there became flooded. The Conservation Commission discussed this and proposed a raised walkway in this area to the Select Board which was approved. We also requested and were granted funding from the Conservation Fund for this project, for management and stewardship of the area. We also noted our submitted application for Tiny Grant funding which, if awarded, could help fund a portion of the project.

Project Contact: Amy Ludwin
Project Contact Email:
Year Project Started: 2023
Project Lifespan: 2023
Regional Planning Commision: Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
Larger Geography: no
Forest Land, Funding, Land Management, partnerships, wetland, wildlife
Other Keywords: Beaver
Project Accomplishments:

We built a 70’ long, raised boardwalk on the primary access trail to the PPCA that allows visitors access to the trails and to the ever changing wetland they are walking over, not through. This abates degradation to the trail, supports core Beaver habitat and all the keystone benefits this brings and allows harmonious human co-use of the area.

This follows the PPCA Management Plan goal of improving degraded area of trail, and protects the surface waters in support of the wildlife habitat created by the expanding wetland under the care of the Beaver. The project accomplished creation of a boardwalk that allows public access with dry feet and leaves the beavers happy to do as they dam please, protecting the surface waters from a treadway in support of the wildlife habitat created by the expanding wetland.

Project Partners:

Will Peery, PPCA Co-Steward and volunteer project leader
Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions, Tiny Grant funding
Vermont Conservation Commissions Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation
Bolton Select Board
Bolton Conservation Commission
Community and Conservation Commission Volunteers

Critical to Success:

Will Peery, our volunteer project leader and newly appointed PPCA Co-Steward, was essential to this project. He had the vision to propose it and the technical knowledge and time to: make a budget, create a mock up image, acquire the needed supplies and lead multiple work days including the one for the installation of the footbridge. Having him in the lead was an essential part of our success.

Without funding we would not have been able to move forward, so we are grateful to the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions, the Vermont Conservation Commissions Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation and the Bolton Select Board.

Community volunteer support was critical to completion of the project, many hands and a good truck made this project possible within a short timeline.


Some of the work days were scheduled inadvertently within the April school vacation period when some who had volunteered to help were away. It was a surprise that we had to adjust to although we were able to find a few more hands and a truck without too much trouble.