Part of what makes Burlington, VT a beautiful and desirable place to live is the open, green space. We love our trees, fields and trails so much, it’s part of the Vermonter identity.
As of July, 2018, over 160 acres of land is now preserved in Burlington’s North End, just off of North Ave. The Rock Point and Arms Forest Coalition is comprised of several organizations, seeking to conserve natural areas in Burlington and provide public access for all.
The Preserved Land
The Parks Foundation of Burlington, Friends of Rock Point and the Episcopal Church in Vermont, Lake Champlain Land Trust and Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department formed the Rock Point and Arms Forest Coalition in 2017 under a joint mission to preserve natural land for the city, provide safe and local access for the public, and improve the trails.
Together, the forests become one of the largest natural areas in Burlington. The Rock Point peninsula is a notable feature, which can be viewed from other city vantage points like Battery Park and Waterfront Park.
In addition to sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and the lake, the forests are currently home to 20 rare types of plant, like the large flowered trillium and the harsh sunflower, as well as uncommon forest communities of tree species for our region.
Identified by UVM programs previously as the “Rock Point Area”, the forest is model example of “urban wild,” space within the city limits where wildlife and vegetation create a natural community. Reported wildlife in this area include:
- Wild turkeys
- White-tailed deer
- Indiana bats (a tiny, endangered species)
- Seasonal songbirds like the blue warbler, scarlet tanager, and wood-pewee
- Occasional moose
Open to the Public
While the forests have historically had walking trails, most trails were not created with long-term use and maintenance in mind. The Coalition is working on the extensive process of repairing existing trails, and relocating trails to better accommodate public access as well as the existing habitat.
A major aspect of the project includes constructing specific access points to the Burlington Bike Path. This will allow hikers access to walking and hiking trails, and mountain bike paths of various terrain and levels of difficulty will be accessible for bikers as well.
Cambrian Rise’s Neighbor
Part of the sustainability measures at Cambrian Rise focus on the ease of access to open, natural spaces for those who live and work in the neighborhood. The Rock Point and Arms Forests are located 0.5 miles from Cambrian Rise, and will be accessible via North Ave and the Burlington Bike Path.