Had a great meeting this week with Bill McKnight, the local rancher who holds the grazing permit for much of the project's first segment. He's very supportive of public access and is working with us to make sure that area visitors - human and bovine alike - can play well together.
His biggest concern is not with S-L Trail users, but with folks who'll access Talbot Canyon using the trail. He grazes up Talbot Canyon for much of the summer and is concerned that trail users will push his cows where they're not supposed to be. We're going to install a couple of self-closing gates across the trail on either side of Talbot Creek, as well as a small amount of new drift fence, to make sure trail users don't create problems for his grazing permit.
It's great to have the support of Lamoille's ranching community for this project, and I'm looking forward to working with Bill and the other ranchers over the next few years as the project goes forward. It's been my contention all the way along that grazing and recreation are NOT mutually exclusive uses - it's my hope that this project can amply demonstrate my point.
Tick, tock, tick, tock - we wait, wait, wait for the NEPA decision. Molasses moves more quickly. I mean - we can't really do much this time of year, anyway, but still...
We move forward with working on funding for the project. Right now we're working on grants that will help pay for Segment 2, as well as grants that will help us rehabilitate the Talbot Creek Trail. More news on this as it becomes available.