New Kent trail to open in October
KENT — A hiking trail set to open on Kent Mountain offers a challenging option in an area rich in history.
The 3-mile trail loop was spearheaded by the Kent Land Trust and ties into the existing trail system on the adjoining Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust property. About 1.4 miles are located on the Weantinoge land.
“We hope that a lot of people will get out to use it and take advantage of both
preserves,” said Carrie Davis, Weantinoge’s assistant director of land conservation.
The trail officially opens Oct. 14 with a special hike from 9 to 11 a.m. co-hosted by the two land trusts. It is associated with the Kent Historical Society, which is located near the entrance to the trail and has an exhibit on the town’s founders.
Mike Benjamin, Kent Land Trust’s land manager, said the event will promote the natural beauty and history of the area.
“It offers an opportunity to see some historical artifacts from Kent’s iron era, including charcoal mounds and historical roadways,” Benjamin said. “It also offers westward views of the Housatonic River Valley and the Catskill Mountains on a good clear day.”
He described the hike’s difficulty as moderate to strenuous for this area.
Davis said it was nice to be able to add a challenging trail option.
How to attend the opening hike
Anyone interested in attending the Oct. 14 hike from 9 to 11 a.m. should RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
“It’s an enhanced recreational opportunity for the public,” she said. “We’re really excited about that.”
The Kent Land Trust acquired the property in 2014 and Benjamin began working on the trail about a year ago. He and Paul Elconin, Weatinoge’s director of land conservation, spent eight to 10 months planning the course of the trail.
Davis said Weantinoge has partnered with the Kent Land Trust in the past and called the trail a great project.
“We thought it would be a great idea to connect the two preserves,” she said. “It’s been a great partnership with the Kent Land Trust and working to get the trail established.”
A group made up of Benjamin, Kent Land Trust intern Alison Robey, a volunteer from the trust and a seven-member crew from AmeriCorps spent two and a half days in June clearing the trail and creating a path. Benjamin and Robey spent an additional six full days finishing up the labor.
Benjamin said he was appreciative of all of the help, especially for the added manpower from the AmeriCorps crew, which helped make the trail a reality.
He said it’s very gratifying to see the trail so close to being completed after all of the hard work.
The last piece is the trail map, which is being created by John Milnes Baker, the architect who designed the Kent Welcome Center and has made other trail maps and the new trail book for the Kent Land Trust. The map will be posted at the trail head and paper copies will be available for hikers to take with them.
The Oct. 14 event will start at Weantinoge’s existing trail head for the Cobble Vista trail system on Studio Hill Road, where hikers are encouraged to park.
The trust is looking for volunteers to help with trail maintenance and Benjamin hopes to add signs along the path, highlighting historical features.
“That would be a good community volunteer project in the future,” he said.