History of North Branch River Park
The North Branch River Park is 193 acres. Montpelier Conservation Commission helped raise the funds for the first 2 parcels which were purchased in 1997 and 1995. The 3rd and most recent addition of about 14 acres was a "bargain" sale from Stephan and Lynn Syz around 2002. This last addition connected the park to Gould Hill road. With permission, the local VAST group has made a new trail through this section that connects to the East Montpelier trail system. The North Branch River Park has approximately 5 miles of hiking and skiing trails. The main trail in the Park connects with East Montpelier trails, passing through a rich variety of habitat and terrain. A variety of organizations and volunteers have made major contributions of money and effort to make this park possible.
Invasive Plant Problem
The riparian zone at the North Branch River Park has been taken over by an array of invasive plant species. These species are: Japanese Knotweed, Goutweed, Tartarian Honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry and Buckthorn. Efforts by numerous groups have helped Park staff make significant progress with invasive plant management and control to protect the rich habitat and natural history of this park area has contained. Many locals schools, classes, groups and individuals have contributed to this effort. A partial list includes, NCCC group last May that helped pull over 4000 honeysuckle, multi-flora rose and barberry plants along with planting over 500 native plants to displace the invasives, Department of Labor Trainees, International Volunteers for Peace, Norwich University groups, True North groups, Americorp and VISTA groups, Eco-Americorp program and many more. This was a overwhelming task at the start with well over 30,000 plants having been pulled out, many of them very big. Now the task is looking achievable. With continued support we hope to reach a point in two years where it is hard to find a wood invasive plant. This would be huge shift from when it became a park and invasive dominated huge areas of the park.