Reminding Council about history of a proposed trail parking lot

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:19

    Much to my dismay, I came across an article in the April 2, 2009 Advertiser-News North which indicated that the Vernon Council was considering an application by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to construct a parking lot for the Appalachian Trail in the midst of a residential area at Route 517 and Carol Drive. I can only assume that this group has failed to acquaint the Council with the history and bitter fight that took place on this very same issue from 1996-98 and again in 2002. When the National Park Service first proposed to reroute the Appalachian Trail in 1996, the residents in the Carol Drive/Ann Place/Meadowlark/Route 517 area had strong objections, including vehement objections to a parking lot. As a result of that fight, the NPS backed off and decided that no parking lot would be built. Four years later however they were back again in violation of the spirit of the 1998 agreement. Residents reacted accordingly. We filled the Council chambers on Feb. 11, 2002 and March 11, 2002 to express our outrage and concern. We also supplied the Council with a petition of local residents. Finally, we agreed to enter mediation through the Vernon Stewardship Alliance and reached an agreement that is reflected in Council Resolution #02-46, which limits parking to a small area of the Route 517 Northbound shoulder. Following that agreement, the town and the County passed related ordinances prohibiting any additional parking and posted the necessary signs. The views of local residents have not changed. Bringing additional transients into a residential area with small children is simply unsafe. As parents and as elected members of the governing board, the first responsibility is to the safety of our children. Any expansion of trail parking that may be needed should be at the Route 94 trailhead. I hope that Council will review this history and not be duped by this unconscionable attempt by trail officials to violate two previous agreements and sneak it by a new Council that is unfamiliar with the history. Joseph F. Davis Glenwood