- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

BOLTON, Vt. (AP) - In 1912, the Vermont Legislature budgeted $500 for a new foot bridge over the Winooski River, so hikers on Vermont’s north-south Long Trail wouldn’t have to make a 3-mile detour.

More than a century and $2 million later, the bridge opened Friday.

The Burlington Free Press reports (https://bfpne.ws/1IRfGOz ) that the project turned out to be a bit more complicated than may have been understood 103 years ago.

It ended up involving not just construction of the 224-foot suspension bridge, but 300 acres of land acquisition and 6 miles of new trail.

But now the long-time goal of a more direct route through Bolton and across the Winooski River is a reality.

The project was led by the Green Mountain Club, which established and maintains the Long Trail. Fundraising by the hiking club was augmented this time by $500,000 from the state for land conservation and trail work.

At Friday’s opening ceremony, Mike DeBonis, executive director of the Green Mountain Club, asked the crowd of about 100 who had gathered for the event, “Are we ready to open this thing, or what?”

One of those attending the event was Tom Candon of Shelburne, who said he has walked the Long Trail, which runs along the spine of the Green Mountains the length of the state. He said the bridge would make the Winooski River crossing much more enjoyable.

“It takes of about 3 miles of walking on hard surface of the road and you get back into the woods quicker,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

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