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Fall Guide: Take a walk on Morgan Horse Farm’s new trails

THE NEW WALKING trails on the Morgan Horse Farm enable horse-loving Vermonters Makenzie and Emily to see the farm’s iconic Vermont State Animal up close during a recent family visit to the Weybridge farm. Photo courtesy of Margot Smithson

WEYBRIDGE — Thanks to the hard work of four summer interns from the University of Vermont, the Addison County community has a new way to engage with the Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge: exploring 1.1 miles of walking trails.

The project, according to Operations Coordinator Margot Smithson, evolved from the farm’s 2018 strategic plan.

“We wanted to create additional educational opportunities for UVM students and think more broadly about the Weybridge farm,” she said.

The horse farm sits on 200 acres, many of which have a history of logging. The farm uses the pastures for its horses, obviously, but was looking for a way to get more use of the wooded areas.

HAZEL TUCKER WORKS on the scavenger hunt along the new Morgan Horse Farm trails. Photo courtesy of Margot Smithson

Enter four UVM students participating in UVM’s Place-based Education and Outdoor Land Use internships: Grace Bugler, Sage White Cloud, Jacqui Barbieri and Jake Dobrzynski. They spent 40 hours a week for six weeks cleaning up and repurposing the logging trails.

Each intern focused on a different project. One wrote and illustrated an interpretive trail map that helps visitors identify plants along the trails. One created a scavenger hunt and storywalk about a magical Morgan horse for hikers of all ages. One built an outdoor classroom. One designed an accessible trail and boardwalk, which the farm plans to secure grant funding to build.

Regular admission to the farm ($8/adults; $5/kids age 5 and up) gets visitors access to the trails, as well as a guided farm tour. Families who want to do the scavenger hunt can pick up a scavenger board — and put on some complementary bug spray — from the gift shop. Scavenger hunters look for different tree species (marked with hand-painted signs) along the trails. Each tree has a little box filled with stamps at its base. They can stamp their board and bring it back to the gift shop for a ribbon.

Smithson said the farm hopes to build out another 2.5 miles of trails. “Our grand vision is to utilize the entire Morgan Horse Farm property in a manner that uses outdoor recreation to interpret for guests our role as stewards of this place, so they can understand the relationship of the working and natural landscapes, and the significance of the Morgan Horse and this farm to the history of Vermont.”

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