Upper La Platte River

Upper La Platte River in SummerThe Upper La Platte River Natural Area is a 65-acre extension of Shelburne’s community effort to protect incredible wildlife habitat along the major tributary of the Lake Champlain’s Shelburne Bay.  (Shelburne Bay is where the regional water district draws water for ~60,000 residents.)  This stretch of the La Platte River, now protected from future development, provides habitat for one of only two known populations of the rare Stonecat (a small nocturnal fish).  This natural area is open for free public access to an easy to moderate trail that crosses the river, cuts across a river valley, around agricultural fields, and winds through both mature hardwood and hemlock forests.

The Lake Champlain Land Trust is currently implementing a major river restoration effort and has already planted hundreds of trees along the bank of the Upper La Platte River Natural Area to protect the water quality of Lake Champlain.

Upper La Platte River Natural Area News and Press

“Land Trust Volunteers Expand Shelburne Trail” – Burlington Free Press (Sept 29, 2016)
“VT Restoration Project Protects Rare Fish”
– Burlington Free Press (July 11, 2016)
“Upper La Platte River Restoration Project” – Shelburne News (May 19, 2016)

Upper La Platte River Natural Area Photo Galleries

Spring 2016 Tree Planting – May 16, 2016
Fall 2015 Tree Planting – November 7, 2015

Directions

From the South: Take US Route 7 N. After passing the Shelburne Vineyard, take a right at the stoplight (Marsett Road). Follow this road straight through the four way stop. After crossing over the bridge over the La Platte River Waterfall, take your first right onto Thomas Road. Follow Thomas Road up the hill and after it bends east, turn into the first marked driveway entrance of the Vermont Zen Center (480 Thomas Road). Find the marked Land Trust parking spots within the Center’s parking area and follow trail signs to the west of the Zen Center buildings.

From the North: Take US Route 7 S.  From Shelburne Village, follow Route 7 south past Shelburne Museum to the light at the top of the hill, turn left (east) onto Marsett Road. Follow this road straight through the four way stop. After crossing over the bridge over the La Platte River Waterfall, take your first right onto Thomas Road.  Follow Thomas Road up the hill and after it bends east, turn into the first marked driveway entrance of the Vermont Zen Center (480 Thomas Road). Find marked Land Trust parking spots within the Center’s parking area and follow trail signs to the west of the Zen Center buildings.


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Guides

Click here for a printable guide to the Upper La Platte River Natural Area, including driving directions.

Click here for a family-friendly hiking guide.

 

History

The Lake Champlain Land Trust worked with the private owner of the property, the Vermont Zen Center, to purchase the development rights (also known as a conservation easement) and permanent right to have free public access to the 65-acre property.  The Land Trust worked with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Town of Shelburne’s Selectboard and the Shelburne Natural Resources and Conservation Committee to purchase the easement (including a special river protection zone) at a significant discount.  The Land Trust agreed to help the owner keep the trails maintained.

Please respect the sensitive habitat and please note that dogs are not allowed on the property.

Partners

The Upper La Platte River Natural Area was conserved in partnership with the Town of Shelburne, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Zen Center, and the Lake Champlain Land Trust.