In addition to trails, quarries and lots of rocks, the Millstone Trails are home to a wide variety of ecosystems. One of these is called the “vernal pool” which, in our neck of the woods, plays host to salamanders and certain species of frogs.
Vernal pools, also called vernal ponds or ephemeral pools, are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish. — Wikipedia
This summer, we will be developing a section of trail in hopes of establishing a more beginner-friendly route through the Town Forest section. This work is made possible in part by a grant from the Vermont Mountain Bike Association. On a recent scouting walk through the area, we visited two of these pools, together with Caitlin Cusack of the Vermont Land Trust and Carl Rogers, Barre Town Manager. Luckily, our new trail won’t disturb these protected areas. They are interesting sites to visit, though, and just one of many fascinating features to be found at Millstone.