UVLT and the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA) have teamed up with community members to conserve a key parcel in Norwich and secure trail access through fields along Blood Brook. A $50,000 campaign for the project is underway.
This initiative is a key step in the realization of goals established the in Norwich Open Space Plan and is supported by the Conservation Commission and trails committee. In addition to its ecological and recreational benefits, the project also has cultural and historic significance.
Years ago, cars lined the sides of Hopson Road in winter and families came from surrounding towns to watch as local skiers practiced flying off a jump there. The Ford Sayre Ski Program gathered youth to train, several of whom went on to compete in the Olympics. (Read more about that here.) The land belonged to Paul Sample, reknowned in his own right as a painter and artist-in-residence at Dartmouth for many years.
Later the land was owned by Leonard and Rosemary Rieser, devoted members of the Norwich community. Pines have grown in around the jumping hill, but a sign still marks “Sample’s Jump.” Visitors to the property come on foot or on snowshoes, entering on the trail along Blood Brook. Students learn stream ecology in Blood Brook. Walkers, joggers and cyclists appreciate the view from Hopson Road, unaware of the remarkable history of this place.
In 1991, Rosemary Rieser played a key role in conserving the open meadows along Blood Brook (“Warner Meadows” is 21 acres owned by a private neighborhood association of 24 households.) Now her children are working with UVLT and UVTA to conserve the 11-acre parcel where the ski jump is located and permanently protect the streamside trail that Norwich residents have enjoyed for decades. This trail, across Warner Meadows and through the adjacent property Paul Sample once owned, will be known as “The Rosemary Rieser Trail.”