By Walter Opuszynski
Future Through/Section Paddlers will be pleasantly pleased that we have shaved off 1.5 miles of carry between Island Pond and the Nulhegan River. This feat was accomplished with the support of two primary land owners: Maurice Barnes, owner of Lakeside Camping on Island Pond and the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation. The reroute is clearly described in the “Trail Updates” section of the NFCT website. Along with the reduction in portage miles, we have the inclusion of a new water body on the NFCT: Spectacle Pond.
The new Island Pond-Nulhegan River portage goes through Lakeside Camping to the Fish and Wildlife put-in on Spectacle Pond, reconnecting with the old portage on Brighton State Park property.
Lakeside Camping is a great resource to have the NFCT corridor pass through. Maurice has on the water tent sites available for reasonable rates along with many amenities that a wary Through Paddler may be seeking after trudging up the Clyde River (like laundry machines!).
Brighton State Park is cozy with a really nice sandy beach and good fishing on Spectacle Pond. If you know when you will be arriving you can call to make a reservation, you can also stop in along the way to see if they have any openings to accommodate you. If you are making the new portage and want to get a tent site in Brighton State Park you can paddle to the south end of the lake, take out at the beach, and follow the road up to the contact station.
The installation of the new portage trail went very smoothly. Working with Regional Field Coordinator, Noah Pollack we installed signs, posts, and cleared a small stretch of corridor.
The route is currently clearly marked: From Island Pond you will paddle to the eastern shore, looking for a beach with a culvert. Take out near the culvert and begin following the NFCT trail signs through the camping area:
Not too far down Fishing Village Road you will come to the Spectacle Pond Fish and Wildlife boat access.
Travel east across Spectacle Pond, staying to the left of the jutting point of land.
From this point you will travel down a woods road until reaching the Nulhegan Pond access on Route 105. Enjoy, and remember, if you experience any trail issues or think there may be some missing signage, contact the NFCT Trail Director at (802)496-2285 ext.2.