Josh Arneson, Town Manager
Brad Elliott, Richmond Land Trust
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Huntington Gorge Closed for the Season
RICHMOND, VT – April 28, 2020 - The upper part of Huntington Gorge and its popular swimming hole have been closed to recreation for at least the coming summer due to the highly dangerous conditions caused by last Halloween’s washout of Dugway Road.
Richmond officials have closed the road and the washout area to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Police will strictly enforce parking controls.
The Town of Richmond and the Gorge’s owner, the Richmond Land Trust, made the decision to protect the safety of the public as well as that of the first responders who’d be needed should an emergency occur at the site.
Fierce flooding in the Huntington River last Halloween swept away 80 feet of the Dugway Road embankment and part of the road itself, 40 feet above the river. The remaining embankment is very unstable and more of it could slide into the Gorge at any time.
The Town of Richmond is currently working with FEMA on a plan to rebuild the embankment and repair Dugway Road. At the earliest it could reopen this coming fall. But Town officials say it is more likely that the project will not be completed before next spring.
Photographs and a Gorge Fact Sheet follow below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for high resolution versions of the photographs.
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HUNTINGTON RIVER GORGE/DUGWAY ROAD CLOSURES
PHOTOGRAPHS AND GORGE FACT SHEET
Last Halloween’s huge rainstorm caused the Huntington River to rise and tear away the embankment supporting Dugway Road in Richmond above a popular scenic gorge. (Photo: Louis Borie)
Due to continuing dangers caused by the Dugway Road washout, the road and the upper part of the Huntington River Gorge have been closed to the public at least until fall. (Photo: Louis Borie)
- The upper section of the Huntington River Gorge consists of a series of rocky cascades carved by the river over thousands of years and a long, shallow and more placid stretch of water below. It is located in Richmond on Dugway Road about two miles south of Dugway’s intersection with Cochran Road.
- The Richmond Land Trust purchased the site in 2018, working with the Vermont River Conservancy to raise public and private funds to acquire the popular site and protect its many natural, historic, scenic and recreational resources. The Gorge was then conserved on October 2, 2018, through an agreement with the Vermont River Conservancy and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, which hold the conservation easement on the land.
- Throughout most of the 1800s the Gorge supplied water power for grist, cider and wood-turning mills. In 1902 Richmond’s first and only commercial hydroelectric plant was built in the Gorge. The remains of its foundations can still be seen.
- While the Gorge and the adjacent part of Dugway Road are closed due to dangers associated with the washout, the Richmond Land Trust and Vermont River Conservancy are continuing to work on a plan to improve safety in the Gorge and protect its resources. These include having a steward on hand after the re-opening to direct people away from its dangerous chasm and toward the more placid sections of the river below.
- The Richmond Land Trust is a private, all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded in 1987 and dedicated to conserving Richmond’s natural, historic and agricultural resources. It owns and manages nine nature preserves across the town, and has assisted other landowners in conserving their properties.
- The Vermont River Conservancy is a Montpelier-based non-profit that works to protect and preserve important land along Vermont waters such as waterfalls, gorges, swimming holes, wetlands, river and lake shores and islands. It has preserved more than 78 sites around the state.