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Hidden Vermont roads spur finding frenzy

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  March 4, 2009 12:37 PM

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HiddenVTroads-609.jpgSome of Vermont's old roads, not unlike this dirt path, route through private land. (Marty Basch/Globe File Photo)

There's a cartographer sweepstakes of epic proportions happening in Vermont.

Here's the rules: towns must find and map unmarked roads in their borders - hidden in mountain passes, forests, and on private land - or lose the right to use them. There's no purchase necessary, but all entries must be received by July 1, 2015. Lawsuits may apply.

The Globe reported today on this historical endeavor, which involves poring over maps from the 1700s and scouting obscure areas, much like the state's first explorers and famous "Green Mountain Boys."

Yet it's as much of a nightmare as it is exciting. Upon reading an updated town map of Bethel, farmer Jim Giberti saw a public road running right through his land. He's suing to make the road exempt, and his story is likely one of many that will crop up as Vermont rediscovers its not-too-distant past.

Imagine even more twisty two-lanes, narrow hairpins, and evergreen-covered routes, all of which could be the best driving roads in New England (provided they're paved). That's certainly worth waiting for.

For the full story, go here to read more.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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8 comments so far...
  1. They are ready to Eminent Domain a few (white) people for these "old" roads, but I guess giving a few trails back to the Abenaki is out of the question.

    Posted by kb richard March 4, 09 06:38 PM
  1. Love the strange edit at the very end.

    Posted by notjim March 5, 09 08:45 AM
  1. 2015? Wouldn't it be cheaper and faster to hire a aerial photography company to fly over the state, take some pics and give them to Google to assemble?

    Posted by ajk March 5, 09 04:16 PM
  1. What type of compensation are the state taxpayers giving to the private landowners for seizing of their land?

    Posted by Archimedes March 5, 09 05:40 PM
  1. Two words: Google Earth

    Posted by Billy Bob March 6, 09 05:02 AM
  1. Google Earth and Aerial photos can't find many of these roads. Despite what they show in the accompanying photograph, (which is actually a well-maintained town road) the roads and paths in question are overgrown and neglected former roads, almost completely impassable. Trees and vegetation obscure most of these and historical maps, research, and land surveys are practically the only way to find and document their locations. I can think of a dozen such roads myself - they are everywhere in Vermont.

    Posted by W. Shedd March 6, 09 09:45 AM
  1. "Provided they are paved?" What a ridiculous thing to say. The best driving roads are NOT paved, I think...

    Posted by flatlander March 6, 09 10:28 AM
  1. If the towns haven't seen the need nor the will to keep up these roads for the past hundred years or so, then why should they have the right to call them "public" roads now. An re the "paved" issue, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, good luck finding many paved roads that are in use never mind abandoned, dirt roads (mud mostly) is an effective landuse control.

    Posted by emccarthy March 7, 09 08:36 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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