Forest Canopy Walk

New Exhibit Coming Fall 2019!

Something For Everyone

A new exhibit is coming to the VINS Nature Center – the Forest Canopy Walk. The “Walk” will complement VINS’ mission and enhance its world-class environmental education for visitors. Designed so people of all levels of ability can enjoy it, this new feature will offer every generation a new perspective and way to experience the beauty of the landscape.

The landscape of VINS’ 47-acre property is perfectly suited to allow people to gain elevation without the need for stairs or steep ramps. Because the land drops in elevation as it slopes toward the backwater of the Ottauquechee River, we can build a boardwalk that remains relatively level while the land drops away beneath. At the highest points, visitors will be an amazing 65 feet above the forest floor getting eye-to-eye with tiny warblers, woodpeckers and squirrels!

Special Features
The Walk will provide an opportunity to move from forest floor to treetops without a climb. Connecting to the existing McKnight Trail, the Walk will be reached by a combination of ground-level trail and a newly constructed, ADA-accessible boardwalk. The increase in elevation from the start of the trail to the entrance will be minimal to accommodate the greatest diversity 
of visitors.

Three special features and five Interpretation Nodes will also be built into the Walk. The Eagle’s Nest is a spur off the main walk. It will be built on two levels, with the upper level being an oversized nest that visitors can climb into and see the world from an eagle’s vantage point. The Tree House will be an elevated structure on one corner of the Walk built with several levels that are reached by a helical stair system.

Exciting Elements

The Tree House is designed to bring people higher into the canopy and reach above the treetops, providing visitors with a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside.

Integrated into a portion of the Walk is the Giant Spider Web (20 feet in diameter), which will give the visitor the chance to lie in wait, or walk across a woven web high above the ground. Fitted with three layers of netting to protect users, the open weave permits visitors to see down to the forest floor. A cargo net added to one end of the web will encourage those with the strength and stamina to climb the net to reach the Owl’s Nest.

There will be four other nodes on the Walk, encouraging visitors to engage with a variety of forest facts and experiences from sight and sound to contemplation of the forest.

We are all used to walking through the forest and looking up to see the birds and leaves, but rarely do many of us have the opportunity to see those same things at eye level or while looking down.

To learn more about the VINS Forest Canopy Walk, please reach out to Charles Rattigan at cfrattigan@vinsweb.org.

With the Forest Canopy Walk, your perspective will be completely altered!