Journey's End in Johnson

Journey’s End is a well-used swimming hole and spectacular waterfall carved in the bedrock of Foote Brook, a cold water stream which flows into the Lamoille River. The property contains 25 forested acres along Foote Brook. The brook contains high quality trout habitat and the property hosts deer yards, songbird habitat, and a forested buffer along Foote Brook. Access is a corridor from Plot Road.
In January 2011, when the land adjoining the waterfalls was on the market as a house lot, Selectman Doug Molde initiated the idea of conserving the parcel. With interest among many folks, the Vermont River Conservancy partnered with the landowner, the Town of Johnson and its Conservation Commission, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to purchase the property. Additional support was provided by the Fields Pond Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation Green Mountain Fund, the Lintilhac Foundation, Rock Art Brewery, Concept 2, G.W. Tatro Construction, Johnson State College Student Government, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Public Access grant, the Vermont State Employees Credit Union, and the VRC Canute Dalmasse Legacy Fund, along with over 120 individual donors. The initial interim management plan was signed by the town of Johnson on November 11, 2013. The primary purpose of the project is to ensure public access to the swimming hole and also provide access for anglers to Foote Brook. A complementary purpose is to manage the woodlands for wildlife habitat and riparian corridor protection. On a lovely afternoon in September 2014, about 40 people joined the Conservation Commission and Vermont River Conservancy to say thank you to all the supporters who made this project happen.
Again working with the Vermont River Conservancy and a Recreational Trails Program grant, the Johnson Conservation Commission and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps improved the trail from the Plot Road to the swimming area and waterfall. During the Spring of 2015 the Conservation Commission planned the trail layout, prepared the site, lined up materials and supplies, and coordinated local support. From June 22 to July 11, 2015 a crew of nine Vermont Youth Conservation Corps members industriously built two sets of steps, turn-piked wet areas and placed stepping stones along the re-directed trail to the site. The youngsters camped on land donated by a neighbor, used the Johnson State College SHAPE facility for weekly showers, and enjoyed a dinner provided by the former landowner, appreciated a supply of firewood provided by a Conservation Commission member, and raved about the treats provided by the Fledermaus Tea House. Members of the Commission served as “gofers” during the work period by picking up supplies and even cutting and hauling two loads of cedar (donated by another Commission member) required for the step building project.
The Commission partnered with youngsters at Laraway Youth and Family Services for the construction of a kiosk for the property. Signage has been etched on wood discs by a member of the Conservation Commission and posted throughout the area.
With folks talking about Journey’s End and promoting it on social media, many folks took their first trip or returned to Journey’s End, a favorite spot for Johnson State College students and Vermont Studio Center artists over the years. Since the summer of 2015, people have been enjoying this very special place throughout the year.

Project Contact: 
Lois M. Frey
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
Johnson
Regional Planning Commision: 
Lamoille County Planning Commission
Year Project Started: 
2013
Year Completed: 
2015
Project Lifespan: 
2013 to present
Keywords: 
Partnerships
Project Accomplishments: 

A 25-acre parcel of land has been preserved and made available to the public for a variety of recreational and educational activities.

Project Partners: 

Johnson Conservation Commission
Town of Johnson
Vermont River Conservancy
Recreational Trails Program
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps
Laraway Youth and Family Services

Critical to Success: 
The Vermont River Conservancy provided the leadership for fundraising (about $225,000) and the Johnson Conservation provided local coordination for all aspects of the project.