STOWE, Vt., June 14 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined the celebration this afternoon for the reopening of Barnes Camp as a multi-purpose visitors center for the Smugglers’ Notch region.
Built along the mountain pass in 1927, the camp is perched at the southern gateway to the Smugglers’ Notch Scenic Highway. “We are here to celebrate saving a small, but important piece of Vermont history,” Sanders said.
Sanders secured $781,000 in federal funds to help complete this $1.2 million project, which also includes a trail head for the Long Trail and educational exhibits for Smugglers’ Notch. Restoration of the historic camp began in the fall of 2013.
“The Barnes Camp has had a storied past – as a logging camp, a home for Civilian Conservation Corps work crews and as a lodge for backcountry skiers and hikers,” Sanders said. “Clearly, this building is an important link to the unique history of this area – and I am very pleased to be with you today as we celebrate the newest chapter of the Barnes Camp: as a multi-purpose visitor’s center for the Smugglers’ Notch Region.”
The renovated building will feature exhibits and educational programs about the history and environment of one of Vermont’s most spectacular natural areas, including a boardwalk with informational signs and kiosks. Barnes Camp will help relieve congestion in the Notch, by drawing visitors to a destination with parking, exhibits and restrooms. The facility also will serve as a new trailhead for the rerouted Long Trail – Vermont’s most iconic and treasured hiking trail – which has shared the road with cars from here to the Notch.
“Federal resources play a crucial role in building local infrastructure projects that connect residents and visitors alike to our country’s scenic, cultural and recreational treasures,” Sanders said. “These projects also strengthen local economies and create local jobs.”
Sanders credited the Friends of Smuggler’s Notch; the Green Mountain Club; the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation; VTrans and the Preservation Trust of Vermont in helping plan the rehabilitation of the Barnes Camp visitor center.