BONDVILLE - The Mountain School at Winhall's Middle School students have recently completed their fall "housekeeping" chores on the school's adopted, 1.6 mile stretch of the Long Trail, the oldest long distance hiking trail in the US. The school has maintained this stretch twice a year, in fall and spring, since 2008.

Because the school's section of the trail is designated as Wilderness, only hand tools can be used for trail work (blowdowns must be removed with handsaws, no chainsaws, in other words).

"The trail is more rugged than some of the non Wilderness areas, with fewer trail markers and a narrower footpath," said Marge Fish, board member at the Green Mountain Club. "The work [the] students have been doing with cleaning the drainage - waterbars and curtain drains - is critical to preventing serious erosion of the treadway."

Begun in 1910 and completed in 1930, the Long Trail is 272 miles long with 185 miles of side trails, 99 percent of which is maintained by volunteers. Most years there are about 800 volunteers working on the trail and the Mountain School students - assisted by teachers, staff members, parents and community volunteers.

The Mountain School at Winhall is an accredited Pre-K-8 independent community school in Bondville. For information on the school or its programs, call Daren Houck, Head of School, at 297-2662.