CORRECTION, July 24:
Contrary to this report July 16, the state does not plan a second trailhead at the Stowe Pinnacle. Instead, it's planning a trailhead that will be a connection to the Brownsville Trail Network.
It soon may be more difficult to park at Moss Glen Falls, the Brownsville Road trailhead to Putnam State Forest, and the Stowe Pinnacle trail.
The trailheads have surged in popularity as people look for safe outdoor recreation during the pandemic, but lines of cars parked on rural roads can be a hazard.
At Moss Glen Falls, Walter Opuszynski of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks And Recreation has proposed a 500-foot-long no-parking zone covering the sharp turn where the trailhead meets Moss Glen Falls Road.
A 400-foot zone is proposed for Brownsville, where there is no dangerous curve. The Brownsville zone would be along the roadside opposite the existing trailhead.
Overall, the state wants to provide adequate parking at both trailheads, but needs to solve the immediate problem: parked cars that can dangerously constrict travel there.
The Stowe Select Board will hold a public hearing July 26 to hear residents’ opinions about those plans.
At the Stowe Pinnacle trail, the state plans another trailhead, about an eighth of a mile down the road, with a pull-off and parking area that could hold 10 cars. Opuszynski said that should be enough to offset the loss of along-the-road parking.
Moss Glen Falls is the bigger concern; its trailhead is on Moss Glen Falls Road, 3 miles off Route 100. Opuszynski monitored the area from last July until January and found that, 35 percent of the time, cars overflowed from the designated parking lot.
The road is narrow and has a sharp turn there, and when cars are parked on both sides of the road, it’s dangerous for drivers and can hinder emergency vehicles. He’d like the parking overflow reduced to 5 percent of the time or less.
He proposes restricting parking on the inside of the turn, with five signs outlining the rules that will be enforced by Stowe police.