Wednesday, May 9, 2018

CATS Acquires Historic Farm, Important RR Crossing

The main house at Viall’s CrossingChamplain Area Trails (CATS) has recently acquired Viall’s Crossing, a historic 132.5-acre farm in Westport that had been placed on the market last August.

In an announcement sent to the press, CATS Executive Director Chris Maron said: “Viall’s Crossing is the only place where a hiking/skiing trail going directly north from the Westport train station to Essex could legally cross the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks. CATS has envisioned doing this for years.”

“The property is also a key link in protecting wildlife in the Split Rock Wildway, which connects New York’s Split Rock Wild Forest to the Adirondack Mountains,” Maron said.

Maron added, “It had important historical value as well: the original owner’s son, Asa Viall, was a friend of abolitionist John Brown. Asa provided the wagon and took Brown’s body after his 1859 execution to its final resting place in North Elba, near Lake Placid.”

The farm’s seller was Harold White, a 75-year old single man with no direct heirs, who said the property had been in his family since 1814. His ancestors built a log cabin that was replaced with the existing house in 1835, the year before his great-grandfather Asa Viall was born.

The Viall’s Crossing project has already received grants from the Cloudsplitter Foundation and NYS Environmental Protection Fund’s Conservation Partnership Program administered by the Land Trust Alliance. The remaining cost of conserving Viall’s Crossing and securing a permanent hiking/cross-country skiing trail on the property is $87,000, which CATS is raising through donations and grants; the CATS website has additional details.

Photo: The main house at Viall’s Crossing, which dates back to 1835, provided.

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