Thoughts on the Out-of-Doors: Historic Jeudevine Falls Is A Quiet Place Of Great Beauty

Linda and Oak at base of Jeudevine Falls. (Courtesy photo)

Spectacular water falls adjacent to Route 14 north of Hardwick are not well known outside the immediate area but well worth a visit. The site is historic in that it was the home of Free Soil Pioneer Alden Jeudevine who moved to Hardwick in 1839.

Bob Edebohls has created this special place as a labor of love over the past 23 years. He grew up there and left as a young man to work in Alaska, Colorado and other places in the west but returned in 1997 to take care of his ailing parents. The 56 acre property encompasses a 122-foot tall, 77-foot wide lower waterfall, and a 20-foot upper waterfall. They are beautiful even during the low water period we are experiencing and I can only imagine how they would look under normal flows.

To allow people to enjoy the falls and the quiet of the forest, Edebohls has painstakingly crafted a network of gravel covered trails so visitors can view the falls from various vantage points. Along the way he has placed benches that invite one to stop and rest or simply take in the natural splendor.

Adjacent to the lower falls is a handmade wood wedding gazebo and amphitheater. Linda and Oak relaxed in its cool shade while I followed Edebohls as he showed me the current trails, upper falls and a new trail he is now building which will have a suspension bridge taking it over the top of the falls.

The gazebo and the many benches throughout the property are ideal places for a picnic which Edebohls encourages.

The falls and the trails are all lighted making for a pleasant evening stroll, something I hope to do this fall.

The property is open to the public 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week until the end of October. It is located at 2259 Craftsbury Road, Hardwick, Vermont.

As you head north on Route 14, it is on the left. You will see the 1850s farmhouse, a weathered barn and the replica of Fisher Railroad Bridge.

Alden Jeudevine was an advocate of the anti-slavery movement, he became prominent in local politics after his move to Hardwick in 1839. He was appointed by President Tyler as Post Master of Hardwick and held that position for 23 years until ending his post under President Lincoln. He went on to become a member of three Constitutional Conventions and a State Senator. Today, the Jeudevine Library which was donated to Hardwick by Alden’s wife, Malvina, still serves the town.

The Jeudevine Falls Events Center includes the wedding venues near the falls and a large field above the falls. Only one small wedding was held this summer due to issues surrounding Covid and Edebohls’s health problems that prevent him from making long range commitments.

His hope for the future on the property is to turn it over to a nonprofit which will ensure the beautiful spot be available to the public far into the future.

Bits and Pieces

On September 26 and 27, hunters 17 years of age or younger may hunt ducks and geese in the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont waterfowl hunting zones. The age requirement is 15 and under in the Connecticut River zone.

The youth hunter must have a Vermont hunting license and must be accompanied by an unarmed adult, 18 years of age or older, who also has a Vermont hunting license. Youths 16 and 17 years of age must have state and federal duck stamps. All youth hunters must also register with the Harvest Information Program in each state that they hunt. This can be done on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website or by calling toll-free 1-877-306-7091. The adult may not hunt waterfowl or carry a firearm while accompanying the youth when the youth is hunting waterfowl.

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The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has set a minimum age requirement of 12 years for their online-only hunter education course, bowhunter education course and trapper education correspondence course to begin on October 1.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we began offering an online-only option for our hunter education and bowhunter education courses as well as a correspondence course for trapper education to reduce the health and safety risk to our instructors and students,” said Education Manager Alison Thomas. “Online-only and correspondence education allow individuals interested in hunting and trapping to obtain the necessary certifications to prepare for the upcoming fall hunting seasons.”

“These three courses are completely remote with no in-person contact. We want to ensure that our program creates a proper system for instructing safe and responsible new hunters and trappers. We continue to offer a very limited number of traditional, in-person courses and home study programs with no age requirement.”

“While our online-only courses meet all the standards and requirements established by the International Hunter Education Association,” said Thomas, “we encourage everyone who takes an online course to also take an in-person course if available, for the added benefits of hands-on and in-person learning.”

Requests for exemptions to the age requirement for online classes should be made directly to the Hunter Education Program by calling (802) 828-1193 or emailing HunterEducation@vermont.gov. Exemptions will be considered for those youth age 12 and under that are immuno-compromised or are otherwise unable to attend in-person classes.

Anyone interested in taking hunter education classes should visit the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Hunter Education Program webpage: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/hunt/hunter-education for more information or to enroll in a course. More information is also available by calling the Hunter Education Program at 802-828-1193 or sending an email to HunterEducation@vermont.gov.

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Vermont Fish & Wildlife is offering shooting range improvement grants to encourage upgrades of shooting ranges for enhanced safety and operation.

The Shooting Range Improvement Grant Program seeks grant applications from clubs and government agencies involved in the operation of shooting ranges, including archery ranges. Grant applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on November 1.

Eligible projects include shooting range re-development, noise abatement structures, safety berms, shooting pads and stations, and the construction or improvement of access roads and parking lots. Grant money may also be used for lead mitigation, such as recycling, reducing range floor surface drainage, or liming range property.

This year $80,000 in grant funds will be available. These funds are derived through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Restoration Program which is based on federal excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment.

Ranges that receive these grants must provide at least 20 hours of public use per month when in operation and be open at reasonable times for hunter education courses.

For further information or to download an application packet, visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Click on “Hunting and Trapping,” and then on “Shooting Ranges in Vermont.” Or, contact Nicole Meier at nicole.meier@vermont.gov or by calling (802) 802-318-1347.

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Women who are interested in trying hunting and learning more about the elusive whitetail deer can sign up for a Becoming an Outdoors Woman Deer Hunting with Firearms class which will take place October 3 at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

Registration opens September 19. Application forms and brochures will be published at www.nhbow.com when registration opens for this class.

Registration is limited to 12 participants and a fee of $80 is due upon registration.

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The Northeast Kingdom Skeet & Sporting Clays Club in Burke will hold the NEK Fall Sporting Clays Shoot Sept 26.

Go to nekclays.com for information or to register. The public is invited toe watch the fun.

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Mark Breen reports in the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium’s Skywatch Almanac that on September 17, 1999: “The remnants of Hurricane Floyd pounded the region with heavy rain and damaging winds. Flooding was minor due to drought conditions prior to the storm. Strong winds left considerable damage, resulting in one death.”

Parting Shots

AT hikers and anglers and hunters have something to be excited about, the permanent protection of Bald Mountain Pond in northern Maine. The AT skirts the pond and has long been a favorite of through hikers. Anglers enjoy the remote fishing and brook trout that reach nearly three pounds.

Maine Fish and Wildlife now owns the boat access so there will always be public access to the pond.

Timber companies have long owned the pond and surrounding forests and have historically allowed access but as their huge tracts are sold, the public is often denied access.

When the land and the pond became available the Trust For Public Land, Fish and Game and more than a dozen partners worked together to protect the pond and surrounding forest to ensure public access.

Thanks to those efforts the pond, a section of the AT and 2,620 acres of forest will remain open to the public forever.

I congratulate all those involved in protecting the property for future generations.

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The weekend was warm and pleasant but unfortunately the predicted Sunday evening rains never came. We are suffering from a drought and people with shallow wells are facing a huge problem if the water table does not rise before freeze up.

Our little pond is down two feet, lower than it has ever been. The trout are still surviving thanks to the springs that feed the pond. They rise to the feed I toss in, much more so now than they did a couple of weeks ago when it was so hot.

Sunday I went swimming with Oak, perhaps for the last time this year. I had confined space training with the state hazmat team at the Vermont Fire Academy in Pittsford Saturday and Sunday so when I got home Sunday afternoon I was ready to cool off and relax. Oak and I go to the pond to swim throughout the summer, sometimes three or four times a day if it is hot and I am working at home.

The week ahead will be busy with four board meetings, three medical appointments and a session teaching hazmat for area fire departments. In between I hope to work on the piles of wood I have skidded to my network of roads that will warm our home in the winter of 2021-2022.

Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore may be reached by email at gwmoore1946@myfairpoint.net or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

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