Mile 3.0 — Stratton Mt Tr. — Division 3
In 1922, a few members of the Bennington Section leased and furnished an old camp along the Long Trail, just north of the old Grout Job Lumber Camp. GMC members could use the camp if they picked up the key in Bennington. It was dubbed Camp Webster due its proximity to the Daniel Webster Monument, erected by the Stratton Mountain Club in 1915, on the Arlington Wardsboro Road. The monument marks the location where the famed orator, Daniel Webster, addressed a crowd of 15,000 at a Whig Convention in 1840.
Four years later, the Worcester Section replaced the camp with a wood-frame shelter. The shelter had bunks for 6 and a stream 600 feet to west for water. In southern Vermont, the US Forest Service assumed responibility for blazing the Long Trail. To make things easy, It often ran the trail along old logging roads, which were were muddy, shadeless, bug-ridden paths. In 1930, End-to-Ender, Agnes Walker, described the trail to Camp Webster like this: “The trail down to Webster Camp we found both tedious and arduous, partly because of the flies and the heat, and also because the footing was so bad, for I think we were the first ones to go over it since it had been cut.” Problems with the original route lead to a multi-year trail relocation, that left Camp Webster detached from the Long Trail.
The deficiencies of the trail produced plans for trail relocation as early as 1926. The Long Trail News reported: “The Worcester Section have taken in charge that part of the Trail between Webster camp and Glastenbury Mountain, and have undertaken to re-locate some ten miles of it, so that it will pass over the summit of the mountain, a great improvement.“
By 1936 it was clear that Camp Webster’s days were numbered, A GMC Board reported that “The Worcester Section was authorized to relocate the Trail between Black Brook and Stratton Pond so as to shorten the distance and avoid Stratton Mountain, which would be accessible by a side trail. This would leave the Webster monument and shelter off the Trail a short distance.” These plans proceeded slowly due to World War II. By 1940, the plans included a new shelter to replace Camp Webster. “Eventually a camp will be built not far from Grout Pond, replacing the present badly abused Webster Camp.”
In 1945, the trail relocaition work was still in progress. Camp Webster had become so neglected that the Head of Trails for the Worcester Section, intiated a plan for emergency repairs.
I got J. W. Allen, a carpenter from W. Wardsboro to repair Webster. He put on new roofing where needed, new roof boards on the overhang front, new support posts in front. boards on the bunks, built a new table, and cleaned out a fireplace someone had built inside the camp. As you know it was our plan to abandon that camp as soon as we could build at Grout Pond and open the new trail, but we must keep Webster up until then. Cost us $40 to repair it but it is in good shape again now.
Another renovation occured In late April 1969. The Long Trail News reported: “Allan Mead and party went into the shelter near the West-Wardsboro/East-Arlington Road and did a masterful job of rejuvenating this shelter. They ascertained the condition of the shelter, listed what they needed, phoned some other Connecticut enthusiasts, who brought up the material, and in this one trip refurbished the shelter including a new roof.”
Camp Webster officially left the Long Trail in 1971 with the publication of the 20th edition of the Long Trail Guide Book.
Long Trail routing to Strallon Pond via the Arlington-West Wardsboro Road and Grout Job has been abandoned In favor of a new route which begins just east of the Black Brook bridge and follows a generally northerly direction on high ground for 3.9 miles to the Pond. Because of this change. 0.7 mile should be deducted from all guide book mileage figures in Division Ill. The alternate route to the Pond via Webster Shelter and Stratton Mt. is now known as the Stratton Mountain Trail and is blue-blazed.
Being located off the Long Trail, the shelter was abandoned in 1988.
Long Trail Guide Book – 4th Edition, 1922
Long Trail News, June 1930
Long Trail Guide Book – 17th Edition, 1963
Long Trail News, November 1945
Long Trail News, August 1969
Lont Trail News, December 1926
Lont Trails news, July 1936