GMNF and VAST open snowmobile trails

RUTLAND-MIDDLEBURY - The Green Mountain National Forest will open snowmobile trails Dec. 16, weather permitting, in conjunction with trails operated and maintained by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers.

Winter trails on the forest are open for snowmobile use until April 16, and are managed under a cooperative agreement with VAST.

"Weather events of this past summer have necessitated the closure of damaged trails," said Rochester District Ranger Rob Hoelscher, "What we want to stress most is the importance of safety when operating snowmobiles on the forest."

Several Forest snowmobile trails are closed for the season for damage caused by flooding this summer. They include: Leicester Hollow Trail and Minnie Baker Trail in Leicester; Boyden Brook Trail from Route 125 to the intersection with the Hancock Tunnel trail and Texas Gap Trail from route 125 to the end of Forest Road 39 at Texas Meadows in Hancock; and the Cross Over Trail in Glastenbury.

Snowmobilers must stay on designated trails and are required by Vermont statute to wear a helmet, register their snowmobile, display their trails maintenance assessment and have proof of liability insurance.

Forest law enforcement officers stress the importance of operating at a reasonable and prudent speed for the conditions. Being in control of your snowmobile at all times is the key to riding responsibly. Some areas of mixed use on the Forest also have posted speeds. The Green Mountain National Forest and VAST emphasize extreme caution on ponds and waterways as marginal ice depths are expected at this time of year.

"We are counting on Forest Partners, neighboring towns and Forest users to help us make this a great season," said Alex Sienkiewicz.

Some trails are open to other uses such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, and dog-sledding. It is important for snowmobile users to respect these other users as well as the private landowners who have generously allowed these uses on their property.

For more information on road and trail conditions, please call any Forest Service office or visit the VAST website at: www.vtvast.org/index.htm.

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