FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 22, 2017
CONTACT: Amy Potter, Visitor Center Manager
(802) 244-7037; [email protected]
Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Vermont’s Hiking Season
Vermont – The holiday weekend is traditionally the start of the hiking season in Vermont. Hiking is one of the state’s top summer tourism draws and the Green Mountain Club (GMC) estimates 200,000 people visit The Long Trail each year. The official protectors and maintainers of the Long Trail, the 107-year-old Green Mountain Club is the premier Vermont hiking organization with numerous hiking guides and maps available to Vermonters and visitors alike.
From its rocky summits to its gentle valleys, Vermont is home to hundreds of miles of hiking opportunities. This is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy a favorite hike or explore some place new. Higher elevations may still have snow and muddy conditions, so please be prepared walk through puddles to avoid damaging the surrounding vegetation.
The GMC offers a few tips for early season hikers:
- Plan ahead and let someone know where you will be hiking.
- Bring a warm extra layer as mountain tops are chilly year-round and Vermont’s weather can quickly change.
- Stay hydrated and bring food for long hikes.
- Bring raingear; even an emergency poncho or garbage bag will help in a pinch.
- Carry out what you carry in and help protect Vermont’s special places.
“Our volunteers have been working diligently to clear the trails of winter debris, coinciding nicely with our spring weather melting away the late snow we received this winter,” said GMC Director of Trail Programs Dave Hardy.
“More daylight and a wide palette of spring greens help make hiking irresistible. Be prepared for blackflies, more sun thanks to less leaves on the trees, and the occasional thundershower,” advises Hardy. “Younger hikers may be able to pick up where they left off last fall, but I suggest starting slowly to condition yourself for longer hikes later.”
This season GMC will employ about forty seasonal employees serving as caretakers at high-use sites and fragile alpine summits, a professional trail crew, and a construction crew who will work to improve or rebuild shelters and other trail infrastructure.
To help plan and guide your next hike pick up a GMC waterproof map or the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont, all available at greenmountainclub.org and in the club’s visitor center in Waterbury Center.
VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS, PARKS & RECREATION
GREEN MOUNTAIN CLUB
GREEN MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST
For Immediate Release: April 18, 2017
Jessica Savage, Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, 802-249-1230
Kristin McLane, Green Mountain Club, 802-244-7037
Mud Season is Here
Hikers Are Asked to Avoid Muddy Hiking Trails
Vermont – Today, the Green Mountain Club (GMC), maintainer of Vermont’s Long Trail and Vermont’s hiking trails advocate, along with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR), manager of State Forests and Parks, and the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) announce the return of Mud Season to the Green Mountains.
Some trails, especially those at high elevations, are closed at this time of year. Please respect the signage you see. Snowmelt and rain will cause the trails to remain wet, muddy, and prone to erosion. Hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of our beloved hiking trails.
“It can take hours for a volunteer or trail crew to fix what takes just moments to damage by hiking on muddy trails,” says Jessica Savage, FPR’s Recreation Program Manager. “In a way, each footstep on a muddy trail makes extra work for people who are needed for other major projects on trails. We know the sunshine makes getting outside a priority, but saving your mountain hikes until the trails are dried out will ensure a better, longer hiking season for all.”
Dry trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent opportunities for spring outdoors activities. A weekly trail update with the latest conditions and a list of alternative hikes will be posted on the Vermont State Parks website at: http://vtstateparks.com/hiking.html#mudSeasonHiking.
“Please give the trails time to dry out for the summer hiking season,” says Dave Hardy, Director of Trail Programs for the Green Mountain Club. “Until the end of May, consider hiking on south facing slopes and lower elevations where the sun can dry out the trails sooner. And thank you for taking care of the trails!”
The Green Mountain Club, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and the Green Mountain National Forest thank hikers for their cooperation in helping to maintain one of Vermont’s finest recreational resources, our hiking trails.
For information on mud season hiking, call the Green Mountain Club’s Visitor Center at 802-244-7037 or email [email protected], or call the Vermont State Parks Call Center at 1-888-409-7579 Monday through Friday, 9am–4pm.
About the Green Mountain Club:
Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private, nonprofit organization with over 9,000 members. The GMC is dedicated to maintaining, managing, and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail System and advocating for hiking opportunities in Vermont. Every year more than 800 volunteers work so that future generations may enjoy the 475-mile Long Trail System. Contact the Green Mountain Club to learn more about the GMC or to become a member.
About the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation:
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forest resources, the operation and maintenance of the State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors. In addition, FPR is responsible for the acquisition, planning coordination and administration of all Agency of Natural Resources lands. Department employees are stationed throughout Vermont, including offices in Montpelier and at five regional locations. For more information, visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/
About the Green Mountain National Forest:
The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) encompasses more than 400,000 acres in southwestern and central Vermont, forming the largest contiguous public land area in the State. Located within a day’s drive of more than 70 million people, the GMNF is a destination for visitors seeking a variety of recreation opportunities. The Forest includes three nationally designated trails: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), Long National Recreation Trail (LT), and the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail. The Forest also includes approximately 900 miles of multiple-use trails for hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and bicycling. For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/gmfl
Bryant Camp to Reopen in Bolton Valley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2017
CONTACT: Mike DeBonis, GMC Executive Director, (802) 373-5676
WATERBURY CENTER, VT, January 11 – The Green Mountain Club will officially open historic Bryant Camp in Bolton Valley on Friday, January 13.
Bryant Camp, built by Bolton Valley skiing advocate Edward S. Bryant around 1930, and restored by the Green Mountain Club in 2016, will once again offer hikers and skiers rustic backwoods lodging within Bolton Valley Resort’s network of Nordic ski and snowshoe trails. Rates for exclusive use of the cabin are $95 per night Friday through Sunday and $75 per night Monday through Thursday. In addition, guests are asked to purchase a Bolton Nordic Ski Pass for the duration of their stay.
Bryant Camp was originally built for skiers to spend the night after exploring the area’s alpine trails. The cabin was much loved by generations of backcountry skiers and hikers, but fell into disrepair and needed major renovations. It wasn’t until Friends of Bolton Nordic & Backcountry and Vermont Land Trust conserved 1,161 acres in the valley, where the cabin sits, that the vision of restoring the cabin became a reality.
Today the camp and surrounding land are owned by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) and managed as part of Mount Mansfield State Forest. The Green Mountain Club, through a cooperative agreement with FPR, will maintain and manage the cabin.
“Restoring historic Bryant Camp is an important part of the backcountry recreation infrastructure in Bolton Valley,” said Green Mountain Club President John Page. “Winter and summer adventurers now have access to a rental cabin to support their backcountry activities.”
Starting at Bolton’s Nordic and Sports Center, renters can hike or ski in to the camp on the Bryant Trail (part of the Catamount Trail). Accommodations include an unfurnished sleeping loft for up to eight guests, wood stove and firewood, and composting privy.
This summer, the Green Mountain Club will restore Bolton Lodge, another historic cabin in Bolton Valley. Bolton Lodge will serve as an overnight rental cabin for skiers on Bolton’s trails and hikers on the Long Trail.
To learn more about the cabin and to make reservations visit the Green Mountain Club website, www.greenmountainclub.org.
Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private, nonprofit organization with over 9,000 members. The GMC is dedicated to maintaining, managing, and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail System, Vermont Appalachian Trail and Northeast Kingdom Trails, and advocating for hiking opportunities in Vermont. Every year more than 800 volunteers work so that future generations may enjoy the 500-mile Long Trail System. Contact the Green Mountain Club to learn more about the GMC or to become a member.
Trails Blaze the Way for Vermont’s Economic Future
VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS, PARKS & RECREATION
VERMONT TRAILS & GREENWAYS COUNCIL
For Immediate Release: November 29, 2016
Danny Hale, Chairperson, Vermont Trails & Greenways Council, 802-353-6608
Jessica Savage, Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, 802-249-1230
WATERBURY, VT— Exploring Vermont’s outdoors by trail has always been part of the Green Mountain state’s culture, but now there is strong evidence to support how those activities bolster the state’s economy, too. The popularity of growing member-based trail networks for mountain biking, backcountry skiing, all-terrain riding and more are blazing new pathways for economic growth in the State.
Today, representatives from Federal, State, and local trail organizations came together to recognize the growing “outdoor recreation economy” and to showcase efforts to start measuring its economic contributions in dollars.
A new economic impact report released today by the Vermont Trails & Greenways Council found that four trail networks alone generate $29.6 million in economic activity annually in the State of Vermont. The totals come from looking at direct consumer spending associated with using trails (trail tickets, rentals, etc.), and the activities recreationists love doing before and after hitting the trails, such as visiting a nearby brewery or grabbing a bite to eat.
The report is being issued just several weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that requires the outdoor recreation industry to be quantified in the federal government’s annual calculation of national economic productivity. The bill authored by Vermont Representative Peter Welch signals a national willingness to recognize the economic benefits of land-based recreation.
Today, Representative Welch’s office received notice that the outdoor recreation bill was also passed by the U.S. Senate last night, and is now on its way to President Obama’s desk for signature.
The Vermont Trails & Greenways Council received funding to perform the economic impact report through a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant. The four organizations evaluated in the study are the Catamount Trail Association, the Green Mountain Club (GMC), the Kingdom Trails Association, and the Vermont ATV Sportsman’s Association (VASA). The study is the first of its kind to look at the direct economic impact from a sample of Vermont’s premier regional trail networks, uniquely combining multiple forms of motorized and non-motorized recreation all managed by non-profit statewide and regional organizations.
Although the report represents a limited sample of Vermont’s recreation economy, it provides real data showing 325 jobs are directly supported by the trail networks, and $5.6 million is spent on food and drink annually in local communities along the trail systems.
Trail stewardship organizations across Vermont have long held the vision that jobs and economic spending supported by outdoor recreation opportunities in Vermont could be considered a major contributor to the State’s economy. “The study has been long overdue,” said Danny Hale, Executive Director of VASA and Chairman of the Trails & Greenways Council.
“We finally have accurate numbers to demonstrate what we as the represented user groups of the Vermont Trail System bring to the state; as individual groups and as a combined recreational entity,” Hale stated. “Having solid numbers that outline the benefits of these trails allow our organizations as well as the state and legislature to rightfully prioritize recreation in Vermont as a major source of tourism income and local spending. It’s high time that we all recognize this opportunity.”
The Trails & Greenways Council is a non-profit organization established by the Vermont Legislature in 1995 whose mission is to ensure that people will always have access to adequate land and water-based trails and greenways in Vermont. The Council’s driving force is the diverse membership of organizations managing recreational trails systems and infrastructure, and the cohesiveness that results from bringing these groups together under a unified voice. The Trails and Greenways Council assists the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation in shaping recreation policy and fosters partnerships with private organizations, municipalities, and trail-based communities.
To view the economic impact study for the Vermont Trails & Greenways council, go to: http://fpr.vermont.gov/sites/fpr/files/Recreation/Learn_More/Library/Final%20Report-%20Impact%20Analysis%20-%20VT%20Trails%20and%20Greenways.pdf
For more information about the Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions (REC) Act as passed in the U.S. House, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4665.
Hiker Safety Press Release
STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
September 27, 2016 / Waterbury VT – As summer departs and the weather cools this Fall, the Vermont State Police and Department of Public Safety would like to remind those heading out onto Vermont’s hiking trails of the ever changing conditions a hiker may encounter this time of year, especially at higher elevations. As you follow trails into the mountains, perhaps for a better view of Vermont’s spectacular foliage, you can find yourself hiking in cold conditions despite warmer weather at the trailhead. Fall rain at lower elevations can turn into an all-too-familiar wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain in the hills. Conditions on the trails above can be much colder and windy than below, allowing for potential hypothermia in individuals who are unprepared.
If hiking at higher elevations, it’s important that hikers now prepare for potential winter-like conditions. Waterproof boots (not sneakers) with traction devices, extra layers of warm clothes, a headlamp, map and compass may become necessary for a safe and successful hike. Consider turning around if you are not properly equipped or if travel and route finding becomes difficult.
Neil Van Dyke, Search and Rescue Coordinator for the Vermont Dept. of Public Safety reports that there were several search and rescue incidents last fall involving hikers who were not properly prepared for the conditions they found at higher elevations. Hikers should get an early start and allow plenty of time, as the days are getting shorter. Last weekend two hikers called for assistance near Underhill State Park when they were caught by darkness and could not continue as they had not brought headlamps.
Officials from the Vermont State Police and Department of Public Safety encourage you to stay safe while enjoying the fall hiking season. Be careful as you climb higher into the mountains with less available daylight hours and where winter-like conditions could exist.
For more information on this topic, please contact the agency representatives listed below:
Vermont Department of Public Safety: Neil VanDyke – 802-241-5656
Vermont State Police: Scott Waterman – 802-241-5277