we are gathering so one of our first Glade implementation days for the Brandon gap backcountry ski project and we will have about 30 volunteers joining us today here we go I'm ready this really is kind of a bottom-up Community Supported project and we are super proud about 2008 we started receiving requests from the public asking if we could provide for backcountry skiing and riding opportunities on the National Forest last year we approve the first project which is at Brandon gap and we will be providing for ecologically low-impact backcountry ski lines it has been a community of collaboration that's helped to implement this project whether it's Dartmouth College Vermont youth Conservation Corps Rochester area sports trails Alliance the Catamount Trail Association but you'll go up here just a short ways you'll see the flag yeah kind of deer so we worked with teenagers they aged 16 to 24 and we worked for the whole summer in the field cutting trees flapping and using the chainsaws yeah we were seeing unauthorized cutting and we're hoping that being able to partner with the user group and to provide this opportunity that we'll see a reduction in that unauthorized cutting there's always been a bunch of illegal trail work done both on state land and on federal land and on private land so we're really trying hard to bring that out of the shadows and show folks that you can still cut legal trails but you need to put the foot work in on the front end to be transparent with whoever if it's the federal government if it's the state if it's a private landowner we worked with the Forest Service on this project here at Brandon gap there was a lot of review by the National Forest so it was all planned out through there what species we were cutting the size of the trees the density we're leaving we want to leave canopy up above us so we encourage the forest floor growth not to change from too much sunlight we're concerned that when people are cutting on their own that they're creating fern glades that don't allow the understory vegetation to revegetate the concern we have is that we'll have our native hay scented fern move into these areas they tend to block a lot of the new growth that we in a seedling regeneration that we could get so we're hoping and we'll be monitoring along with Dartmouth College the capacity for our native trees to out-compete these ferns on these sites we're trying to preserve the stands of soft woods and mountain ash mountain ash is an important feat for few animals as our forests age a lot of the habitat viability decreases we need good young vigorous trees help take the place of the the aging mature stance in this way then we can continue maintaining good wildlife habitat and also good timber when we work with users were much more successful at seeing that reduction in unauthorized use it's one of the first projects on federal land where we're looking to manage for this backcountry recreation type of opportunity particularly in the east where our forests need a little more clearing to be able to enjoy the activity without having whips going in your face you can go ahead and cut the little branches above your head just make sure and cut outside the collar I'm working on that six foot base we're gonna get this winter the branches will be in our face the glades we cut today will probably be in place for forever what a scary I would consider an expert rail will probably have 20 expert rails I'm planning on skiing here this winter and for many winters to come along with my children and grandchildren Brandin gap is a really unique place the terrain here is great it allows for nice long vertical feet on a run here we have a established up track and so it's a marked skin track that you climb up there's different aspects as well so it's not just one area that you're skiing there are pretty big trails like on the order of ski area trails 1,300 vertical a thousand vertical the terrain varies enough as well so it's not all the same you know you've got some nice big open stuff up higher and then you come down in here and you get some more rocks and some cliffs it's a mixed bag of goodies for sure forty folks you can pretty much clear give or take one thousand vertical foot run in one day we've cleared I think about seventeen of them today's conditions we're challenging this skiing was really fun but you know it's it's kind of hit and miss here in Vermont and that's kind of one of the the fun things about it you come out here and some days are great and some days are not so great and you know being prepared will click the right stuff in your backpack – you know sometimes spend the night outside here someone were to break a leg or something I have a hydration pack in here so I don't carry a water bottle I've got food bag as well with a bunch of small snacks I always bring too much food but that's a good thing a full pack is key you can to prepare for the worst if you have an equipment malfunction you could get cold the most important thing you have is a down coat extra gloves and extra hat and extra layer I've got matches in there too in case you need to start a fire I just do one big thing first-aid kit carabiner straps straps can be used for anything if somebody breaks they're a snowshoe you can use those on your snowshoe if you break a buckle on your ski boot you can cinch that around your ski boot you can splint if somebody had a leg or a knee that blew up you're going to put your ski pole on there and then you can strap around the ski pole to make a little splint – there's a million different things that you can use these for the work we've done in the woods the end product of the trail is pretty darn clean that ensures a safe and fun ski run today I'm out here backcountry skiing it makes it a lot easier when people have cut trails out here just because the woods on the East Coast are very dense so when people have cut some of the trees down there's actually room to turn to have permission to come into the woods and create actual ski trails for long long distances is an opportunity that hasn't occurred in Vermont for an awful long time there's a lot of different wildlife up here from birds to bears to moose to asking going on there's a lot of different habitats up here so to walk that fine line between not being too invasive in the woods and keeping it you know own natural is I think we did a good job with that and I feel that we've gotten quite a bit of respect from around the Northeast and around the US with the work we've done and at the end we get a great run to come back to in the wintertime and ski and to come up and ski them is really all you could hope for there's really no equal to good powder skiing and that's how you get it you

Outdoor Journal – Trail Cutting / Back Country Skiing

3 thoughts on “Outdoor Journal – Trail Cutting / Back Country Skiing

  • June 20, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Love this! Great segment!


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