Trails closed around Vermont, in part due to coronavirus
“Now’s not the time to explore far-flung corners of Vermont, but rather to focus on backyard adventures, spend time in places that you can walk or bike to.”
— Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore
This story originally appeared on the Vermont Sports website.
On Friday, April 3, the State released a statement and formally reinforced the closure of a number of trail networks across the state.
In Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference today, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Julie Moore said this:
“It’s never been more important for Vermonters to get outside, but also to stay close to home. Anyone planning to spend time outdoors this weekend should do the following. First, stay close to home. We’re fortunate to live in a place that has outstanding outdoor recreation in nature, and much of it within walking distance.
“Now’s not the time to explore far-flung corners of Vermont, but rather to focus on backyard adventures, spend time in places that you can walk or bike to. And if you must drive to get outside, work to limit your trips to less than 10 miles.
“Be sure to continue to observe social distancing outdoors. If you arrive at a crowded trailhead or a place with an unmanageable parking situation, see that as a sign. Please turn around and choose an alternative, that’s not as crowded.
“And also it’s important to leash your dogs, there are members of our households as well, and need to keep their social distance.”
The statement fell short of demanding that people recreate within a 10-mile radius of their homes, as had been called for yesterday by Heather Furman, State Director of The Nature Conservancy, the second-largest landowner in Vermont.
Here’s the statement issued today:
“The Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, members of the Vermont Trails Alliance, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have evaluated the current status of our recreational trail systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Scott’s Executive Order. Together we have agreed that:
1) The primary directive from the Governor is to protect the public health and safety of Vermonters. We are in the middle of a health emergency, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19 we must stay at home as much as possible.
2) It is spring mud season, trail conditions in many locations are poor, and trail use on wet, muddy, and vulnerable trails has always been discouraged during this time of year. In addition, trail work and maintenance are not essential or critical activities pursuant to the Governor’s Order and are therefore prohibited with the exception of a response for emergency repairs required to secure public safety.
3) If certain trails cannot appropriately be prepared for safe public use and properly maintained for environmental quality, they should not be used for recreation. Doing otherwise creates risks to trail users and natural resources and our shared long-term goals for getting back on our great trails. Please see below for a list of trails that should not be accessed during this emergency.
4) Trail use can create unnecessary risk of injury at a time when our sole focus should be on supporting Vermont’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis with all available medical resources and not diverting them to emergency response actions. Please be smart and cautious when you’re recreating outside to avoid any incidents that could require medical attention.
5) Many of our trail networks are located on privately owned lands. We respect and depend on the generosity of these landowners and do not want to encourage trail use on their lands during this emergency. Please choose recreation areas close to home on state land or stay in your own neighborhood or backyard when you go outside.
6) State Park roads, State Forest roads and other durable, wider trails on state lands may be appropriate for exercise during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Check out FPR’s mud season alerts for more information about recreation opportunities during mud season.
7) Please get outside, exercise, and follow the Department’s guidance (informed by the CDC and VDH) on how to do this safely and responsibly. For both public safety and trail stewardship, please avoid recreating on trails where you cannot maintain safe social distance. If a trail is already crowded when you arrive at the trailhead, please choose an alternative location.
8) Together we will continue to evaluate when it is appropriate to begin our trail maintenance work and the opening of our trail networks in conjunction with the Governor’s Orders and guidance based on the health and safety needs of Vermonters. Until then please do not use the trail networks identified below.
The following trail networks are either closed or will not open until further notice. This list will be updated to reflect additional trail status changes so please check back periodically for the most current information. In addition, you can visit each organizational web site (hyperlinks below) for additional information on their trail status:
Vermont – Trail Closures April 2, 2020
1. Green Mountain Club (greenmountainclub.org) – Long Trail system
2. Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (vtvast.org) – VAST trail system
3. Vermont ATV Sportsman Association (vtvasa.org) – VASA trail system
4. Kingdom Trails Association (kingdomtrails.org) – Kingdom Trails network
5. Catamount Trail Association (catamounttrail.org) – Catamount Trail system
6. Vermont Huts Association (vermonthuts.org) – Vermont Huts
7. Vermont Mountain Bike Association (vmba.org) – the following VMBA trail networks. (specific VMBA trail networks will be added soon)
This story originally appeared on the Vermont Sports website.
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