Blueberry Hill is now a nonprofit
GOSHEN — Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center (BHOC), long known as Blueberry Hill Ski Center, is now established as a 501©3 nonprofit company. BHOC ensures land preservation and recreational access within a unique and historic section of the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area in the Green Mountain National Forest.
In 1969, Tony Clark became involved with Blueberry Hill Inn and began to build a network of cross-country ski trails on inn property and U.S. Forest Service land. These trails became a vibrant focus of New England ski racing in the 1970s and 1980s, hosting races attended by local enthusiasts to collegiate skiers and Olympians.
Forty-five kilometers of trails, initially developed for winter use only, have evolved into a year-round trail network used by hikers, runners, mountain bikers, skiers, and snowshoers who visit from New England and beyond. For the last 50 years, Blueberry Hill Inn owners have been honored to share their property to provide information and access to the trails, and will continue to work with the USFS and BHOC as stewards.
The establishment of BHOC as a nonprofit focuses on building a strong outdoor community that ensures that the land and trail system can be cherished and maintained for many years to come.
The Blueberry Hill trail system includes a long climb and descent over the shoulder of Romance Mountain — adjacent to the Long Trail — and a spectacular view of the Green Mountains, Adirondack, and Taconic Mountains from the south side of Hogback Mountain (a site of many weddings, and even more blueberry picking).
The trail system includes a segment of the Catamount Trail, the cross-country ski trail that extends the length of Vermont; connects with the trails of the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area; and directly to the Long Trail via the Sucker Brook Trail. Though many cross-country ski centers and race venues have since transitioned to wider trails groomed for both skate and classic skiing, the joys of more narrow, ungroomed winding trails recall a fundamental way of being in the woods in winter.
This year, as we all work to find moments of peace from the strain of the pandemic, access to nature and recreation is critical.
This winter BHOC will offer cross-country ski, snowshoe, and microspike rentals; a sledding hill; socially-distanced and private indoor group space by reservation; and grab-and-go snacks and meals. BHOC has been the recipient of a small grant to help provide a safe experience during the pandemic, rigorously respecting state guidelines, while ensuring that visitors have a place to stay warm with family or friends as they venture outside.
Blueberry Hill Inn, like most of the hospitality industry, has seen an enormous decrease in business during COVID-19. For Inn owners Tony Clark and Shari Brown and their family, ensuring the future of the trails — both preservation and access to them — is paramount. Inn team members have used the time they would otherwise be spending making pancakes and cleaning rooms to invest in the Outdoor Center.
Though the future of hospitality in Vermont is uncertain, the establishment of BHOC as a separate nonprofit ensures that the forests, trails and bridges that surround the inn are here to stay. Trails and trail access will be available all year round, supported through day-use donations, grants, and volunteers.
Support BHOC by visiting and exploring the trails. Bring family and friends and spread the word. All donations will be used to support trail maintenance and development, access and facilities to make the BHOC trails and programs more accessible to all. They are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
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