State and Federal Partners Collaborate to Expand Fat Bike Access in Vermont
The Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) recently met with the Vermont Dept. of Forests Parks and Recreation (FPR), the US Forest Service and, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) to address the management of fat biking throughout Vermont.
As fat bikes are gaining in popularity, riders have been seeking places to enjoy the Vermont winter. This has led them to the groomed trails of the VAST network. 85% of the VAST trail network is located on private lands, with permission granted exclusively for snowmobiles. Fat bikes are not allowed on these trails and there have already been some reports of user conflict.
In the effort to promote the safety of all winter recreationists, VMBA has teamed up with VAST, FPR, and the Forest Service to identify appropriate locations on public lands where fat bikers and snowmobilers could enjoy shared use. A statewide assessment has been initiated that will identify opportunities where fat bikers can further enjoy their state and federal lands. With established parking lots, public access, and a 35 mph speed limit for snowmobiles, public lands provide an ideal location for shared use trails. The goal is to have these areas identified, marked, and a trail ethic developed for the ’15¬/’16 winter season.
VMBA is excited to explore fat biking opportunities in Vermont with VAST, FPR, and Forest Service for the ‘15/’16 riding season. Over the next few months, all stakeholders will be sharing information, identifying appropriate trails, and developing strategies for maintenance and grooming.
For the remainder of this winter, FPR has provided opportunities for fat biking on campground roads in Allis, Fort Dummer, Gifford Woods, Molly Stark, Discovery and Quechee State Parks.