Do you enjoy riding in the Green Mountain National Forest, or wish there was more of it? Do you believe recreation should be a significant part of how we use public land? Now is the time to let your voice be heard!
The U.S. Forest Service recently completed a proposed action plan for the Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project (IRP) and is now inviting written comments on the proposal. The project area covers over 70,000 acres, nearly one-fifth of the Green Mountain National Forest, and includes a variety of proposed management activities, including recreational trails. The proposed plan is based on the 2006 Green Mountain National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, and a detailed description of the proposal can be found on the Telephone Gap Project Website. Hard copy versions of the proposed action and maps are also available for review at the Rochester Ranger Station located in Rochester, VT. There is also a very cool online “Story Map” that provides a visual presentation to complement the written narrative.
VMBA and other stewardship organizations like Vermont Huts and the Green Mountain Club have worked closely with the Forest Service to envision close to 35 new miles of trail managed for mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing. Through a combination of new construction, relocation, and redesignation, these new trail miles will create essential connectivity for both the Velomont and Catamount Trails. We strongly encourage you to review and become familiar with the proposed action plan through the links above and weigh in with your comments – ideally including support for the included plans for recreational trails and facilities. Comments can be submitted online until March 13, 2023. If you’re short on time, we’ve provided a few sentences below which also include support for Vermont Hut’s proposed South Pond hut and that you can use or modify as you see fit:
To whom it may concern:
I’m writing in support of the U.S. Forest Services’ proposal to provide sustainable recreation opportunities within the Telephone Gap IRP area. In particular, I support the 34.9 miles of trail construction, relocation, and designation managed for mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing, projects that will provide critical trail connectivity for various user groups, including those on the Velomont Trail and Catamount Trail. I also support the addition of 3.1 miles of existing Long Trail to the National Forest Trail System on the pending South Pond acquisition.
Additionally, I support the Vermont Huts Association’s application for a special use permit to construct, operate, and maintain a four-season hut within the footprint of the former lodge that was destroyed by a fire near South Pond. A hut in this location takes advantage of existing infrastructure and is ideally situated to host users of the trails mentioned above, creating a new point of access to the outdoors for trail users of all ages and abilities.
Again, here is the link to enter your comments. As noted above, all comments must be received no later than March 13, 2023.
If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Nick – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us foster public access recreation on public lands!