Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Early Winter 2016 | 29 Trails Report part way through the snowmobile season. These two areas are marked as “Closed for part of season - weather dependent” on the list. There is the possibility that these timber harvests will take longer than expected and the trails could be closed for the entire winter. We won’t know until we know. The foresters are careful to note that all of these closings and shared sections are subject to change based on weather and timber markets, but as of mid-October this was the plan. Bottom line is that there are still trails that lead in and out of Canaan, so you can still get there. Will you have to share the trail with more riders? Yes! Is it longer to get in and out of Canaan? Yes! After all you bought your sled to ride right? VAST supports the decisions to close these roads and trails. It is the right thing to do! It is a simple fact that some of these roads cannot be shared with trucks and snowmobiles. There is just not room for both on some roads and trails so in the essence of safety they are closed. Everyone needs to step back, and take a deep breath and understand that riding on these lands is a privilege granted by the landowner and is by no means a right for anyone. These landowners own this land solely for timber management and that is what they are doing. The income derived from the timber harvests helps to pay the taxes and ultimately keeps the lands “open” and undeveloped for future use. The good news is that we will likely be able to use the road/trail again for snowmobiling when the timber companies are done using the road to truck timber. We need to respect their decisions and treat them as we would any other landowner. The timber companies and their employees truly do care about allowing access whenever possible. They work for hours while planning out a timber sale to lay out the haul routes that will be the easiest for the trucks, but also impact the trails the least. These foresters live and work in the local communities and value the relationships with the local snowmobile clubs. Since the meeting in October, a few clubs have been working with the foresters to find relocations around a couple of the closed roads/trails. The foresters have been very willing and accommodating to share their knowledge of the land to find old skid roads that could be used for this purpose. As a result a couple of closed trails are now open and/or shared. We’re headed in the right direction. Last but not least, I want to point out that recreation is not what pays the bills for these timber companies! Please keep this in mind. If you do ride in the Northeast Kingdom, or anywhere in Vermont or out of state for that matter, always be alert when there is any kind of timber harvesting operation taking place. In every instance the harvesting operation is working on a slim profit margin and the equipment operators are simply trying to be efficient and are focused on the task at hand. They may not be watching for snowmobiles approaching every second of the day. If you come into an area where there is obvious logging activity slow down, proceed with caution and be on the lookout for anything. If there is equipment on or near the trail stop a few hundred feet back from it and wait for the operator to make eye contact and give you a signal to proceed. This is especially important in a log landing or yard. Safety should be the number one priority for everyone. A snowmobile is no match for a piece of equipment! The above message could be true for all trails. Every year there are more users taking to the VAST trails whether it be walkers, snowshoers, skiers, fat bikers or just a deer or moose using the trail to escape the deep snow for a bit. In some areas it is nice to move along at a decent pace, but it is every snowmobiler’s responsibility to maintain control of their machine at all times. There could be anything in the trail at any time so please understand what your riding capabilities are and operate your machine accordingly. Excessive speed is one of the main culprits of trail closures. Don’t be the one rider that ruins it for everyone! Please keep the above thoughts in mind as you prepare for the upcoming season and while you are out enjoying the VAST trail system. Let’s hope that Mother Nature is better prepared this year and winter does not go into hibernation until late April. We are all deserving of some quality riding and a lengthy season. Wishing you all a happy holiday season and great times and memories made with friends and family out on the trail this winter. I hope to see some of you out there!