The Green Mountain Trails in Pittsfield are becoming part of the Rochester Area Trail Alliance.
The RASTA board voted last week to add the GMT network, which features 25 miles of trails, to its chapter.
“We thought it was a pretty good, natural fit,” said RASTA President Angus McCusker, who made the announcement June 26. “Our missions are pretty similar in terms of providing trails to use free of charge.”
Green Mountain Trails Manager Matt Baatz and McCusker, who are good friends, have long worked together to expand trail systems.
“You can only build so much trail in a certain area. The best thing to do is simply connect them in a similar model that VAST has,” said McCusker.
McCusker said it made sense to combine the trail systems, while Baatz was looking for more structure for the Green Mountain Trails, the leaders of the two trail systems and others have been talking about creating the Velomont Trail—which is connecting 12 Vermont Mountain Bike chapters for a trail that extends the state. The hope is that the Velmont Trail will connect trails systems from Massachusetts to Canada once complete.
This year, the United States Forest Service approved construction for the first part of the Velomont vision. About 15 miles of new trail will connect the Rochester and Pittsfield communities. RASTA is currently fundraising for an estimated $480,000 needed for construction.
The 15 miles of approved single track trail will also connect to the Vermont Huts Association’s new Chittenden Brook Hut, which was completed last fall.
Though the trail systems are combining, McCusker said GMT will keep its own identity and Baatz will continue to manage the Green Mountain Trails.
“We’ll be combining some of our resources but the GMT network will remain as is, keeping its local character and vibe,” McCusker posted on RASTA’s Facebook page.