Opinion
January 7, 2015

Preserving the backcountry as backcountry

Dear Editor,

After reading the article in the Jan 1 edition about the State/U.S. forest service “considering a back country plan” I felt compelled to remind hunters, skiers, snowboarders, hikers, snowshoe folks, etc, that the National Forest has been, and is open for your exploring enjoyment. As a native Vermonter I’ve spent my entire youth skiing and hiking the Green Mountain National Forest, with map and compass, looking for those areas that were good to ski for a few years, and feeling the reward when you found a few hidden spots (without others around). Then, as the forest is not static, those spots disappear, change, and the search was on again for the next gem. What makes the Green Mountain National Forest so unique is that it’s not riddled with maintained trails, parking lots, or signs. We have a trail, it’s called “The Long Trail” and it runs the spine of the Green Mountains. Get on it, north or southbound, gain some elevation head, east or west and find yourself a natural “line” or “glade.” Use a TOPO map, and GPS, you’ll get your fix.

I’m not sure when the U.S. Forest Service (funded by tax payers, let us not forget) decided it was their right to develop 210 acres of “glades” which will be maintained  asski trails in the National Forest. As a backcountry enthusiast and tax payer I find this offensive, another classic example of unnecessary government jobs, wasted time, and misuse of funds.

If you’re on a trail, you’re not in the backcountry.

Regards, Jesse Gallagher, Pittsfield

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