VAST trails open soon, riders urged to stay on them
VERMONT- Every year snowmobile trails in Vermont open on December 16 and close on April 15, as required by Vermont law. But, according to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, it is really up to the local clubs to officially open up their own trail system based on snowfall and trail readiness.
This year, because December 15 is the last day of muzzle-loader season, it will be especially critical to check with a local club to find out about their trail readiness and for local clubs to update the VAST online map.
Also this year Vermont law enforcement will be putting a greater emphasis on enforcing any unlawful off-trail riding. They will be patrolling for it and giving out tickets. So spread the word.
In Vermont 80% of lands used for snowmobiling are privately owned and those landowners get nothing from the state of Vermont for allowing recreational trails on their property. So when a landowner allows access to their land by hosting a trail, it is important to follow the rules.
If riders want better protections for landowners and access to open lands for off-trail riding, consider talking to a local legislator and voting for those who support outdoor recreation and snowmobiling in Vermont.
Off-trail riding (technically known as “operating on private land without permission”) equals a $300 fine in Vermont, not to mention hurts the landowners who allow the use of their land and the volunteers who put so much effort into making sure there are great trails to ride.
In addition, there will be an increase of night patrols to catch and encourage those riding illegally to register their snowmobiles, insure them, and purchase a TMA. So for those who ride at night, don’t register their machines, or buy a TMA it is going to be much more risky to do so this coming winter. When folks ride this way, they are not helping to support the trail system volunteers and clubs work so hard to build and maintain.
For more information including trail maps visit vtvast.org.