MTA has been working very hard this season to create a Winter trails program that is open to everyone and meets all of the needs of our users. In order to do this, we work very closely with critical partners, such as the government of the Town of Barre and the Barre Town Thunder Chickens snowmobile club. Without both of these entities, use of the Millstone trails would not be possible in the Winter.
We are furthermore dependent on our trail users to uphold standards of safety and cooperation so that these relationships remain strong. In particular, there are several sections of the VAST snowmobile network within the Town Forest which are shared with MTA. It is critical that our users understand that these trails are actively traveled by snowmobiles at higher rates of speed than other users. It is only safe to ride/ski/snowshoe in single file on these sections, and to use them only for transit to MTA’s groomed trails. Please stay to the right on VAST sections and always listen for snowmobiles so that you can move off the trail when they drive through.
Safety is the number one priority of the Thunder Chickens, but MTA users need to do their part to keep themselves safe by respecting that VAST is an active snowmobile corridor and acting accordingly. It should be quite clear which trails are VAST by their width and the snowmobile tracks on them, but if you have any doubts, please consult our trail map which identifies VAST sections, and keep an eye out for signage on the trails.
Some words from David Rouleau, President of BT Thunder Chickens, BT Rec Commission member and Certified Snowmobile Safety Instructor:
“We’re hoping to educate folks when riding/skiing on trails that are also VAST snowmobile trails, please ride in single file fashion, listen for snowmobiles and yield to them at all times moving off the trail or as much to the right hand side as you can. Snowmobiles travel faster than other outdoor recreational users who most likely will hear them coming before operators will see them. This gives the opportunity to yield providing a safe shared use environment. Volunteer clubs, such as the Thunder Chickens, obtain a signed contract with landowners each year to allow snowmobile travel. Although inviting, VAST trails are not “open” for other recreational purposes without permission. Shared use areas, such as the Town Forest have been additionally marked to caution snowmobile operators that there are others enjoying that specific area of the trail network. Thanks in advance for doing your part to help keep outdoor recreation safe for all.”
For more information, please also see this post from VMBA.
Our downloadable grooming map has been updated to more clearly show the location of the VAST trail network.
MTA thanks you for your understanding and help in ensuring that we can continue to have a great Winter season of multi-use enjoyment of the Millstone Trails!
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