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  1. #1
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    VAST Trails and MTB in Vermont?

    Out for a winter ride the other day, I happened upon a snowmobile (VAST) trailhead that was just grass and crusty snow. I headed up to check it out, then realized that I may be infringing on some unwritten rule that bikers should not be on snowmobile trails. Does anyone have experience with places in ride (trail-wise) in the Champlain Valley? Are snowmobile trails officially off limits? I appreciate that landowners are willing to let people use their land, and would not want to cause any cyclist stress if I am somewhere taboo. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Most VAST trails seem to be bike-friendly in summer. If they're remote stretches, they tend to get overgrown, but a lot of trail networks (Millstone comes to mind) use them a lot. As for winter use, I'm not so sure. A local spot where I XC ski (Cotton Brook in Moscow, near Stowe) is a VAST trail that has a sign saying "No wheeled vehicles". I'm not sure if they only mean no cars/trucks, or if they're intentionally excluding bikes. I kind of think bikes would be ok, provided the snow is packed enough to not make big ruts (no fun to ride that stuff anyway). But, you probably ought to contact someone at VAST or ask a local snowmobiler if they mind.
    On the other hand, I've seen lots of snowmobilers on trails where they are specifically not allowed...

  3. #3
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    Officially, VAST has only gotten permission from landowners for snowmobiles, but it is the pretty rare landowner that would object to a bicycle but not a snowmobile. The exception is hunting season, when they don't want to have to worry about shooting you or having you scare off their deer. Usually, if you act like it is a snowmobile trail (pull over when you hear a snowmachine, smile, wave, don't blast around blind turns) you will get a friendly reaction. I have also found they tend to be late sleepers, you may not see anyone if you go early. Once in a while you hear about an altercation between a snowmobiler & an xc skier, but I haven't run into that - probably a jerk (on either side) and/or alcohol involved in most of those incidents.

  4. #4
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    I ride on VAST trails in Springfield, but they are all on federal land (Army Corps Of Engineers around the North Springfield reservoir). So those trails are open to everyone, even horses, during winter. I guess it depends on who owns the land, and what they allow.

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