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The Green Mountain National Forest opened the VAST snowmobile trails last weekend, and the Mad River Ridge Runners opened the local trails this weekend.
Locally, volunteer trail crews worked all fall to rebuild a bridge at the Turner Farm and reroute a section of trail behind the Duxbury Store. They also installed several new trail signs at intersections and spent numerous weekends brush cutting and cleaning up the 80 plus miles of trails.
This year's snowmobile safety course was taught by Skip Wallace and Tony Amenta, in early December. All 15 attendees passed the course, according to Amenta.
Regionally, this summer's rain and flooding means that some trails in Hancock and Rochester remain closed this winter.
"Weather events of this past summer have necessitated the closure of damaged trails," said Rochester District Ranger Rob Hoelscher. "What we want to stress most is the importance of safety when operating snowmobiles in the forest."
Some trails are open to other uses such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, and dog-sledding. It is important for snowmobile users to respect these other users as well as the private landowners who have generously allowed these uses on their property.
Winter trails in the forest are open for snowmobile use until April 16 and are managed under a cooperative agreement with VAST.