The Waitsfield Conservation Commission is seeking input from Valley residents and visitors on their experiences and hopes for recreational trails on the 750-acre Scrag Mountain Town Forest (SMTF). There are two near-term opportunities to weigh in:
- Attend a virtual public forum on Monday, February 1, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom - https://tnc.zoom.us/j/94557295475;
- Complete a brief online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W7V3PHT by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 12.
The conservation commission has hired the Vermont-based trail firm Sinuosity, LLC to assist in assessing environmentally sensitive opportunities for an expanded trail network at SMTF. Sinuosity provided similar assistance in 2013-2014 and produced an initial report and recommendations based on circumstances at the time (see http://waitsfieldvt.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Waitsfield_Scrag_Forest_Final_Trail_Report_Sinuosity_2014.pdf).
With the town’s acquisition of the 110-acre Scrag Gateway Parcel in 2017, there are now significant additional possibilities – both for new, more readily accessible trails at lower elevations on the Gateway Parcel and for enhanced trails on other parts of the Town Forest lands.
“Trails are such an important part of what makes the Mad River Valley a great place to live and visit, and they’re a key engine for our four-season economic vitality,” notes Phil Huffman, chair of the Waitsfield Conservation Commission. “The possibility to substantially improve trail-based opportunities at Scrag was one of the core reasons behind our community’s strong support for town acquisition of the Gateway Parcel, and now is the moment for folks to weigh in on what sorts of trail experiences they’d like to see going forward. We encourage everyone – both Valley residents and others – to share their thoughts on trails at Scrag at the public forum on February 1 and through the online survey until February 12.”
Mariah Keagy of Sinuosity adds “The importance of public trails has become clearer than ever during the COVID pandemic, with significant increases in usage statewide over the past year from people looking for safe ways to stay in shape, maintain their mental health and enjoy the fun and solace of the outdoors. We’re excited to be working again with the town of Waitsfield and the Mad River Valley community to explore potential opportunities for an enhanced sustainable trail network at Scrag to help meet that growing demand.”