Green Mountain National Forest
|Fog in Green Mountain National Forest (Joe Sohm/Photodisc/Getty)|
Surrounded by the dampening hush of snow-covered trees, you stand in snowshoes atop two feet of freshly-fallen powdery snow. The late afternoon shafts of orange winter sunlight cast elongated shadows across the soft white forest floor. Above, you hear the first sound of the evening hunt: the barred owl preparing for his nocturnal search for an unsuspecting chipmunk or baby snowshoe rabbit. Although winter is Vermont's longest season, the Green Mountain National Forest provides opportunities for nature lovers and recreational enthusiasts all year round. I LoVermont!
The Green Mountain National Forest, established in 1932, is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Ecosystem management is the newest goal in U.S. Forest Service land stewardship. Its guiding philosophy is multiple use: recreation, logging, watershed protection, and habitat improvement for optimal species diversity. Recreational opportunities include bird-watching, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, cycling and mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, fall foliage and auto tours, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, even dog sledding. There are five developed campgrounds in the GMNF with tent sites, tables, and fireplaces. Several locations offer dispersed or primitive camping. In those places as well as in the National Forest's six wilderness areas, low-impact camping is requested. The forest's three district offices can provide the information and maps you'll need to get started on your Green Mountain adventures.
The Forest extends north from the Massachusetts border for 100 miles, to the towns of Lincoln and Bristol. The forest boundary contains more than 353,000 acres and straddles the ridgeline of the Green Mountains, Vermont's section of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The forest is divided into two sections, a northern and a southern, and has three Ranger Districts. The Long Trail, maintained by the Green Mountain Club, crosses the forest and extends the entire length of the state, from its Massachusetts border to Canada. In the southern half, the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail (a 2,000-mile footpath that links Georgia and Maine) run together. Near Rutland, where the forest's northern half begins, the Appalachian Trail breaks away and heads east to New Hampshire. There are shelters for hikers along these trails that are spaced a day's hike apart.
Six wilderness areas offer unique features amid wild and semi-wild settings. Bushwhacking and compass use will provide solitude and some of Vermont's most exquisite scenery. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails in the GMNF and one National Recreation Area: White Rocks.
Many trails and facilities in the Green Mountain National Forest result from hard work and cooperation among the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; the Green Mountain Club, (GMC); the Vermont Association of Snow And Travelers (VAST); The Catamount Trails Association (CTA); ski area and ski touring center operators; and the Forest Service. They work together to develop and maintain quality trails and facilities and to protect the environment.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication