As the summer comes to a close, RASTA opens new trails and looks toward the future.
Thanks to a $41,500 Recreational Trails Program grant awarded to the Rochester-Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation in June, the 3-mile Rochester Valley Trail network is now complete.
This summer, volunteers coordinated by RASTA along with trailbuilding company Lepesquer &
Daughters, LLC finished the three-mile Old Gent’s summit loop and the new Peavine Valley Trail. The Old Gent’s loop climbs via a looped system to a vista on Sugar Knob, from behind the USFS Rochester Ranger Station Visitors’ Center. A new connector trail was also completed in August, which links the Rochester Valley Trails with the village of Rochester.
In June, the 23-mile Green Mountain Trail network joined RASTA and the organization is now looking to connect the two networks. According to RASTA president Angus McCusker, 15 miles of new singletrack were recently approved as part of the Robinson Integrated Resource Project. The approved trails would also connect with the Vermont Huts Association’s Chittenden Brook Hut, which opened in 2018.
As part of that effort, the organizations are collaborating with the USFS to reinstate the Contest Trail, the first mountain bike trail built on National Forest land in Vermont, and which once connected Pittsfield with Rochester.
Once completed, the trail systems will create a 30-mile loop between Rochester and Pittsfield, with only six miles of road riding. RASTA estimates that the cost of constructing those 15 miles of connector trails will be $479,650.
The trails are part of the Velomont Trail effort, which, if completed would connect 12 Vermont Mountain Bike Association chapters and partners with the ultimate goal to link existing mountain bike networks from Massachusetts to Canada with 70 percent being singletrack trails. “We are looking at forming a Velomont chapter of VMBA this fall, to establish a board with representation from the 12 partners with existing trail networks,” said McCusker.
Featured Photo Caption: Elet McCusker (4) on the Old Gents Trail in Rochester. Photo by Angus McCusker.