The Northeast Kingdom Backcountry Coalition (NEKBC), in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreations (VFPR), has announced updates to its pilot backcountry ski and ride project in Willoughby State Forest (WSF).

The organizations began working together in the fall of 2016 to design and develop winter backcountry recreation opportunities that supplement the existing ski and snowshoe trail network in the state forest.

The project is the first of its kind on state lands. NEKBC is committed to creating legitimate and sustainable backcountry routes and hopes to eliminate the temptation for rogue and illegal cutting on state and private lands.

NEKBC has been working closely with Vermont FPR Field Recreation Specialist Luke O’Brien. O’Brien is one of several professionals across the state working closely with partners, volunteers, and contractors on outdoor recreation projects on state lands. These projects include sustainable trail development and maintenance, assessment and monitoring of recreation sites, and promoting sustainable outdoor recreation activities.

The collaborative project has resulted in the design of backcountry zones that include ski lines on Mt. Hor, Bartlett Mountain, and the CCC Road. Also developed is a network of uphill skin tracks to connect to the parking lot on Route 5A and the various backcountry zones. These improvements complement the existing network of groomed Nordic ski trails offered in Willoughby State Forest. The group continues to work to identify, mark, clear, and monitor trails to create a sustainable backcountry trail system in WSF.

The NEKBC is a non-profit coalition of backcountry enthusiasts focused on advocating for access to private and public lands for the purpose of recreation. It is intent on preserving the existing areas of winter recreation while continuing to develop and maintain new terrain. .

For more information or to join NEKBC, please visit our website: www.nekbc.org