US Forest Service Approves Backcountry Ski Location in Southern Vermont

Dylan Cautela | BackcountryBackcountry
Not too shabby.
Dutch Hill ski area and all it has to offer circa 1964. Source; New England Ski History.

The United States Forest Service has approved the South of Route 9 Integrated Resource Project, which includes opening some land of a former ski resort for backcountry access. The plan was proposed by students and the Land Stewardship Program (LANDS) at the University of Vermont who conducted research regarding non-native invasive species overgrowing in portions of the research site.

As part of an extensive plan to remove and mitigate further contamination from these invasive species in this research site- located in southern Vermont and parts of northern Massachusetts along the Green Mountains- the US Forest Service intends to institute substantial changes to local trail systems. This will involve closing some trails to illegal ATV activity, improving others for erosion and sediment control, as well as many other major adjustments including the addition of backcountry access locations.

“An 83-acre portion of the former Dutch Hill ski area in Readsboro will be managed for year-round recreation opportunities.”

United States Forest Service

Pow day in the 60s.
Most likely looking down the trail known as “Dutch Meadows” circa 1940s. Source; New England Lost Ski Areas Project.

Dutch Hill ski area closed in 1985 and since has had the lifts removed and lodging burned by local fire departments. In its prime it boasted a rope-tow, a T-bar, and a J-bar for lifts with access to about half-a-dozen trails and 570′ of vertical drop. The trails, which were cut and shaped for the use of skiing in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, have been almost entirely reclaimed by nature. The Forest Service will allow maintenance of backcountry ski lines among the old trails to be done by community groups and volunteers.

“An open area will be predominantly located around the old trails named Dutch Meadow, Meadow
Extension, Connector, and Yankee Doodle, and the upper part of Dyke; these trail areas will be widened. The opening will allow for tubing, sledding and skiing on the lower portion of Dutch Hill, and
backcountry/cross country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking on the old ski trails.”

United States Forest Service

Quite an undertaking
Map of Proposed Action for Recreation & Transportation in the South of Route 9 Integrated Resource Project plan. Source; Ecosystem Management.

No timeline for when backcountry access will be open or when the maintenance might begin has been issued by the Forest Service. 

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One thought on “US Forest Service Approves Backcountry Ski Location in Southern Vermont

  1. This should be fun — for some strange reason of topography and weather patterns, Heartwellville always seems to get about 20% more snow than the surrounding areas — including the relatively close by towns of Dover (Mount Snow) and Stratton.

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