THE GREAT OUTDOORS:NEWS Vt. During the fall of 2013, RASTA member Zac Freeman approached Paul Kendall, Sharon Rives and the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) to see if they would be interested in working together to create backcountry skiing glades on the 1,547acre Braintree Mountain Forest (BMF) property that Kendall and Rives had recently donated to NEFF. In the fall of 2014, over 35 RASTA volunteers spent a weekend cutting RASTA’s first BC glade off the north face of Skidoo Mountain. The new glade drops 1,000 feet in elevation and ends at the Bell Gates Cabin. Over the past year, more glading has been done. “Our plan is to continue building on the success of the first glade by creating what could become one of Vermont’s largest maintained backcountry zones. We experienced some growing pains last winter as parking was a big issue and needs to be resolved. The old cabin at the foot of Skidoo Mountain is perfectly located to serve day use and overnight BC skiers. It needs some fixing up and a new wood stove. Once completed it will comfortably sleep eight,” says Greg Maino, of the Catamount Trail Association, which is working with RASTA and the Vermont Backcountry Alliance. So skiers, wax your skis and pony up. Isn’t a season of backcountry freshies worth at least the price of a day ticket?
Bolton Valley’s King of the Scalers Are Sturgeon Resurgin’? Sturgeon, the prehistoric fish many believe gave rise to the myth of Lake Champlain’s alleged sea monster, Champ, may be coming back. This summer, for the first time since 2002, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife “sampled” sturgeon, collecting 17 endangered sturgeon, measuring 48 to 55 inches. Ten have been tagged and biologists will follow them over the next decade. “We’re hoping to be able to identify locations in the lake where sturgeon congregate so that future sampling can be done more effectively, allowing us to learn more about their movements in the lake and spawning tributaries,” fisheries program manager Chet MacKenzie said. The fish caught this summer were small fry: the lake sturgeon is Vermont’s largest fish with adults often growing to 3 to 5 feet in length and weighing in at 80 lbs. In fact, the largest on record in North America grew to 300 pounds and the oldest, 154 years old. Sturgeons are remarkable fish that fossil records show have changed little in the last 66 million years. Lake sturgeon, which were overfished extensively in North America, don’t mature sexually until they are 12 to 20 years old, making their populations even more vulnerable to depletion. They are considered endangered in Lake Champlain and there’s a $1000 penalty if you catch one and don’t release it. If you do see a sturgeon, you can report it to your local game warden or by calling 802-878-1564. Just double check first, though, to make sure it is not Champ.
Earn Your Braintree Turns This month, the Rochester Area Trails Alliance (RASTA) is hoping to raise $25,000 via an Indiegogo.com campaign to help develop backcountry glades, a parking lot and restore a cabin in the Braintree Mountain Forest in Braintree, near Randolph,
Want to try a new sport? This month you can compete in the King of the Scalers. According to race organizer Trevor Rushford, King of the Scalers is “a new cross-fit race that involves the world of remote control trucks, also known as RC’s, and running through the woods while navigating through a predetermined course. If you think using remote controlled trucks is just for kids, think again: Remote Controlled Car (more commonly known as RCC) racing has been growing since the 1970s with an international federation and on road and off-road competitions. The Bolton courses challenge offThe rules of this off-road race? You have to pass road competitors to go through a se- through a number of gates and you can't touch ries of gates and challenging terrain your vehicle. without getting stuck. Rushford describes competitors as ages 8 to 73. “King of the Scalers is unique because our average racer does little to no sports, and this course pushes the average Joe to his limits. KOS brings everyone together for friendly competition and has produced some awesome results and a following.” The average race lasts about 45 minutes and, says Rushford, “they race each other hard, endure style.” To learn more, visit radiocontrolledeastcoast.com.
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A Rideable Feast If you have never ridden in the Tour de Farms, Vermont’s oldest farm-to-farm ride this would be a year to do so. The 2015 Tour de Farms will start in Bristol on Saturday, September 26, and take cyclists on a gorgeous 37-mile tour of Bristol, Monkton, Hinesburg, New Haven and Starksboro. The Tour features eight food stops and 18 participating farms and restaurants providing samples of everything from cider to cheese to pesto. It ends with a Harvest Festival and live music on the Bristol town green. The long route (37 miles) includes 13 miles of gravel roads so wider tires are recommended. Early registration (before September 18) is $35 and after that, the price jumps to $55. The ride benefits the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN). www.acornvt.org