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UVM "Offical" Stance on Mount Mansfield Summit Skiing
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UVM "Offical" Stance on Mount Mansfield Summit Skiing Photo: Summit of Mount Mansfield

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UVM "Offical" Stance on Mount Mansfield Summit Skiing

On Thursday, August 29, 1996, SkiVt-L spoke with Rick Paradis, UVM Natural Areas Manager. Rick had this to say:

  • To begin with, Rick is concerned about the somewhat inflammatory tone taken by many concerned with this topic.
  • There will be no postings of the Mansfield ridge line. UVM legal council has advised that this presents an "attractive nuisance" as well as a host of other problems.
  • There will be no fines. There doesn't seem to be any legal mechanism in place for UVM to assess or collect fines.
  • Overriding concern is that winter users of the ridge line be cognizant of the major environmental impact repeated boot tramping can have on the fragile summit vegetation beneath the snow pack.

Rick was up at the summit several times last winter evaluating the usage patterns and damage. The biggest concern is the various off-trail troughs of compacted snow that are created by summit adventurers who head straight for the chin via "herd paths" without regard for what might be beneath the snow cover. These troughs were found far from established summit hiking trails and crossed several areas of alpine tundra.

It is not the intent of Rick or the University of Vermont to shut down the summit to winter use. They are still trying to get a sense of how many people use this area, is usage increasing/decreasing/steady, what they use it for, and how can the effects of this usage be minimized. To that end, Rick suggests that users follow the well established Cliff Trail hiking route to the Long Trail, and then follow the Long Trail along the ridge line to the summit. While somewhat longer, it is a considerably less strenuous hike which passes over bare rock.

Apparently, once one is at the summit, the descents are nowhere near as problematic. There is some small evidence of lateral damage to the krumholz and spruce, but nothing near as bad as the herd paths.

Rick is quite willing to work with the constituent interest groups on this topic. He has been in close contact with Rob Apple, mountain facilities manager at the Mountain Company (sorry, I still use the old name), and would be happy to meet with represenatives of the Mountain Company (SMR), Green Mountain Club, UVM, and even concerned SkiVtLers to discuss issues and solutions.

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Last modified June 08 2000 12:23 PM

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