Once-Abandoned Ascutney Basin, VT Now Has Miles of Trails

The closing of Mount Ascutney Ski Resort five years ago left an economic and recreational void in the village of Brownsville, Vermont. Thanks to the Sport Trails of the Ascutney Basin (STAB) and its partnership with the town of West Windsor, the area has once again become a destination.

The western base of Ascutney now features approximately 34 miles of non-motorized, multi-use recreational trails, the result of exhaustive and persistent efforts from volunteer STAB members over the last decade. Led by co-founders Jim Lyall and Erik Schutz, STAB advocates to build and maintain accessible, low-impact trails in West Windsor and surrounding communities.

While STAB’s efforts aim primarily to serve local outdoor enthusiasts, the area attracts users from throughout the Northeast. Usage logs based at parking areas recently have revealed users from throughout New England, New York, Quebec and beyond.

Last summer, STAB embarked on an “Ascutney Trails” branding initiative, creating a website and logo for the network along with new signage. The group is also working on a new map with suggested routes and fully named and numbered trails.

The area received an additional boon at a special town meeting last October, when voters agreed for the town to purchase a 460-acre parcel of the resort land, which will become part of the West Windsor Town Forest after the sale’s closing date this summer. That will permanently conserve roughly two-thirds of the network.

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