Our club is striving to keep the recreational area on Victory Hill alive for skiing, hiking and biking and protect the land from erosion. Thanks to Vermont’s Department of Forest Parks and Recreation, the Victory Hill Sector is now offically part of the the State’s “Vermont Trail System (VTS).
However a town government ploy to impose Vermont’s Act 250 development law on the trail system – has crippled the club’s ability to fundraise and thus safely operate the trails for biking. Public BIKE USE is therefore now NOT ALLOWED. But hiking, skiing and hunting (in deer rifle season) are welcomed. Hopefully the trails can open sometime in 2021 for public biking as the club’s maintenance efforts progress.
The trails were traditionally used for hiking, backcountry skiing, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, forestry, snowmobiling and more recently for mountain biking. Single track trails were started in 2010 with volunteer support from Kingdom Trails, Burke Mountain Academy, and other local volunteers.
Once a popular venue for mountain bike racing, Victory Hill has hosted several editions of the VT3 Stage Race, the Backcountry Cross, the Eastern States Cup Enduro Series, as well as the 2018 North American Finals of the Enduro World Series Continental Tour.
To refrain from continuing to offend the Natural Resouces Board with any of the activities which originally triggered their Act 250 Jurisdictional Opinion (JO), Victory Hill’s principal landowner has closed the land to public bike use. Act 250 is a permanent battery of permits which would afix to the land and govern activities on the trails in perpetuity. The landowner would rather end the biking activities that have supposedly violated Act 250 than continue down the path to regulation. This situation has eliminated many work opportunities for local citizens, caused the cancellation of several sporting events, and prevented Victory Hill Sector from opening the trails for three years running – because the donations and events which are needed to fund adequate trail operations, are deemed by the Natural Resource Board to meet the criteria for triggering Act 250.
The Natural Resource Board’s clumsy opinion has compromised federal government (USDA) funding for an ALE conservation easement to protect the 1200+ acres of forest surrounding the trails. Now the USDA will only fund the protection of a peripheral block of 580 acres with an easement, and 650 acres of land will not be protected from development because of bumbling bureaucracy.