An Outdoor Classroom for Environmental Studies Students

In recent years, some backcountry skiers and snowboarders have been cutting their own trails through wooded areas, sometimes illegally and without permission from landowners. The unfortunate results: erosion, the destruction of wildlife habitat, and damage to plant species.

In an effort to prevent such damage in the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF), the Environmental Studies Program is teaming up with forest managers and the Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance (RASTA) on an unprecedented two-year pilot project in Brandon Gap, near Rochester, Vt.

Beginning last fall, RASTA volunteers, with members of the Catamount Trail Association and about a dozen Dartmouth students, cleared trees and brush to create four tracks—backcountry skiers call them “lines”—from the base to the top of the mountain. Using chainsaws and hand tools, the trail makers followed guidelines established by the GMNF with input from Nicholas Reo, an assistant professor of environmental studies and Native American studies.

Read the entire article here.