Starting in 2017 SE Group began a collaboration with the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) and the Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA) to begin collecting backcountry trail use data. There is currently very limited data locally and nationally around backcountry skiing and the impact of this recreation group. The project began in 2017 with the installation of four trail counters in the newly created Brandon Gap Backcountry Ski Zones on National Forest System land in Central Vermont. The counters enabled SE Group to assess trail traffic volume and provide the CTA, RASTA, and the United States Forest Service (USFS) with an initial understanding of the nature of backcountry skiing related trail use in Vermont.
For 2018 our collaboration expanded to include collecting trail use data on Section 22 of the Catamount Trail between Bolton Valley Resort and Trapp Family Lodge. This heavily used section of trail can be accessed from multiple trail heads in Bolton and Stowe and leads to several backcountry ski zones. SE Group’s collection of backcountry trail use data and economic impact analysis has helped the CTA and RASTA manage their resources, apply for grant funding, and plan for continued trail expansion. This collaboration is one of the first in the U.S. to study the relationship between backcountry skiing and its economic impact on the surrounding communities.
SE Group is excited about this ongoing volunteer opportunity working with local non-profits dedicated to preserving and maintaining some of Vermont’s most valued recreational resources.
SE Group has generously shared time, expertise, and equipment to help us gain valuable insights regarding use patterns on the Catamount Trail and in Vermont's backcountry zones. With their help, we are tracking visitation more accurately than ever, and using the data to understand the valuable economic impact these recreational assets have on local communities. SE Group's contributions are helping us better plan and prioritize projects on the ground, and supporting our fundraising and advocacy work.”
Catamount Trail Association