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Development of New White Mountain Backcountry Trails Moving Forward
Development of New White Mountain Backcountry Trails Moving Forward
The Granite Backcountry Alliance is working to reclaim and maintain historic backcountry trails.
Thursday, May 25, 2017, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Just months after forming the non-profit organization, the organizers of Granite Backcountry Alliance are moving forward with an ambitious plan to provide new backcountry ski opportunities in the eastern White Mountain region.

Granite Backcountry Alliance was formed as a New Hampshire non profit organization by Tyler Ray, Jacob Risch, Christopher McKay, Richard Jenkinson, and Andrew Drummond in September of 2016 with the principle purpose of promoting "the sport of backcountry skiing and riding in NH and Western Maine."

The group recently received the endorsement of White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Thomas Wagner, who proclaimed, "I applaud your group's success in rapidly organizing individual skiers and riders to collective engage with members of my recreational staff and I look forward to developing that relationship further."

The group is already scheduling maintenance on existing backcountry ski trails, including the Sherburne, Gulf of Slides, and Doublehead trails.

Meanwhile, the group is working toward reopening the historic Maple Villa Trail in Bartlett and providing new access to the vast snowfields of South Baldface in Chatham.

1942 Bartlett Mountain Map
1942 Bartlett Mountain Map

The Maple Villa Trail (also known as Maple Villa No. 5) was cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, dropping some 2,000 vertical feet from the top of Bartlett Mountain to the former Intervale ski area. While some unofficial trail maintenance has taken place in recent years, the Granite State Backcountry Alliance is working with the Forest Service, the Town of Bartlett, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to formally reopen the trail.

South Baldface Snowfields in 2015
South Baldface Snowfields in 2015

South Baldface features a 3,000 foot vertical drop, including vast open ledges that can set up as snowfields in the winter. The large mountain was part of the proposed Borderline ski area in the 1930s. The Granite Backcountry Alliance is hoping to provide better access to the snowfields by thinning out glades in the Slippery Brook area. The Route 113 trailhead already features plowed parking and restrooms.

Further Forest Service reviews and approvals will be necessary before the new projects can proceed.


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