Find The Trails You Want To Explore This Spring/Summer With The Help Of The UVTA Trail FinderApr 21, 2022 08:19PM ● By Virginia Dean
A tool to help people find trails, be out and active, and explore the Upper Valley has become an invaluable database of four-season trails in Vermont and New Hampshire, especially during the current pandemic.
Administered by the non-profit The Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA), Trail Finder keeps track of the trails you have completed, tags your favorites, saves the trails you wish to complete, and saves trail logs to remember each adventure. In addition, its' trailside services map can be searched on your way to or from the trailhead, new-to-you trails can be discovered, trail issues and stewardship can be learned, and you can access the online resource library and Trail Talk. A Trail Finder account is free whether you are looking for a weekend hike, an afternoon stroll, or a new place to bike, paddle, ski, or ride.
Now going stronger than ever, the UVTA is one of many local organizations feeling the positive effects of the pandemic, thanks in large part to the Trail Finder. From hiking, running, and biking to snowshoeing and skiing, people have been driven to be outdoors over the last two years for their physical and mental health, to socialize with friends and loved ones, and reconnect with nature. This is in combination with an increased number of trail maintenance, building, and improvement projects, more volunteers, and a growth in tools and technical support in the organization.
“As we enter our third year of pandemic uncertainty in a society deeply divided along political lines, outdoor recreation offers common ground,” said Russell Hirschler, executive director. “The benefits are endless: health and wellness, equitable access to the outdoors, economic development during these difficult times, and a healthier environment driven by conservation and sustainable trail-building practices.”
Hirschler urges people to recreate safely and with a stewardship ethic in mind. He asks participants to think about the following as they venture outside in 2022:
- Know and respect the allowable use of the trail.
- Respect other trail users as well as public and private landowners’ property.
- Use good judgment and tread lightly.
- Stay on marked trails.
- Respect natural resources, historic structures, and wildlife.
- Be prepared with food, water, and first aid.
- Pack out your trash.
- Respect all trail closures.
- Plan ahead, be safe, and have fun.
Founded in 1999 as a priority arising from a multi-community needs assessment, the UVTA was formed to respond to the need for trails as pathways to improve health and communities. Since the UVTA has been actively working to support and advocate for trails in the Upper Valley. Some of its goals include ensuring equitable access, promoting physical and mental health, encouraging conservation and sustainability, and promoting outdoor recreation to foster sustainable economic development. Over time, the organization’s community and trail-related advocacy has led it to develop several programs, projects, and events.