NEWPORT — The Orleans County Snowmobile Association has proposed a new Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) secondary trail into the city of Newport.
In December 2017, the Newport City Council voted unanimously to allow the trail into the city to be established and used for the 2017-2018 snowmobile season that runs from December 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018.
The VAST secondary trail will be maintained by local snowmobile club the North Country Mountaineers. It will run south from VAST Trail 14A near Prouty Beach into the downtown district, ultimately into the Main Street area.
The secondary trail will share two city streets, Broadview Avenue and Landing Street in order to allow access into the city without using Lake Memphremagog.
Since the streets are residential properties, the city council imposed the following restrictions on the trail:
• A curfew of 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM and a speed limit of 10 mph will be enforced on Broadview Ave.
• A curfew of 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM and a speed limit of 10 mph will be enforced on Landing St.
These restrictions will allow the trail to function without affecting residents during the night hours and also avoid snowmobile traffic on the street during peak traffic hours in the morning while students are traveling to North Country High School.
The trail will exit south off of Landing Street onto the East Side Restaurant property and wrap around the back side of the Waterfront Plaza businesses.
Snowmobiles have been given permission to park in the parking lots in order to patronize the businesses.
A second option has been established from VAST Trail 14A on Prouty Beach, down the shoreline of Lake Memphremagog, to Landing Street, ultimately eliminating one whole city street. Travel over any frozen body of water is inherently dangerous and caution should be used.
The trail will be marked and the water is shallow, however, snowmobilers should cross at their own risk and remember, no ice is safe ice.
Travel on the lake anywhere south of VAST Trail 14A or the secondary trail is highly discouraged due to underwater currents.
Access into downtown should never be made via the lake. If snowmobilers have any hesitation about the safety of the ice, the land route should be taken.
The overall goal of the new secondary trail is to allow a safe, legal way for snowmobilers to access the many services the city of Newport has to offer. Any off-trail riding, other than into a parking lot, or violation of the speed limit or curfew will result in a closure of the trail.
Obeying posted signs will allow for trail access to grow into other parts of the city, including Main Street, pending city council approval.
In an effort to peacefully coexist with the citizens and patrons of Newport, it is important for snowmobilers to respect and yield the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians traveling in parking lots and roadways.
For more information, please contact Orleans County Snowmobile Association President Roger Gosselin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-274-4502 or North Country Mountaineers President George St. Onge at (802) 673-9305.