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View Full Version : National Forest land--who can use it?



skibones
02-06-2007, 07:11 PM
Does anyone have an opinion about hiking on cross country trails? One day when I was hiking on the trail, I was told to get off the trail even though I was off to the side and not on the tracks or on the skating trail. I am also a cross country skier (and I have a trail pass) and I don't mind if someone is hiking on the trail as long as they are considerate. This is National Forest land. In Waterville Valley, Booth Creek has a permit to groom the cross country trails. Does that permit give them permission to forbid hikers or walkers to use the trail?

bikehikeskifish
02-06-2007, 07:40 PM
Does anyone have an opinion about hiking on cross country trails? One day when I was hiking on the trail, I was told to get off the trail even though I was off to the side and not on the tracks or on the skating trail. I am also a cross country skier (and I have a trail pass) and I don't mind if someone is hiking on the trail as long as they are considerate. This is National Forest land. In Waterville Valley, Booth Creek has a permit to groom the cross country trails. Does that permit give them permission to forbid hikers or walkers to use the trail?

Absolutely not. You are not required to have a trail pass on any parts of the groomed terrain which is officially a WMNF road (Livermore, Tripoli, of which part is called the Lower Osceola Trail). Likewise, you are allowed to walk on them, although out of courtesy, please wear snowshoes or walk outside the groomed sections. People routinely ski up Livermore or Tripoli to hike the Tripyramids or Osceola (respectively.) You might notice that beyond the left turn for the Tripoli Trail and where Livermore Road becomes Livermore Trail (and turns right onto Upper Snow's Trail) that the signage indicates you are entering a groomed system and trail passes are required.

Who told you to get off the trail?

Tim

RoySwkr
02-06-2007, 07:45 PM
el-bagr can probably give a better answer when he reads this

The NF leases land for a variety of purposes, some leases are exclusive and some are not

I believe that most XC leases allow the lessee to make rules about trail use

As to your question about dog walking, it is the FS that banned dogs on Greeley Pond Trail etc. - if you meet a FS employee they might look the other way but only a top administrator could issue a permit

skibones
02-06-2007, 07:45 PM
Who told you to get off the trail?

A XC skier told me to ge off the trail. What is an official WMNF road? What about the hiking trails that are groomed?

bikehikeskifish
02-06-2007, 07:57 PM
Who told you to get off the trail?

A XC skier told me to ge off the trail. What is an official WMNF road? What about the hiking trails that are groomed?

That's like me saying (while on my bike) to get your car off the road ;)

WV does not forbid hikers on the groomed WMNF roads (namely, Livermore and Tripoli). On trails requiring a pass, they require snowshoes.

I am only speaking about Waterville Valley here -- not WMNF groomed trails. And I am speaking from 12+ years experience as a Nordic Season's Pass holder, not as a legal representative of either WV or the WMNF of the USFS.

What "hiking trails that are groomed" are you referring to?

Tim

MadRiver
02-06-2007, 08:28 PM
Iím hiking the Tripyramids on Saturday. Prior to this hike, I will call the Pemigewasset Ranger station on Rt. 175 to verify that I am allowed to hike the Livermore Road and Trail without having to pay a fee to Waterville Valley. Although I know the answer to my question already, it is helpful to have a name to go with the official answer.

bikehikeskifish
02-06-2007, 09:11 PM
Iím hiking the Tripyramids on Saturday. Prior to this hike, I will call the Pemigewasset Ranger station on Rt. 175 to verify that I am allowed to hike the Livermore Road and Trail without having to pay a fee to Waterville Valley. Although I know the answer to my question already, it is helpful to have a name to go with the official answer.


Waterville Valley themselves marks these two trails as WMNF access roads on their trail conditions pages. The points at which the fee-for-use trials depart are clearly marked as such. I cannot imagine a situation where you would have an issue with a legitimate Waterville Valley / Booth Creek employee.

FWIW, The lower stretches of Livermore Road are quite popular with the families -- they come with little kids, and they don't come bearing trail passes, and I've never seen or heard of a problem. Heck, I will take mine there in a few years...

Again, based on 12 years of holding a season's pass and averaging probably 8-10 trips per year, so that's like 500 hours of skiing or so...

What's kind of funny to me is that as a skier I have to have a WMNF parking pass to park in the Livermore/Depot Camp lot to ski (or pay) -- that's not part of the lease arrangement. Seems like there is a mutual benefit -- hikers get Livermore and Tripoli nicely groomed and skiers get to park for free.

Tim

spider solo
02-07-2007, 05:42 AM
All very interesting..I have wanted to do the Osceolas from that direction these past few years...guess I let all that grooming and trail pass stuff scare me off to easily.

DougPaul
02-07-2007, 06:02 AM
All very interesting..I have wanted to do the Osceolas from that direction these past few years...guess I let all that grooming and trail pass stuff scare me off to easily.
Greely Pond Tr is not part of the groomed trail system and can be hiked from either end. It is also often (BC) skied.

Doug

forestgnome
02-07-2007, 06:17 AM
Greely Pond Tr is not part of the groomed trail system and can be hiked from either end. It is also often (BC) skied.

Doug

On the Kancamagus end, there is a seperate trail that skiers use. It begins a bit west of the hiking trailhead, and joins the GPT at or near (I think) the junction of Mt Osceola Trail.

Happy Trails :)

Papa Bear
02-07-2007, 07:48 AM
On the Kancamagus end, there is a seperate trail that skiers use. It begins a bit west of the hiking trailhead, and joins the GPT at or near (I think) the junction of Mt Osceola Trail.

Happy Trails :)Also for a ways on the section from that point towards WV, the skiers and hikers are on opposite sides of the stream. I'm not sure but the ski trail may go around the other side of the ponds, anyone know?

RoySwkr
02-07-2007, 03:43 PM
What's kind of funny to me is that as a skier I have to have a WMNF parking pass to park in the Livermore/Depot Camp lot to ski (or pay)

Is that new? A few years ago a ski pass would get you parking there.


Also for a ways on the section from that point towards WV, the skiers and hikers are on opposite sides of the stream. I'm not sure but the ski trail may go around the other side of the ponds, anyone know?
The hiking & ski trails are somewhat different near the ponds and for aways S, the hiking trail is often quite grown in and many people hike the ski trail (including you in your trip report). I once spent quite awhile looking for hiking trail sections.
http://hikenh.netfirms.com/TDGreely.htm

Papa Bear
02-07-2007, 04:28 PM
Also for a ways on the section from that point towards WV, the skiers and hikers are on opposite sides of the stream. I'm not sure but the ski trail may go around the other side of the ponds, anyone know?The hiking & ski trails are somewhat different near the ponds and for aways S, the hiking trail is often quite grown in and many people hike the ski trail (including you in your trip report). I'm impressed that you would remember a trip report from November of 2004. What else do you remember? :) :)

el-bagr
02-08-2007, 10:46 AM
As a general matter, it's my personal philosophy that hiking and skiing are compatible land uses.

Booth Creek (owner of Waterville, despite recently announced changes) manages property owned by the U.S. Forest Service under a Term Special Use Permit (Permit No. 4002/01) valid through 2034. The Permit authorizes Booth Creek to use and occupy certain National Forest System land for the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining a four season resort. It's not exactly a lease; technically it's an occupancy permit.

Near as I know, no recreational users have brought serious challenges to the exclusivity of USFS occupancy permits. The challenges I know of have involved, e.g., snowboarders getting kicked out of ski resorts on USFS land for drunkenness. Undoubtedly the permittee has the right to restrict certain activities for safety's sake. Where a user is simply hiking alongside a permitted trail on USFS land, it's my understanding that the issue remains unsettled. I would guess that the legal conclusion would be that the hiker has every right to be there, particularly where the hiker isn't "interfering" with permit operations. (Note that the USFS has ruled that a permitted hut in Colorado could ban camping in its vicinity, as camping could "interfere" with the permitted operations.) Certainly a skier who bought a pass but lacked the skills to descend or ascend a steep pitch would be within her rights to click out and bareboot. To me, what you're buying when you pay for your pass is the right to use the improvements made by the permittee; typically, these include grooming -- but admittedly the improvements often include trail construction, from which a hiker would benefit.

To me, despite being involved in legal affairs, this issue shouldn't have to come down to rules, regulations, courts or enforcement. We should all have the right to enjoy our shared national heritage in any reasonable manner we see fit. To me, hiking alongside a ski trail is perfectly reasonable.

Finally, we are undoubtedly allowed to hike the Livermore Road and Trail without having to pay a fee to Waterville Valley. People will say all sorts of things, but words can't trump our freedoms.

bikehikeskifish
02-08-2007, 10:57 AM
Is that new? A few years ago a ski pass would get you parking there.


Hmm. Actually I don't really know. One was not included with my WV Nordic Season Pass. I have the FS parking sticker as well, so it's not really a problem. I have not seen any signage indicating the parking fee is waved for skiers. It may well be waved all winter long or just not enforced, I don't know. Officially, I've not heard the fee/permit is not required.

Next time I actually go to the Nordic Center, I'll ask them (being careful NOT to run into any lawyers, of course) -- haven't been in a few seasons 'cause all the skiing has been in the north end.

Tim