WHO WE ARE
The Ascutney Trails Association (ATA) is an energetic group of hikers, mountain bikers, back-country skiers and outdoor enthusiasts overseeing trails on Mt Ascutney and it’s surrounds. Steeped in history, the organization incorporates both the original ATA and STAB organizations and is proud to move forward with its vision for Mt Ascutney’s trail future.
The mission of ATA is to advocate for and maintain accessibility of low-impact trails and structures used for human powered recreational activities in the townships of the Mt. Ascutney Area, and to support and preserve the deep historic connection Mt. Ascutney has to Vermont and New Hampshire. The ATA will adhere to environmentally sound methods of responsible trail building, use, and stewardship while promoting outdoor education and cooperation with landowners.
In 1825 the first recorded “recreational” trail was built on Mt Ascutney to provide easier summit access for General Lafayette, who was on a Grand Tour of the 24 states that made up the United States at the time. Although Lafayette’s schedule became delayed causing him to miss the Ascutney visit, ever since there has been constant recreational activity on the mountain. From it’s Native American beginnings, Mt Ascutney’s unique prominence overlooking the Connecticut River valley trade routes has made it a landmark for generations of travelers and local community members.
The Ascutney Mountain Association was founded in 1903 and developed into the Ascutney Trails Association (ATA) in 1967. A dedicated group of ATA members focused on managing the summit-bound hiking trails and their assorted shelters.
In the Spring of 2020, the directors of two great organizations - STAB and ATA - finalized plans to merge into one larger organization to support their common mission and love of the mountain with all it has to offer. Today, the “new” ATA is proud to focus its stewardship efforts on hiking, mountain biking, trail running and backcountry skiing. We are the “trail people” and our volunteer work supports access to our community’s most prominent natural resource, Mt Ascutney.
Sport Trails of Ascutney Basin (STAB) was formed in the winter of 2005/2006 by local mountain bikers, trail builders and trail ‘encyclopedias’ who became the club’s board of five directors, holding their first membership meeting in the spring of 2006. The name ‘Sport Trails of the Ascutney Basin’ reflected the desire to promote multi-use trails (biking, running, hiking) for all to enjoy in the towns surrounding Mt Ascutney.
The club quickly established a small trail network in the West Windsor Town Forest to complement the existing but ever-changing network on private lands. Building the framework for the club’s responsible stewardship of the forest trails on the mountain would also demonstrate to private landowners that trails on their land would add value to their land, and not destroy its ecology through mountain bike use. STAB continued to improve, expand and maintain this on-mountain network through the work of their board, trail crew and many volunteers.
In 2006 STAB became a chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) to both support VMBA and benefit from their trail sustainability, advocacy and education efforts. In 2007 VMBA signed an agreement with the VT State Forest Parks and Recreation Department to grant VMBA and its chapters rights to build and maintain mountain bike trails on state park land. This paved the way for two trails to be built in Ascutney State Park: The novice-friendly ‘Swoops and Loops’ trail and a new trail connecting Ascutney State Park with the Mt Ascutney ski area, with completion due in 2020.