Trust for Public Land Helps Protect Critical Section of East Pasture Cross Country Ski Trail
Today, Trust for Public Land announces the protection of 166-acres that will become part of the White Mountain National Forest. The property hosts a critical section of the East Pasture Trail, a popular cross country ski trail jointly managed by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation and the White Mountain National Forest
“Protecting this important section of the White Mountains not only expands access to the East Pasture Trail to allow more people to enjoy the outdoors, but also helps preserve one of the largest forest blocks in the Eastern United States as it connects to 138,000 undeveloped acres along the Appalachian Trail and the Wild River Wilderness,” said J.T. Horn, Director of Trails for Trust for Public Land. “We’re proud to have partnered on this effort to preserve uninterrupted access to one of the East Coast’s most popular cross country ski routes that will help drive the outdoor recreation economy of Jackson for years to come.”
This property, which will now be part of the White Mountain National Forest, includes a particularly beautiful section of the 10-kilometer East Pasture Trail that anchors the remote eastern side of the Jackson Ski touring network. It is also a primary route for telemark and alpine touring skiers and mountain bikers going to the backcountry terrain on Black Mountain, including the White Mountain National Forest cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Despite its significance to the Eastern outdoors community, access to this portion of the East Pasture Trail was at risk of being lost due to development and no trespassing signs. The Dundee Management Corporation, a family corporation, has maintained it for public access since the 1960s, but it was more of a tradition than a guarantee.
“Jackson Ski Touring Foundation would like to thank the Dundee Management Corporation and the Beal family for providing ski access to this land for the past 40 years,” said Ellen Chandler Executive Director of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. “With this new acquisition by Trust for Public Land and the White Mountain National Forest, skiers will continue to have access to this wonderful trail that is a crucial part of a challenging and distinctively New England loop that adventurous skiers absolutely cherish.” Jackson Ski Touring Foundation operates the most popular cross country ski area in the Eastern United States offering 100 km of groomed skiing throughout the Town of Jackson.
In addition to the recreation benefits, new science that models how species will adapt and move in response to a changing climate suggests that this property is an especially resilient site. Much of the East Pasture Trail property is lowland spruce fir forest, a forest type that supports over 50 wildlife species that don’t occur in most other parts of the eastern United States. These forests are less impacted by the cold and dry conditions of higher elevations, and support larger trees and a more diverse community of plants and animals including snowshoe hare, moose, and American marten.
Funding for the project came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was strongly supported by the New Hampshire Congressional delegation including Sens. Shaheen and Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas, as well as the Town of Jackson.
“I’m thrilled to see this project come to fruition, ensuring generations of skiers, mountain bikers, hunters, hikers and all visitors to the White Mountain National Forest can enjoy the beautiful outdoor space and recreation that it will allow,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I was proud to support the Great American Outdoors Act to provide full funding for LWCF and to benefit New Hampshire projects like the East Pasture acquisition that drive our outdoor recreation economy.”
“New Hampshire is home to abundant beautiful natural resources that must be preserved to ensure enjoyment for generations to come,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “I applaud the Trust for Public Land and U.S. Forest Service for working together to protect the East Pasture Trail for future generations by making it part of the White Mountain National Forest, and I was proud to help pass into law the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act to support projects like these. The East Pasture Trail is a much-welcomed addition to the White Mountain National Forest, and I will continue working to protect our treasured New Hampshire environment and support our outdoor economy.”
“New Hampshire’s skiing and snow sports industry play a critical role in both our way of life and our tourism economy,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “I fought hard to pass the Great American Outdoors Act to support projects like the East Pasture Trail acquisition to allow more visitors to enjoy all that the Granite State has to offer. I’m pleased that Trust for Public Lands and the White Mountain National Forest have partnered to protect this piece of land to support our economy and ensure Granite Staters can enjoy our outdoor spaces for generations to come.”
The Trust for Public Land is focused on the protection, expansion, and creation of trail systems across the country. From large scale systems like the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails to smaller trails like the East Pasture Loop, these areas are important to local economies and tourism, as well as ensuring that the outdoors is accessible. Investment in these systems is critical for job creation, attracting new businesses, and connecting people with nature.
“We are pleased to add this 166-acre parcel to the White Mountain National Forest, and appreciate the effort of everyone involved,” said White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Derek Ibarguen. “Public access to additional public lands will be enhanced and the opportunities for recreational use will be increased by acquiring this parcel.”
Trust for Public Land’s work to expand public lands like these around the East Pasture Trail helps to connect more Americans with the outdoors and allows people an important way to have a say in the management of their lands. The public can stay informed and involved in future planning and management by the White Mountain National Forest by signing up for email notices at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/whitemountain/landmanagement/projects .
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.