Society & Culture

Land Rovers trek through muddy roads of National Forest

by Lou Varricchio

SALISBURY | Members of the Bethel, New York-based Churchill Classic and Vintage Automotive took a small group of classic, foreign-made off-road trucks on an unusual trek through the Green Mountain National Forest over the Labor Day holiday weekend earlier this month.

The group of 4x4ers navigated several of the deeply rutted and muddy forest roads around Salisbury, Vermont, in order to test the mettle of their rare and unusual collector vehicles.

Churchill specializes in the service and restoration of British 4×4 Land Rovers, but the owners also repair and maintain all European and British vehicles.

According to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), transportation around and within the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) can be characterized as a rural road system.

“There are no freeways, interstates, or expressways that cross the area,” according to the USFS website. “Paved state roads and paved and graveled town roads typify the roadway network around and leading to National Forest land, while smaller, mostly graveled roads define the Forest Service owned system of roads within the Forest. Forest roads are primarily used for recreation and forest management activities. They also provide some access to private landholdings within the GMNF. Forest roads are typically unplowed and closed to automobile use during the winter season, although many of them are open for use by snowmobiles.”

Forest roads are typically single lane with few pull-outs. Almost 60% of Forest roads have a graveled surface, while about 40% of the roads have only a native material surface. Less than 2% of Forest roads are paved. There are 243 miles of forest roads within Vermont’s GMNF.

Photographs of the Churchill 4×4 expedition were shared with the public and posted to the U.S. Forest Service’s Facebook page on Sept. 8.

In addition to its rugged, deep-forest roads, the national forest supports a variety of wildlife, such as fox, deer, beaver, moose, coyote, black bear, turkey, raptors, and grouse. The forest is situated along with Vermont’s ancient Green Mountain range, known as the “backbone of Vermont”.

This report is reprinted with permission from the Sept. 12 Vermont Eagle, a weekly newspaper for Addison County.

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