With all the concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the free-time resulting, public hiking trails are experiencing an unprecedented surge of recreational use.
While this use has a variety of personal benefits, it can also overtax public facilities which were designed for more normal levels of hiker needs. An example is the popular Wu Ledges access trail at the west end of Hastings Road in Waitsfield. Recent parking there has overwhelmed the space allotted. The Conservation commission asks the public to understand:
- Legal parking space is limited to three cars at Hastings Meadow. If the parking area is full, please respect the rights of private property owners and do not park elsewhere along the road.
- The best alternative access for Wu Ledges Town Forest is to park in Waitsfield village and walk on Bridge Street/East Warren Road to Pine Hill Lane, then up the Lane to the trail access near the top of that road.
- If the parking area is full, consider visiting a less crowded section of the Mad River Path (see the map linked here for options) or walking along a lower traffic dirt road.
- Use of the Wu Ledges parking area and trails must be done with appropriate social distancing, in accordance with the Governor’s statewide orders.
If overcrowding continues to be a problem for neighboring landowners at the Hastings Road parking site, or if the Governor’s orders are not followed, the site and the Wu Ledges trail may be closed to public access.
Please also note that the Long Trail (and its side trails), the Catamount Trail, ski mountains, and Mad River Rider trails are all currently closed.
Enjoy the coming spring and the great outdoors!