Trail Preservation

GMHA’s Trail Preservation Program

Working directly with landowners, local realtors and land trusts, GMHA preserves equestrian trails forever through the innovative use of permanent trail easements.  Easements run with the land, owner-to-owner.

As more landowners donate trail easements to GMHA, those contemplating a donation are often motivated to act, creating a gradual natural pattern of connection.  Sharing land in this traditional way connects people as well as land with a basic understanding of neighborly respect and gratitude.

When making connections within GMHA’s vast equestrian trail network, we strive to integrate trails on private land with public land and roadways.  This includes conserved private land with provisions for recreational use held by local land trusts such as the New England Forestry Foundation, the Vermont Land Trust, and the Upper Valley Land Trust.  It also includes Town forests and land owned by the State of Vermont.

Easements can be customized to each landowner’s specific needs—including privacy—and assures that trails will be well-maintained.

“Trail systems are incredibly fragile. One landowner or one change of ownership can break a whole chain, unless there is a legal right-of-way.”
– Darby Bradley, Vermont Land Trust


by Chelle Grald, GMHA Trails Manager Romance and History For most of the century past, wooden arrows nailed to trees have marked the path of our historic 100-mile Ride, proudly painted red, white and blue. That ride is the first of its kind in the nation – the beginnings of… Read more »

by Chelle Grald, GMHA Trails & Rides Manager The paradox of living in a trail rich environment is that the more trail users there are, the bigger the potential for conflict. At the root of this conflict are varying goals for the trail. Hikers, bikers, snowmobilers, ATV operators and equestrians… Read more »

By Chelle Grald, GMHA Trails Manager “There is more to lose than land. A way of life and an understanding of who we are is also at stake. Horsemanship is important to our country’s history and lore. It teaches us responsibility and stewardship and how to care for another life… Read more »

by Chelle Grald, GMHA Trails Manager If the area around South Woodstock were a fabric it would be a charming tapestry, patterned with scenes of horses, antique homes and rolling hills. The weave would be a bit rustic – reflecting the old Vermont traditions that are still alive and well…. Read more »

Why would I want to allow the public on my land? This region has a long tradition of public access. The earliest European settlers wanted the Vermont countryside to be available to everyone. Many people still share access to their lands, which offers a rich quality of life to our... Read more »

East Hill Conservation Project Upwey Trail, South WoodstockEast Hill, finalized in 2011, was an ambitious community conservation project with local landowners, Tom Debevoise and Laurie Livingston and Upper Valley Land Trust. GMHA took the lead with a $100,000 pledge toward a $490,000 community fundraising goal to conserve an undeveloped 71-acre... Read more »