About FFF   
    History of FFF   
    FFF Today   

Friends of Fairlee Forest (FFF)

Friends of Fairlee Forest (FFF) is a coalition of Fairlee community members interested in the environmental, recreational, educational, and aesthetic resource values of the Fairlee Municipal Forest and its trails.

To join the mailing list, send an email to


  • To help make Fairlee’s public trails and forest roads safe and accessible to visitors through maps and signage.
  • To expand understanding and good stewardship of the trails, ecosystems, habitats, wildlife, and plant communities within the Fairlee Forest.
  • To encourage mutual respect and consideration among diverse forest visitors, from hikers to snowmobilers, hunters to birders. Fairlee Forest is a shared public resource.
  • To help make Fairlee Forest’s recreational opportunities economic assets for the town.

Status: FFF is an unincorporated citizens' group under the fiscal sponsorship of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA). Donations made to UVTA for FFF are tax-deductible.

History of the Friends of the Fairlee Forest

FFF was founded in July 2012 by Fairlee residents interested in working with the Town to improve public access and expand knowledge and appreciation of its forest environment.

Since then, the organization has

  • mapped, signposted, and blazed or re-blazed up to 35 miles of public trails;

  • produced two editions of a printed trail map for visitors, now available with updates as an interactive online map;,

  • collaborated with West Fairlee Conservation Commission on habitat research in our shared wetland;

  • organized a public presentation on results of “The Great Fairlee Wetlands” research project by the research team of five well-known conservation biologists;

  • held guided hikes in the Forest;

  • launched the website "Forests and Trails of Fairlee VT"; and

  • organized the Fairlee Forest Festival, a day-long celebration of the northern forest environment and the many ways it contributes to our quality of life and economy The event featured some 30 participants and drew about 500 visitors to Fairlee Village Center on Saturday July 2, 2016.

FFF Today

Since 2019, residents aligned with FFF’s values have, with assistance from State agencies, been actively encouraging the town officers responsible for the Forest to adopt less logging-intensive, more recreationally and environmentally focused forest management practices in keeping with the voter-accepted terms of land donations and federal matching grants establishing the Fairlee Forest in the 1940s and 1980s and with current State requirements.

This has resulted in a recent commitment by the Town to stem erosion in the Forest by repairing badly damaged roads and trails and preventing further erosion by closing redundant and unnecessary logging roads inappropriate for vehicular recreation and closing all roads and trails to motorized vehicles during mud season. Implementation of these measures began in 2021 and are expected to continue until completed.

Proposed Projects

  • To encourage and assist (if allowed), those with authority over the Forest to establish a recreational management plan such as was set forth in the original terms of the founding gifts and grant, including:
    • A system of recreational trails designed and constructed to:
      • minimize impacts on sensitive habitats and wildlife
      • minimize miles of active road/trail in the Forest to what can be maintained by available financial, professional, and volunteer resources
      • within this limited mileage, provide opportunities for various kinds of low-impact use as well as a designated route for snowmobiles maintained by VAST and another for emergency and permitted wheeled vehicles and horses.
      • minimize erosion and maintenance needs on each kind of designated-use road & trail through appropriate siting, design, and construction
    • Maps, signage, and other standard information for visitors to enhance their safety, appreciation of the forest, and awareness of responsible visitation guidelines.

  • To encourage the Town to adopt a financial model for the recreational management plan based on income from grants, donations, sale of carbon credits for storage and sequestration, and (per requirements of the carbon contracts and needs for trail construction and habitat improvement only), harvest and sale of high-value construction-grade timber in which carbon storage will be retained (as opposed to pulp wood or firewood, where it is generally lost).

  • To assist the Town, if invited, in raising funds and recruiting volunteers to construct and maintain the recreational trail system.

  • To encourage the Town to welcome use of the Forest for educational programs and environmental research.