Ascutney Mountain Resort was the life force of the Town of West Windsor. Since 1946, the small forest community had steadily grown up around the ski hill’s annual influx of skiers and boarders.
So in 2010, when the resort closed—its owners selling off its ski lifts and snow-making equipment and leaving its trails overgrown with brush—the town suddenly faced an uncertain future.
In response, a group of impassioned townspeople, skiers and mountain bikers devised a plan to buy back and infuse new life into Ascutney Mountain—using the Community Forest model as a guide.
The 468-acre Ascutney Mountain Resort property abutted the 1,112 West Windsor Town Forest, which harbors wildlife habitat, local water supplies, productive woodlands and popular cross-country ski and mountain biking trails.
With a lead grant from our Community Forest Fund, the Trust for Public Land helped the town protect the former resort property, adding it to West Windsor Town Forest. The transaction protected a key portion of a 30-mile network of non-motorized trails that has become a four-season recreation destination, providing a boost to the local economy.
Conservation of the property also knits together a 6,640-acre block of conservation land—one of the largest protected forest blocks in the region and an important east-west wildlife linkage.