As part of its push to create a lifestyle out of the Bronco, Ford established off-road driving schools and playgrounds for its owners. But Bronco owners in Vermont may have to wait as residents aren’t fond of the idea of off-roading potentially destroying their already rough roads.
Ford is hitting the ground galloping with its Bronco launch. The marque teamed up with Adventure ORX to provide the Bronco Off-Roadeo. It’s one of the ways that the marque is turning the Bronco into not just a product line, but a lifestyle. Owners get to have fun in selected locations while being taught how off-road on a purpose-built course. Then, once the drivers are done learning how to do off-road recoveries and one-pedal driving, they get set loose on the local area to enjoy what it has to offer.
Ford says that wheeling through Vermont is like driving through a postcard of historical America, complete with beautiful towns, passionate people and almost 9,000 miles of dirt roads. The Green Mountain State is breathtaking no matter the time of year and all of those dirt roads present a nice off-roading opportunity.
Ford intended the Vermont Bronco Off-Roadeo to take place at the Suicide Six ski area with the Woodstock Inn and Resort in Pomfret, Vermont. As the event was set to run from May to October, it was right in the ski area’s off-season. This would have allowed drivers to take advantage of the logging roads on the resort property without worrying about the skiers and snow. It would also give the Woodstock Inn a much-needed cash infusion to survive the summer months, Valley News reports.
Once Bronco drivers were done with the two-day driving school on the resort’s loop, they were supposed to branch out and wheel down Vermont’s expansive Class 4 public roads. These roads are so unmaintained that calling them roads may be a bit misleading.
Pomfret’s about 900 residents are passionate about those roads, so much that they aren’t happy with the idea of off-roaders potentially tearing up the Class 4 road network. As Valley News reports, residents spoke out against the Off-Roadeo at a Pomfret Planning Commission meeting last week. Some residents were concerned about the impact of off-roaders on the Class 4 roads, from Valley News:
“A new hub for off-roading will take people far into all the Class 4 roads,” said Cara DeFoor, a South Pomfret resident and who with her husband lives on a 50-acre property abutting Suicide Six. “We can’t even wrap our arms around the cascading effects over time and what that’s going to look like.”
The Woodstock Inn filed an Act 250 application on March 23 with the Vermont Natural Resources Board for approval to turn Suicide Six into the Bronco Off-Roadeo driving school for the summer. Some residents felt that Woodstock Inn should have asked Pomfret first, others feel that bringing off-roaders to the community will hurt wildlife and bring annoying noise.
The concern is understandable. While the Class 4 roads are public roads, the town doesn’t want to deal with off-roaders and any potential shenanigans and damage. Ultimately, Adventure ORX and the Woodstock Inn withdrew the Act 250 application and cancelled the Bronco Off-Roadeo at Suicide Six, reports the Vermont Standard.
Ford still lists Vermont as a location for the Bronco Off-Roadeo. I’ve reached out to Ford to see if it has a secondary location in Vermont in mind or if Vermont will soon be taken off the list. I’ll update if I hear back.
Update 12:49 p.m. ET: Ford provided this response regarding the Bronco Off-Roadeo:
To date, Bronco brand has not confirmed any location yet for its customer off-roading programs in Vermont or any other state. We will provide more about the Bronco Off-Roadeo locations across the United States as each customer experience center prepares to open for outdoor enthusiasts.