NEMBA News 2005
Valley NEMBA at Work in Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro SF
NEMBA’s Fall Fiesta
NEMBA Wants to Help Big River
NEMBA Donates Tools to Groton Trails Committee
Finale Festival Raises $6600+ for Hurricane Katrina Victims
Welcomes a New Chapter: Central NH NEMBA
Crew Goes Big in CT
Celebrates National Trails Day with 12 Trail Care Events
Bicycles Sells NEMBA & MassBike Memberships
Successful Blue Hills Mountain Bike Day
Corps of Engineers Hosts New England Trail Builders School
Unveils Plaque Commemorating Historic Land Purchase
Returns to Sponsor Trail Care Series in Mass, RI and Maine
Coot Wins Tomac!
NEMBA Awarded DEM Grant
Valley NEMBA Awarded Trail Grant
Westminster Midstate Trail
NEMBA to Build New Trails at Millers Pond State Park
& IMBA Donate Tool Kits to NEMBA Chapters
Awarded $11K Recreational Trails Program Grant
of Dreams: Mountain Biking Returns to Wendell State Forest
Thanks Our 2004 Trail Heroes
Preserve Connecticut’s Saltonstall Mountain
Valley NEMBA at Work in Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro SF
If a tree falls in the Dracut state
forest and there are no mountain bikers around, does it still
make a sound?
That question comes to mind as I look back at how far the Department
of Conservation and Recreation's Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State
Forest has come in the last 6 years or so. I remember my early
trips to the forest on my Diamond
Back hard tail. Fire roads, double track and a few poorly designed
singletrack scattered around. (Actually that singletracks was
probably more the result of party goers dragging their kegs
to their favorite hangouts). It was not uncommon in those days
to see stolen cars dumped and stripped along the fire roads.
Piles of construction waste and other debris could be found
dumped anywhere at anytime. Those images unfortunately were
burned into the minds of many users and formed the opinions
that created the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome of the Dracut state
forest. You know the "I can't get no respect" thing.
The Merrimack Valley NEMBA was formed with the idea that we
can do better than this. There are 1100 acres out here to work
with. We came up with an aggressive outline that would see us
reworking, rerouting, redesigning, and yes at times eliminating
whole sections of trails in the forest. We would create new
trail sections that would tie in and connect our favorite singletrack
together to give us longer flowing trails. We would go into
previously inaccessible areas of the forest, and working with
a clean slate, we would develop new sustainable singletrack
using the latest standards of trail building.
That's the path we started on over 6 years ago. And today I'm
happy to say that we are still on that path but have put many
miles of new singletrack behind us along the way. In the last
3 years we have added over five miles of new singletrack, seven
boardwalks and thousands of hours of labor. Our NEMBA chapter
coordinates and directs a local friends of the forest group
with eight trail clean up days a year not to mention our own
four to six scheduled trail maintenance days. The friends group
is primarily involved with light duty trash pick up. We save
the more physical trail building duties for the NEMBA members.
The combination of hours put in by both groups have tipped the
scales in our favor. Users of all kinds are constantly in awe
of the turnaround of this forest. It really is amazing.
All NEMBA chapters seem to go through the highs and lows, the
ebb and flows of sustaining a local chapter. Members move away
or get burned out. Job and family responsibilities tug at our
free time. We have also experienced a bit of that along the
way. A few years back the state relocated our land manager and
we were without representation at the Department of Conservation
and Recreation (DCR). Our chapter was just spinning our tires
for a while. That changed when Ray Faucher, the land manager
at Great Brook farm, was now assigned the duty of overseeing
the Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro state forest. It's been a great
relationship. Ray is trail smart and mountain bike friendly.
We also had an infusion of new blood and energy with NEMBA members
like Bob Giunta, Kirk Goldsworthy and James Vogh. Their hard
work and attention to detail can be seen in the rock armoring,
rolling grade dips, bench cutting, and drainage work on our
Looking ahead to 2006 we plan to continue down the same path.
We would like to continue the work that we started this year
out by Gumpus Road. We just added one and a half miles of new
singletrack out there that can be described as tight and technical,
yet at times, fast and flowy with some advance features for
more technical riders. I think this trail has something for
everyone and that's the idea. As always the support of the DCR
and our members is critical to accomplishing our mission. Retaining
and adding new members will become a priority. So getting back
to my original question. If a tree falls in the Dracut state
forest does it still make a sound? Yes it does, but I think
you'll be having so much fun on our trails you won't even notice.
By the time you read
this, CT NEMBA's annual Fall Fiesta has come and gone. This
year's fiesta was located at Huntington State Park in Redding,
CT. Who could have asked for a better day! The sun was out and
the trails were dry! We had plenty of food and lots of fun things
to do. First off I need to apologize for the directions coming
from the Merit, those were direct from DEP. But, for those of
you who figured it out and still showed up, thanks and I am
sure it was worth it!
As for the day, well we had a great game of trail poker with
a good number of winners. Big thanks to North Haven Bike for
donating a set of Trailrat Lights, a helmet and some other great
items! Also thank you to the Danbury EMS, unfortunately they
had the wrong date and did not make it but they were nice enough
to send me a hydration pack which I am sure we will find a way
to hand out! So please next time you are in the Danbury or North
Haven area swing by these shops and say hello and thank them
for supporting CT NEMBA!
On to the important stuff… the riding! Well I heard nothing
but rave reviews of the trails at Huntington, particularly the
new trail. Congratulations go out to Paula Burton and her crews
for getting things ready there. And other thanks to them for
getting the trails marked and removing the markers afterwards!
Through out the day we had some nice home made stunts courtesy
of Dave and Kathy Herd. Those are right out of their backyard
and they were kind enough to bring them for us to play on. I've
been trying to get them to let us have the Fiesta at their house
but they just won't budge.
Also thanks to O'Neil's in Bethel for supplying the food. Go
check them out, certainly a great place to go after you finish
riding in Huntington. Well the riding and food was so good we
decided to go back there the following week.
Oh and of course we had our general meeting. Well all-in-all
it was a great year for CT NEMBA. Keep those rides coming and
hopefully we will see you on the trails! --Mike Dews
RI NEMBA Wants
to Help Big River
In September, RI NEMBA members, Peter Gengler and Leo Corrigan,
met with Juan Mariscal, the new director of the Water Resources
Board, Juan Mariscal, and the land manager for the Big River,
Elaine Maguire, to discuss ways that NEMBA can undertake volunteer
partnerships at Big River.
As the second largest state property where mountain bikers enjoy
riding, Big River is key to the future of riding in the Ocean
State. It also has an outdated use policy which restricts mountain
bicycling to the area's doubletrack.
Joined by NEMBA's Philip Keyes, we talked about future possible
volunteer projects, such as trail maintenance, trail design,
bridge building, signage, and the possibility of creating a
bicycle patrol that could help monitor illegal dumping and user
safety. Since Big River is a watershed that needs to insure
water quality for future generations, we would like to propose
a partnership similar to what the Friends of the Massabesic
Mountain Bicycling Association have created outside of Manchester,
NH, also a public water utility.
A subcommittee has been established and we will submit a draft
proposal to the Water Resources Board with the hope of establishing
a more mutually constructive relationship. We hope to offer
a two year trail agreement whereby we offer some services in
exchange for use of the off road trails in the management area.
If you are interested in getting involved in this issue please
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org —Peter Gengler
NEMBA Donates Tools to Groton Trails Committee
On October 18th, 2005,
during their monthly meeting at town hall, the Groton Trails
Committee (GTC) received a donation of trail tools by the Wachusett
Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association. "The
Groton Trails Committee and mountain bikers have been working
together for a long time sharing volunteers and resources,"
says Wachusett NEMBA President, Jim Wrightson. "Both groups
are out in the woods together working on the trails that we
enjoy so much."
"We are very grateful for this generous donation from the
mountain bike community. It's an excellent example of how trail
users and trail maintainers work together building and sustaining
the infrastructure," says Trails Committee Chairman Joachim
Preiss. "As a town committee without a budget, we're mostly
using our members' tools; but Pulaskis and Mcleods are not among
the typical yard implements." No doubt these new tools
will come in handy as Pulaskis are used to remove stumps, roots
and rocks, and Mcleods are used to open the soil, and establish
a sloped surface for the water to run off. Preiss concludes,
"This donation will allow us build better trails in less
The Groton Trails Committee was established in 1998 as a town
committee with 9 appointed members and is responsible for many
miles of trails on public and some private lands. The members
are meeting most Saturdays during the summer to work on different
trail building and maintenance jobs throughout town.
Click picture to enlarge: (left to right) Vice Chair
Paul Funch, Secretary Ed McNierney, Vic Burton, Wachusett NEMBA
President Jim Wrightson, Chairman Joachim Preiss, Chris Shaffer,
Wendy Good, missing: Bruce Easom and Steve Legge. --Joachim
Preiss, Chairman, Groton Trails Committee
Finale Festival Raises $6600+ for Hurricane Katrina Victims
Despite high gas prices
and the threat of another hurricane, 400 riders made their way
to Cape Cod to celebrate the finale of the Harpoon-Topeak Mountain
Bike Adventure Series, code-named NEMBAFest, raising $6652.45
for the American Red Cross.
Many camped out the night before, filling the campground at
Sandwich’s Camp Lyndon and enjoying enjoying plenty of
food and a couple of kegs of fresh IPA and Octoberfest, donated
by Harpoon Brewery.
On the day of the fest, scores of industry tents offered great
end-of-season deals, the riding was excellent and Justbill’s
technical skills set up was a great hit.
The NEMBAfest is usually a fundraiser for our organization.
However, because of the national calamity caused by Hurricane
Katrina, with some of the victims staying nearby at Otis Air
Force base, NEMBA decided that donating the proceeds to the
American Red Cross was much more important.
"Our hearts go
out to all the victims and the families devastated by Katrina,"
says NEMBA's executive director, Philip Keyes, “and it’s
nice to see mountain bikers from around New England come show
support and have a great day riding."
Neal Todrys, owner of Topeak Cycling Accessories (Foxboro, MA)
commented that "Topeak is pleased to be involved with an
organization like NEMBA because of its ability provide great
riding opportunities for cycling enthusiasts throughout the
region, and its ability to raise money for good causes."
Individual riders who gathered more than $200 in pledges were
entered to win a custom cruiser bicycle donated by NEMBA member,
William Noonan. The lucky winner was Sharon Lamb, of Billerica,
out the event pictures.
a New Chapter: Central NH NEMBA
NEMBA Board of Directors has unanimously approved the charter
for a new NEMBA chapter in central New Hampshire. Glenn Kirby,
the founder of Central NH NEMBA, is focusing his chapter’s
efforts on working with the US Army Corps of Engineers on developing
a singletrack trail system in Elm Brook, located in Hopkinton,
NH off of Route 89.
The chapter is hitting the ground running and has already held
it’s first trail school in conjunction with the International
Mountain Bicycling Association and has already designed and
built new singletrack on the Elm Brook property. Here's
what IMBA had to say about the event!
Another early focus will be in Fox State Forest (Hillsborough
NH) and a NEMBA liason has already been appointed to develop
partnership opportunities in this management area. Glenn believes
that there is significant interest throughout the Sunapee Lakes
region to build upon the existing ridership and partner with
local bike shops and land managers.
According to Glenn, “the Central NH chapter is looking
forward to many successes and some fun times riding.”
If you are interested in getting involved with Central NH NEMBA,
email Glenn Kirby or call
Goes Big in CT
Jill and Chris, the IMBA Trail Care Crew, visited Fairfield
County, to help NEMBA begin work on a new trail at Collis P.
Huntington State Park in Redding. The visit was organized by
Paula Burton and Tom Carruthers.
During the busy visit, May 11-15, Chris and Jill addressed 65
people at an Appalachian Mountain Club group at a regularly
scheduled meeting in Westport, worked on trail design for a
day, gave a workshop to 14 land managers at Tarrywile Park in
Danbury, and presented a two day trail building seminar to 25
people at Huntington State Park. Many organizations and park
managers were represented at the various events including Appalachian
Mountain Club, Friends of Tarrywile Park, Hat City Cyclists,
Hop Brook Army Corps of Engineers, Charles Ives Trail, Kelda
Property, Connecticut Forests and Parks, and Putnam Park. The
municipalities of Danbury, Weston, Newtown, and Stamford all
sent employees to learn more about trails.
Approximately 1000 ft of trail was benched and hardened, and
three water crosses, two rock and one wood were built. Eastern
Mountain Sports contributed $500 to the event and gave out water
bottles and discount coupons to participants. After the event
was over, Hat City Cyclists donated $1000 to NEMBA for trail
materials to help build much needed bog bridges on the new trail
at Huntington. Thanks to all the attendees, and Chris and Jill
for making this event an overwhelming success! — Paula
National Trails Day with 12 Trail Care Events
NEMBA held a record
twelve events to celebrate the American Hiking Society’s
National Trails Day on June 4th, with hundreds of volunteers
getting down and dirty to build new trails and care for old
Berkshire NEMBA — Beartown SF
CT NEMBA — Tarrywile SF
CT NEMBA — Huntington SP
CT NEMBA — Risley Memorial Park
Greater Boston NEMBA — Great Brook Farm SP
Greater Boston NEMBA —- Middlesex Fells (with Boston Hikes)
Merrimack Valley NEMBA — Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro SF
North Shore NEMBA — Bradley Palmer SF
Pioneer Valley NEMBA — Wendell SF
Seacoast NEMBA — Salem Town Forest
South Central NH NEMBA — Yudicky Farm
White Mountains NEMBA — Town of Conway Common Lands
While some projects focused on maintenance, others were quite
ambitious. At Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle MA, for
example, the crew partnered with REI, Inc to construct a 120’
boardwalk through a dense swamp to create nearly one mile of
new singletrack trail. In North Conway, NH, the group rock armoured
perennially wet sections of trail. At Wendell State Forest and
Lowell-Dracut State Forest, new trail was fined tuned, and in
town forest in Salem NH, volunteers raised the treadway to prevent
mud pits and erosion. Check
out photos of many of the NTD events.
Sells NEMBA & MassBike Memberships
When NEMBA and MassBike's executive directors took part in Landry's
employee training program this spring, neither knew the extent
to which Landry's wanted to incorporate advocacy into their
business mission. Company heads worked with the organizations
to set up a pilot program that would allow employees for each
of Landry's four stores to sell MassBike and NEMBA membership
directly to their customers.
To kick start the program, company officials set up a bit of
friendly competition between the four stores to see which one
could sell the most memberships from April to May. While Landry's
Westboro store won top honors, all of the stores actively marketed
the advocacy organizations and sold a total of 77 memberships,
collecting more that $2,000 for the organization. 44% of the
membership were sold by Landry's John D'Ambruoso. Thanks, John!
Setting up the pilot program was relatively easy, yet it does
require the shops to create a cash register SKU for the membership
transaction, and to gather the names and mailing address of
the new members. These are databased by Landry's corporate office
and submitted bi-weekly to both NEMBA and MassBike. Landry's
mails the membership check monthly as part of their routine
Landry's has always been committed to bicycle advocacy. Tom
Henry, one of the Landry's owners, is a past president of MassBike
and is very active nationally. Since Landry's has four Massachusetts
stores in Westboro, Danvers, Natick and Norwood, the pilot project
is primarily serving the Blackstone Valley, North Shore and
SE Mass NEMBA chapters.
In addition, Landry’s has become a $1000 NEMBA dealership,
and its website, www.landrys.com features NEMBA and MassBike
on its homepage.
If all goes well —and it appears to be excellent thus
far — NEMBA hopes to model this program across New England
as a way of increasing NEMBA's partnerships with local bike
If your local bicycle dealer is interested in selling NEMBA
membership, have them contact Philip Keyes at 800-57-NEMBA.
Blue Hills Mountain Bike Day
The MTB Gods were definitely smiling down on Blue Hills Mountain
Bike Day again this year. It rained for weeks before the event
and weeks after, but the sun shone for a good part of the day,
defying the weather forecasters and lifting the spirits of hundreds
of riders who showed up for the festivities. Along with a welcome
break from the Spring rains, a bunch of new sponsors in 2005
added some great new energy to the mix. Riders could sample
the wares of many area dealers along with local clubs and advocacy
groups. Guided rides, contests and fun were the order of the
day for riders of all ages and abilities.
Demo bikes were in huge supply with offerings from both local
dealers as well as the big guns from Trek, Cannondale and Rocky
Mountain. Our friends at Wheelworks, Dedham Bike and Cycle Loft
made the connections and the trailers rolled in with the largest
assortment of demo bikes ever seen at a Blue Hills event.
SEMASS NEMBA under the fantastic leadership of Rich Higgins
has done a superb job of working with the DCR Blue Hills staff
to create one of the most exciting family mountain biking events
in New England. DCR Ranger Maggi Brown, her dedicated staff,
and volunteers from TrailWatch are immensely proud of the strong
working relationship that exists with the mountain biking community
in the Blue Hills. This bike festival is a yearly showcase of
all that can be accomplished when land managers and mountain
bikers work together toward common goals of rider education
and cooperative trail use. —Joe Sloane
of Engineers Hosts New England Trail Builders School
Oxford MA, May 21-22:
Mountain bikers and trail builders from every state in New England
descended upon the Army Corps of Engineer's Hodges Village Dam
in Oxford, Massachusetts for an intensive work hard / play hard
weekend course on trail building and maintenance. Joining in
the instruction were recent Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, Kurt
Loheit, from southern California, the IMBA/Subaru Trail Care
Crew from Portland, Oregon, Jill Van Winkle and Chris Bernhard,
and NEMBA's trail experts, Tom Grimble, Paul Peaslee and Mike
Hodges Village Dam was the good "laboratory" for applying
the latest science of trail design and maintenance because it
is multi-use facility enjoyed extensively by motorcyclists,
equestrians, trail runners, hikers and cyclists. While almost
all the trails need rehabilitation, the New England Trail Builders
School focused on three sites so that we could teach the critical
aspects of trail design and maintenance. The Army Corps facility
was also chosen because of NEMBA's
in a USACE conference where we outlined the type of partnerships
we offered to land management agencies. The Corps was a gracious
host, and Park Ranger Jamie Kordack, Timothy Russell and her
staff went beyond the call of duty to make everyone feel welcome
and at home.
Beyond an exceptional classroom presentation by IMBA's Trail
Care Crew, trail builders chose one of three clinics each day
to focus on the different construction techniques, such as building
Technical Trail Features out of rock and constructing a boardwalk
through an environmentally sensitive wetland. During the course
of the weekend, participants also designed and built a quarter-mile
trail along a steep esker embankment that required extensive
benchcutting and rock cribbing in order to bypass one of the
worst cases of fall line trail in the park. While a quarter-mile
may not sound like much, it took about 25 people two days to
bring the project to near completion.
"The New England Mountain Bike Association is at the forefront
of trail building," said NEMBA's executive director, Philip
Keyes, "and this training will give rise to better trails
being created throughout the region. This is good for everyone,
trail users and land management agencies alike."
Despite the hard work, the energy level was high and there was
much riding and carousing by the campfire in the evenings, courtesy
of Harpoon Brewery. All the attendees, including the land manager
of Mount Agamenticus, left the course with enthusiasm to return
to their local areas and apply their trail knowledge to better
their local parks.
The school was funded by the Department of Conservation and
Recreation's Recreational Trail Program Grant, and we are especially
grateful to the Army Corps of Engineers and the International
Mountain Bicycling Association for making the event successful.
for event pictures
Plaque Commemorating Historic Land Purchase
April 30. Milford
MA: The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) unveiled
the bronze plaque to commemorate the organization's purchase
and preservation of the Vietnam trails in Milford, Massachusetts.
NEMBA is the first mountain bike group to purchase, own and
manage its own property. Forty of the 57 major donors listed
on the plaque were in attendance to celebrate NEMBA's success
and to ride the property.
Kona Bicycles, the largest bicycle industry donor, sent freerider
Dave Watson as their representative and ride leader. Also in
attendance from the bicycle industry were representatives from
Wheelworks, Landry's Bicycles, Milford Bicycles, Seven Cycles,
Bustedspoke.com, REI and the International Mountain Bike Association.
"This was a proud and emotional event for me," said
NEMBA executive director, Philip Keyes. "This property
and plaque will forever stand as testimony to mountain bikers'
dedication to the future of trails and open space. It shows
that mountain bikers can positively impact both the sport and
the planet for future generations."
NEMBA purchased the 47 acres on October 23, 2003 after more
than a year of fundraising that grew from the grassroots to
become a national campaign, with 549 donations coming from 23
states. The donors listed on the plaque gave a $1000 or more,
with some individuals contributing $15,000 toward the purchase.
Since the mountain bike ceremony, everyone rode to the site
of the plaque, located deep in the forest, and enjoyed the technical
antics of Kona's Dave Watson during a tour of NEMBA's property.
The ride featured a new trail NEMBA created last fall to rave
This summer NEMBA is working with local freeriders and expert
trail builders to build a highly technical trail on the property.
of Mike Tabaczynski
to Sponsor Trail Care Series in Mass, RI and Maine
Merlin began sponsoring NEMBA’s trail maintenance in 1996,
making it the oldest title-sponsored mountain bike trail care
series in the country. Now they have returned as the sponsor
of the 2005 Merlin / NEMBA Trail Care Series, donating a beautifully
crafted titanium Oreas frame. To win this handcrafted beauty,
all you need to do is volunteer in any of the Merlin / NEMBA
Trail Care events. See nemba.org for locations and dates, and
come out and save the trails!
Old Coot Wins
2004 Tomac / NEMBA Trail Care Series was one of NEMBA’s
largest series ever. More than 500 volunteers participated in
55 trail care events in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine,
resulting in thousands of hours of volunteerism to improve New
However, there can only be one winner, and this year it was
Bill Boles, one of the original founders of NEMBA and Dirt Rag’s
Old Coot! The timing for Bill was more than perfect since he
was already looking for a new steed. Sounding more like a kid
than a coot, Bill commented, “maintaining trails is something
I enjoy doing. But riding them is what it's all about. And this
year I'll be riding them on a brand new bright red Tomac Revolver.
I can't believe I won. Many thanks to Tomac Bicycles for making
the upcoming season of riding my best one ever.”
RI NEMBA Awarded
Rhode Island NEMBA received a $900 grant from Rhode Island's
Department of Environmental Management for a project completed
last summer. The Trails Advisory Committee awarded the grant
last year, and after completing the required project we were
recently able to receive the $900.
The grant money was earmarked to redo a bridge on Sand Hill
Trail in Arcadia. Mike Shea designed the bridge with input from
Arcadia's land manager, Jay Aron. This 72-foot boardwalk/bridge
required about 52 hours of work from 17 RI-NEMBA members as
well as some help from a DEM worker, Jeff, and a mule that was
also purchased using Rhode Island's small grant program.
The trails of Rhode Island have seen many improvements using
the DEM's small grant program and RI NEMBA is grateful for the
opportunity to benefit from this program. —Tina Hopkins
Valley NEMBA Awarded Trail Grant
Over the last couple of years Merrimack Valley NEMBA has made
great strides in improving the trail system and feel of the
Lowell-Dracut State Forest, adding new trails and generally
cleaning up this somewhat forgotten park with the help of the
ranger, Ray Faucher. To make it easier for users (as well as
police and first-responders) to navigate the park, NEMBA has
awarded the chapter a $500 grant to purchase vandal-proof signage
that will provide location information. This is especially important
for this park because it is situated in three cities and has
a confusing and haphazard trail system. According to Ranger
Faucher, the signage will "encourage new users to the forest
who previously were uncomfortable walking the trails due to
the confusing nature of their trail design and layout."
mountain bikers are familiar with the Midstate Trail, the historic
long-distance trail that bisects the state in central Massachusetts.
The section north of Mt. Wachusett, traversing the Crow Hill
Cliffs in Leominster State Forest and heading up to Mt. Watatic
is especially popular for cyclists looking for a long, gnarly
adventure. However, only four miles of the Midstate in Westminster
are on permanently protected conservation land, and the remaining
8 miles of trail are on private land. The North County Land
Trust has identified 28 large parcels of private land that are
in danger of development, and the trust is now engaged in a
fundraising project to secure conservation restrictions to protect
The Midstate Trail Project is in need of donations for land
appraisals and surveys, to prepare grant applications from major
funding sources. Donations should be sent to:
North County Land Trust, Inc.
Westminster Midstate Trail Fund
PO Box 2052
Fitchburg, MA 01420
For more information, please contact Janet Morrison, Director
of Land Protections for the North
County Land Trust.
CT NEMBA to
Build New Trails at Millers Pond State Park
The State of Connecticut DEP recently approved the construction
of approximately five miles of new trail at Millers Pond State
Park. The trail will be completed in phases, with the first
mile to be cleared this spring. According to State Park Supervisor
Alex Sokolow, the new trail will "enhance the trail system
currently in place, providing access to the outer reaches of
the park, and encourage year-round use of the park."
Millers Pond State Park is located on the Durham Haddam line,
with parking available off Foot Hills Road in Haddam. Portions
of Cockaponset State Forest abut the park, and will be incorporated
into the trail system.
Connecticut NEMBA, in cooperation with the DEP, will be holding
two trail maintenance days this spring to begin the first phase
of the new trail. Volunteers are invited to come and participate
in the trail clearing. Once complete, the trail will be open
to hiking and mountain biking, and will connect many of the
park's rocky outcroppings. —Alex Sokolow
IMBA Donate Tool Kits to NEMBA Chapters
Building and taking care of trails will be easier for ten NEMBA
chapters this year thanks to REI's donation of a Trail Stewardship
Kit. Each kit, valued at over $500, includes a McLeod, Pulaski,
Clinometer, work gloves, T-shirts, IMBA yield the trail signs,
responsible riding tips brochures and IMBA's excellent Singletrack
Solutions book. The chapters that received the donation are
Blackstone Valley, Cape Cod, Merrimack Valley, North Shore,
Maine, Mt. Agamenticus, Pioneer Valley, Rhode Island, Seacoast,
and South Central. Thanks, REI and IMBA!
$11K Recreational Trails Program Grant
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has
awarded NEMBA $11,865 for five trail projects for the upcoming
season. At the Middlesex Fells, Greater Boston NEMBA plans to
restore both the singletrack and fire road sections of the Middlesex
Fells Mountain Bike Loop and construct two boardwalks. At Great
Brook Farm State Park, they plan to finish construction of a
new singletrack trail that passes through Toffet Swamp, with
the construction of a 150' boardwalk through the swamp. Construction
of the trail has already begun and the corridor through the
swamp has already been cleared as preparation for the lengthy
Southeast Massachusetts NEMBA was awarded the grant funding
to install four boardwalks at Borderland State Park on the popular
Pond Walk, Northwest and West Side Trails in order to protect
the numerous streams which bissect the trails. Southeast Mass
NEMBA will also construct a 230' boardwalk at Wompatuck State
Park in a severely degraded section of muddy trail that has
been getting wider every season as people attempt to stay out
of the mud.
Lastly, NEMBA's Recreational Trails Grant will help defray the
costs of NEMBA's New England Trail Builders School. This year's
trail school will be hosted by the US Army Corps of Engineers
at Hodges Village Dam in Oxford, Massachusetts on May 21-22,
and be sponsored by the Corp, the Department of Conservation
and Recreation, NEMBA, and the International Mountain Bike Association.
To register for the weekend course, please go to www.nemba.org.
According to NEMBA's Philip Keyes, "We're grateful for
the DCR's support of our Tomac Trail Care Series, and allowing
us the wherewithall to apply and build upon our trail expertise
to the benefit of everyone who enjoys trails."
Trail of Dreams:
Mountain Biking Returns to Wendell State Forest
Way up in the Northeastern
corner of Franklin County (that'd be the northernmost county
of the Pioneer Valley for the rest of you New Englanders), sits
the very large (by Massachusetts standards) Wendell State Forest.
At nearly 8500 acres of high, rolling terrain, Wendell has long
cried out for some quality non-motorized singletrack development.
I had heard rumors that the land manager up in Wendell was eager
to see some new trail construction—specifically, if you
can believe this, mountain bike trails!. So, on a soggy morning
in November, I drove up to Wendell and met with Ranger Brian
Stewart. After introducing myself and making my NEMBA pitch,
he grew very excited and began searching through some old files
and soon produced a stack of old yellowed photographs of NORBA
National races held at Wendell in the mid to late 1980's. Ross
Bicycles and Swatch Watch were the sponsors—that's how
far back we're talking!
I could hardly believe it. There were shots of young John Tomac
and never-young Ned Overend racing side-by-side racing on Wendell
singletrack. There were great shots of Hans "No Way"
Rey hopping over nervous volunteers in a trial demonstration,
and Cindy Whitehead astride the podium. What Brian showed me
was a regular photo-history of the classic era of mountain bike
racing-all of which happened right here in Wendell.
Brimming with enthusiasm, Brian told me the first project he
was interested in was the resuscitation of the long-abandoned
mountain bike race course; in particular, a 1.2-mile stretch
of singletrack along Wickett's Pond Road. I told him we'd be
happy to help out in any way we can.
So, over the course of two, cold rainy Saturdays in early December,
a group of 11 volunteers revived (and often re-routed) the long-lost
singletrack You could almost see the ghosts of past mountain
bike luminaries watching us work. A lot of this was straightforward
clearing and cleaning, but another chunk of labor involved doggedly
cutting through long stretches of dense laurel, which has become
endemic to much of forest. Though this is a rather unrewarding,
slow-moving and unpleasant task, the volunteers proved to be
indefatigable in their efforts and by the end of the second
Saturday we had forged a fine 1.4-mile singletrack trail.
Ranger Brian Stewart took a much appreciated leadership role
in helping to mark the trail and providing some quality hands
on labor assistance—he's a whiz with the chainsaw. Brian
himself has spearheaded the creation of some truly wonderful
multi-use trails in the park, the newest and nicest being the
trail around Wickett's Pond. He was pleased enough with our
efforts to let us mark out and create another trail that branches
off the first one and runs to the top of Baker Rd.
So with visions of new singletrack dancing in our heads, we
went out on another cold January Saturday with another crew
of 11 volunteers to create a completely new trail in Wendell,
roughly one mile in length. Once again, we were immersed in
dense laurel, however, once through the laurel we were able
to fashion a great switchback climb up through a rocky birch
and beech forest, and then wind the trail through the woods
and out to Baker Road.
Again, Ranger Brian Stewart was happy enough with our efforts
to allow us to begin marking out a much larger singletrack that
will run past many of the outstanding natural features on the
west side of Wendell State Forest. We've already marked out
some of the future trail, with more to follow in the coming
months. In the Early Spring, we'll have larger volunteer days
to begin building what we up here in Franklin County hope will
evolve into a premier riding area in New England. --Liam O’Brien
Our 2004 Trail Heroes
The NEMBA Trail Hero
Program is designed to acknowledge and reward exceptional volunteerism
by NEMBA members. Without the involvement of members who make
substantial time commitments, NEMBA would not be able to achieve
our current level of success. NEMBA's Trail Hero Award recognizes
and acknowledges these exceptional volunteers on a yearly basis.
Trail Hero Award recipients are invited to participate in the
Broform purchase program that allows registered members to purchase
products at discounted prices. The following NEMBA members were
nominated by the officers of their local chapters
Blackstone Valley NEMBA
Cape Cod NEMBA
Mt. Agamenticus NEMBA
North Shore NEMBA
Pioneer Valley NEMBA
Rhode Island NEMBA
White Mountains NEMBA
Connecticut’s Saltonstall Mountain
CT NEMBA is urging mountain bikers around New England to help
protect Branford's Supply Ponds/Pisgah Brook Trails by making
a donation to the Branford Land Trust.
Branford's Supply Ponds/Pisgah Brook trails are well known to
many Connecticut mountain bikers. Trails on over 600 acres of
Town-owned preserves draw riders from throughout the Greater
New Haven area and beyond because of the widely varied terrain.
It's a great place for all levels of riders. However, many of
the trails in the area cross privately owned land, making them
vulnerable to development.
The Branford Land Trust has pledged to raise $100,000 toward
the purchase in exchange for a conservation easement on the
93 acres that lie in Branford. The easement insures that future
Town governments won't be able to put the land to other uses,
guaranteeing that the land will remain undeveloped and available
for recreational use forever. This effort is being supported
by a grant from the Foote Family Trust that will match contributions
to the Branford Land Trust.
Please help keep these trails available for our use. Contributions
can be sent to: Branford Land Trust, PO Box 254, Branford, CT
06405. Please make checks payable to Branford Land Trust and
note "Saltonstall Mt." on your check. Remember that
every dollar you donate will be matched by the Foote Family
Trust and is tax deductible. Thank you for your help. —
R Scott Borrus