Wachusett NEMBA News, June 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ware River Watershed
In short, good discussions with key state officials continue and we are being heard. The concept of the Friends of the Ware River Watershed was presented to the Ware River Watershed Advisory Committee whose members were supportive of the idea as long as the group was comprised of multiple user groups and wasn't used for lobbying for MTB access. However, the DCR-DWSP itself would first need to agree to such a partnership and they have stated that the Friends group are enemies of the watershed because the majority of its members include mountain biking in their list of interests. The whole situation is very unfortunate, but the public should be aware of the high anti-bike and anti-trail enforcement ongoing in the area: hidden trail cameras, state police, environmental police, watershed and perhaps also parks rangers, and lots of signs and blocked trails. Other things are in progress so look forward to more news soon.
 
Treasure Valley
Much is happening over at Treasure Valley Scout Reservation on the subject of trails. The first ever trail building school was taught by The Trustees (of Reservations), Wachusett NEMBA, and Team BUMS MTB Club with sponsorship from Downtown Putnam Cyclery (in Putnam, CT). The full day program exposed attendees to a wide variety of knowledge including concepts and techniques for building sustainable trails, tools and safety, bridging do's and don'ts, and field visits to various trail sites within camp.
 
The trail school was followed a week later with the St. Johns High School annual volunteer day at Treasure Valley. A total of 18 students helped out with trail related projects. 12 of them worked on bench cutting a trail that last year's crew began building and the other 6 worked on brush removal along an abandoned lakeside trail in camp.
 
Also in the works is a brand new map of all the roads and trails within camp. The project involves Quantum GIS, a free software package that is very powerful but also has a steep learning curve. Trails and roads are categorized based on their status, maintenance level, width, and more. Each segment of trail or road between intersections is tracked independently so eventually a user will be able to piece together a route comprised of any chain of segments.
 
Finally, a separate trails effort is underway to mark and cleanup a number of trails within the core area of camp for use during the summer Boy Scout camp program. These trails provide connectivity between camp sites and key destinations within camp and have seen some neglect over the years. It's nice to see so much interest lately in trails within Treasure Valley!
 
Leominster State Forest
Members of Wachusett NEMBA participated in DCR Park Serve Day in LSF on April 30th. We repaired broken boardwalks, cleared fallen trees from the trails, and installed non-slip mesh to the surfaces of the boardwalks in Spooky Forest. It's great to see this kind of collaborative relationship with DCR MassParks.