Central MA

BVNEMBA Chapter Meeting

Date

5/9/15 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Items to be discussed:
Additional VP/Park POC volunteers - Matt Chandler for Hodges, Mike Tonry for Plummers/Goat Hill and Douglas SF, Laura Zimmer for Whitehall and Upton SF, Mike Cove and Bill Dakai for West Hill Dam, Bill Dakai for Mendon Town Forest.
Annual election of officers - 
Incumbents: Eammon C. President, John G. V. President, Rich K. Treasurer, Anne S. Secretary.
New Candidates: ?
Mendon Town Forest trail care agreement
MBAS Ride at Mendon Town Forest (Southwick Zoo Trails) next year?
Trail building at West Hill Dam - Bill Dakai, Mike Cove
Weekly rides, Tue beginner rides, Thu intermediate rides other volunteers to lead a ride?
Read more about BVNEMBA Chapter Meeting

Location

KBC Brewery, 9 Frederick St, Webster, MA

Chapter

Blackstone Valley

Event Leader

Eammon Carleton
eammon@gmail.com

Ware River Watershed public info meeting

Date

1/14/15 7:00pm

If you've ever used or hope to use the vast trail network in the 25,000 acre Ware River Watershed in Rutland, Oakham, Barre, and Hubbardston, MA for any non-motorized recreation, the recent issues and trail closures there affect you. The purpose of this meeting is to share information and bring everyone up to speed on the Watershed regulations, boundaries, authorized/unauthorized trails, recent trail closures, enforcement, etc. We'll answer all questions, clear up any rumors, and discuss partnership as a way forward.

The date is set and the venue is secured for the January meeting that we polled people for. We've closed the poll and are announcing the date as Wed Jan 14. We booked the large room in the downstairs of the Rutland Town Library, 280 Main St, Rutland, MA. The library is in the center of town, on Rte 122A, just to the left as you face the two churches. Enter in the lower rear library door. The meeting will start at 7pm but we've got the room starting at 6:30pm so feel free to come earlier so we can start on time. Please spread the word of this, would like to reach as many as possible. Thanks!

With that, we will begin spreading the word and your help is welcomed and needed to do this. To be sure, we are working to help solve the issues the DCR is facing in the watershed while at the same time balancing access for non-motorized trail users. We want more than anything to create a win-win arrangement and welcome you to join us on this journey.

Thanks for your help and hope to see you there

Location

Rutland Town Library, 280 Main St, Rutland, MA

Chapter

Blackstone Valley Pioneer Valley Wachusett

Event Leader

Brett Russ, VP Coldbrook Springs, Wachusett NEMBA
bruss@alum.wpi.edu

What Up (and Down) in Charlemont

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

If you haven't been riding in Charlemont, MA, next summer is the time to go.  

"The Recreation Capitol of New England" as Charlemont calls itself, is a wonderland of views, maple syrup, flannel shirts, grass fed beef cows, zip lining, rafting, kayaking, down hill skiing, snow tubing, and now, mountain biking.  In this quaint New England town nestled in between two mountain ridges in the Berkshires of Western Mass, the mountain bike scene is exploding as you read this. Three hubs of single-track, Warfield House, Zoar Outdoor, and Berkshire East, provide mountain bikers with a total of 35 miles of single track plus endless dirt and farm roads,  double tracks, and snowmobile trails. The town is bisected by the Deerfield River, Route 2, and a rail road.  A short road ride connects the riding hubs, with Berkshire East on the south side of the valley, and Zoar Outdoor and Warfield House on the north.

Building began in earnest about four or five years ago, when Jonathan , 'Jonny' Schaefer of Berkshire East Ski Resort, Bruce Lessels, owner of Zoar Outdoor (an outdoor adventure, outfitter, rafting and lodging company) and Harold Green, past president of NEMBA, were having a few beers at Warfield House and the idea to bring mountain biking to Charlemont in a big way was hatched.

The latest addition to the scene are down hill, one way, lift accessed trails being built at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Schaefer, manager of Berkshire East, and mountain bike rider says.  " We want to continue enjoyment of the outdoors year round. That's the way my brothers and I were brought up."   A progression of green to difficult black diamond trails are in the works.

Determined to do this the right way, Schaefer consulted with his insurance agent who recommended Gravity Logic, an international gravity trail building and resort-consulting firm based in Whistler BC.  Planning began in 2009, and lift serviced trails are scheduled to be open in 2015.  Jonathan Schaefer sees Berkshire East and the town of Charlemont as a center of activity for the many bicycling disciplines, from road rides, to gravel grinders, mountain bike races and other bicycling events.  Having the lift access trails as well as the numerous cross country trails already in place creates a great venue for enduro races (races which don't time the uphill, only the downhill sections), endurance rides such as the Whole Enchilada Ride, a 30 mile mountain bike ride touring both sides of the valley, and other mountain bike races and events. Berkshire East has the potential to meet the requirements for World Cup mountain biking events, something very few east coast resorts have.

Jon continued," We are committed to being a dynamic year round family destination and resort."  A paid trail crew is in the plan for the future and that crew may be working on the cross country as well as the down hill mountain bike trails.

"The easiest lift access trail is designed and built for first time down hill mountain bikers as young as 7 years old, and will be fun for more experienced and skilled riders as well." explained Gabe Porter -Henry, marketing manager of Berkshire East and another flannel clad employee of Berkshire East.    "High end mountain bikes, guided tours, and lessons will be available also."

Out on the trail following the whirring noise of the chainsaw, Chris Conrad, project manager for the crew from Gravity Logic, was clearing corridor for the 3 ½ mile green trail.  Originally from North Carolina, and an avid mountain biker, he headed to Colorado for his ' soul ride' and while riding found a job at a ski area building trail and eventually went to work for Gravity Logic.   "The first trail to open will be the green trail, wide (4 feet wide), with low grades of 5-7½ %, good sight lines through the turns, and low berm walls. Gravity Logic has guidelines for the trail designations that have been tested through experience.  The powder blue (novice/intermediate) trail will be 2 or 2 ½ miles long, with rollers, and is machine made also.  A true blue trail with tighter turns, bigger and steeper berms is in the plans.  The black diamond trail has a steeper average grade with some fall line on ledge and more technical features such as jumps and drops.  It will be a single track and mostly hand built."

Conrad explained the design process, " We meet with the client, look at topos, identify wet areas or other areas of concern, and for the green trails and machine built trails, access is very important. You want the green trail to start very near the top of the lift."  To cross downhill ski trails, the trail needs to be flat and straight. Out west, berms and other features can be constructed in ski trails due to a higher snow pack.

Further down the green trail, past a beautifully constructed wide berm with grade reversals to manage water and to control the speed of the rider, Kerry, another Gravity Logic employee, was running a full sized excavator across a couple of hundred feet of fractured rock.  A few days ago, the jack hammers crushed a swath of ledge into a manageable pile of rock.   Kerry is from out west, and this is the first time he has experienced the challenges of building trail in the east, but he was very enthusiastic about the opportunity to build here.  As trail builders in the  north east know, rocks are a blessing and curse.  

While the new down hill trails are in progress, building also continues on the cross country network, Charlemont Trail System or CTS.  Two miles of beginner trail, Bear Cub, leave from Berkshire East parking lot. Turns are being polished and new connections are being built so making it possible to stay on single track and avoid double tracks.  Also two blue cross country trails were built in the last year, Farmstead and MST, near the top of the Berkshire East side. Harold Green, a former president of NEMBA, is now leading the work on polishing turns, benching off camber sections, and putting boardwalks on wet areas.  Also with more riders, the trails are becoming smoother and a bit easier to ride. But don't be fooled, these trails will kick the butt of even advanced riders!  For those who enjoy climbing, the trails in the ski area property will be open to ride to the top of the mountain with a pass.

Over the past four years, Harold brought the resources of NEMBA into play.  Under the auspices of NEMBA, CTS has been awarded an RTP grant to build boardwalks on the Rice Brook Trail in the Warfield hub, has sponsored a NEMBA trail school, and provided a tool crib.  The second edition of the CTS map has been published and is available at Zoar Outdoor and Berkshire East.  Information, led rides and event listings are also available on the CTS Facebook page. Harold is, " excited to have more people riding in the community." He is also looking forward to having more events, possibly a weekend festival with races and rides sometime in 2015.

Bruce Lessels, owner of Zoar Outdoor, says, "right now, the trails appeal to a certain type of rider. One who is very fit and doesn't mind rough trails and climbing. However, the new blue and green trails at Berkshire East will appeal to the intermediate riders, and we are looking for more places to put trails that will be good for a wider range of abilities." MIT recently had an intercollegiate mountain biking race with many different events such as short track and double slalom. A number of the racers stayed at the Zoar Outdoor campground. Some of the bike trails lead right from the campground.  "The single tracks at Zoar were originally offshoots of cross country ski trails." Bruce continues, " There was only a trickle of mountain bikers, but it is becoming a steady stream. "

Riding the trails in the Charlemont can be a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  Riders pop out of the forest to see views of farms, the valley below and surrounding hill tops.  Following trails with the names of General Hospital and Get Smart, the rider will find an abandoned TV tower, purchased by the town in 1960's because there was no TV reception in the valley.    Or skip the climb, and park on East Road (a dirt road behind Berkshire East) and ride to check out the 227 ft wind turbine and the 1800 solar panels which provide 100% of the electricity for the ski resort and then some.

This is truly a unique area. The trails are pure New England with a taste of Whistler. Have fun exploring the ups and downs of Charlemont, and don't forget your extra tube, a  snack, and a sense of adventure.  You'll need it!

411:
Berkshire East Mountain Resort
Zoar Outdoor
Charlemont Trail System

By Paula Burton (SingleTracks #137)

Wachusett NEMBA Toys for Tots Ride in Groton, MA

Event Date

12/14/14 8:00am to 12:00pm

Sign up and toy drop starts at 8 and we'll ride at 9:30. Intermediate pace for about 2 hours.

Toys should be unwrapped and suitable for kids up to 16. 


Sorry for the short notice but I wanted to be reasonable sure the weather would cooperate. Tires of all sizes are welcome :)

Location

25 Hoyts Wharf Rd, Groton, MA 01450

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

All Levels

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

David Burnham

Wachusett NEMBA Toys for Tots Ride in Groton, MA

Date

12/18/16 8:00am to 12:00pm

December 18, 2016

Sign up and toy drop starts at 8 and we'll ride at 9:30. Intermediate pace for about 2 hours.

Toys should be unwrapped and suitable for kids up to 16. 

Hopefully the weather will cooperate. But in any case tires of all sizes are welcome, as are snowshoes and skis.    :)

The ride will start HERE!

Location

25 Hoyts Wharf Rd, Groton, MA 01450

Chapter

Merrimack Valley Southern NH Wachusett

Trail

Event Leader

David Burnham
TATTOODAVEJ@yahoo.com

Finding Solutions and Improving Mountain Biking in the Ware Watershed

Friday, October 3, 2014

On September 25th, 2014 Director Jonathan Yeo of the DCR Department of Water Supply Protection and some of his staff met with members of Wachusett Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) and NEMBA staffers, Philip Keyes and Bill Boles, to discuss recreational issues facing the Ware River Watershed.  Also in attendance was Dick O’Brien, chair of the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB). Mr. Yeo expressed serious concerns over the presence of mountain bikes on non-designated trails as well as the creation of additional unauthorized trails.

Currently, the Ware River Watershed is home to many singletrack trails adding up to at least 20 total miles. However, only three of those trails (the Midstate Trail and two trails dedicated to horseback riding) are recognized by the DWSP. For the last 30 years, residents have been mountain biking on this trail network without realizing this activity has always been banned. Bicycling is only allowed on roads and rail trails. Hikers, on the other hand, are permitted to walk anywhere they choose throughout the Ware River Watershed regardless of the presence of a trail.

NEMBA offered to provide solutions to curb unauthorized trail building and riding by working with the agency to create a legitimate and sustainable trail system for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and XC skiing, but this offer was firmly declined by Director Yeo. Instead, the Division says that it plans to dismantle all unauthorized trails and increase enforcement of the bicycle ban. NEMBA feels that the best course of action here would be to recognize bicycles as a valid trail user and work with, rather than against, those aligned with the agency's mission of maintaining the highest possible water quality. The presence or absence of bicycles on trails has not impacted water quality in the past 30 years and, with sustainably designed trails, would not do so in the future either.

NEMBA believes that the DCR DWSP should allow trail based recreational opportunities for all non-motorized recreation. Existing trails should be reviewed for environmental sustainability and passive recreation (which includes mountain biking) should be promoted and pro-actively managed in cooperation with dedicated user/service groups such as NEMBA. The 25,000 acre Watershed is critical habitat for the water supply of 2.5 million ratepayers, primarily in Greater Boston, but it is also an important open space that should offer meaningful public benefit to all tax-payers, and especially for the communities in which the watershed is situated.

Mountain biking and hiking have similar environmental impacts and should be managed together. There are numerous studies attesting to the similarity of physical impact between hiking and biking -- and there are no studies which state that hiking has no impact or that the impacts of mountain biking are dramatically different than hiking. The recreational analysis done by DCR in the Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Middlesex Fells Reservation states that "with respect to these two recreational impacts, these two recreational uses have similar impacts and should be evaluated similarly."

NEMBA believes that providing singletrack opportunities for mountain biking would be beneficial to the local communities who are looking for places to recreate. The current policy unjustly excludes mountain biking on trails as a legitimate activity in the watershed, and the lack of authorized trails for hiking and mountain biking have created a recreational vacuum that is currently being fulfilled by creating unauthorized trails. We feel strongly that by working with NEMBA and our dedicated volunteer base, DWSP can actually improve Ware Watershed water quality further by fixing or closing current unsustainable trails and providing new trails that are properly designed and built away from sensitive areas.

Finally, State Representative Anne Gobi met with NEMBA representatives on October 2, 2014 and offered her full support for NEMBA's efforts. We look forward to working together with our elected officials as we improve the situation we currently face in the Watershed.

NEMBA asks the mountain bike community surrounding the Ware watershed to respect the current regulations and on only ride on trails where bicycling is allowed.

Ware Watershed & Mountain Biking

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Members of Wachusett NEMBA will be meeting with Department of Conservation & Recreation land management for the Ware River watershed to discuss issues relating to mountain biking on this property. Mountain bikers have ridden on the many trails within the Watershed for years without issue nor impact to the drinking water supply. However, the DCR Watershed has decided to enforce a long standing ban on bicycles from all woods trails. Hikers, dog-walkers and equestrians have access to many of the trails but mountain bikers are completely excluded.

NEMBA believes that the DCR Division of Water Supply Protection should change the recreational use policies at the watershed to include mountain biking, as well as other forms of passive, sustainable recreation.

The Ware River Watershed abuts Rutland State Park, a small 200+ acre parkland that allows mountain biking.

BVNEMBA Tuesday Evening Ride

Event Date

Repeats every week every Tuesday until Tue Sep 05 2017 .
4/18/17 6:00pm

The Tuesday night series are advanced novice/intermediate paced, no drop rides.  Locations will vary week to week, but will include places such as Douglas, Northbridge, Millbury, Sutton, Uxbridge and Oxford. Difficulty and pace of rides will depend on location, so please check the description of the ride on Face Book, see the park description onwww.nemba.org/trails/massachusetts, or contact the ride leader. Typically the rides last 1 to 2 hours and cover 6 to 10 miles.

Ride will depend on weather and ride leader availability, so please check the BVNEMBA Facebook page for event updates, or contact the ride leader.

We look forward to seeing you out there and hope you enjoy the rides Read more about BVNEMBA Tuesday Evening Ride

Location

To Be Determined

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

Novice
Advanced-novice
Intermediate

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

Eammon Carleton
508-361-3509

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