In 2003 after completing a $210,000 fundraising effort NEMBA was able to purchase 47 acres of land in Milford, Massachusetts. We bought this land to prevent its development and to protect and preserve a wonderful network of trails that were known locally as “Vietnam”. Our land forms an integral part of a much larger area of conservation land in the towns of Milford, Holliston and Hopkinton.
NEMBA’s purchase of this land marked a first for mountain bike associations in our nation, and in the world.
Our Vietnam property is right in the middle of approximately 1000 acres of protected open space. Vietnam and the surrounding lands are, of course, replete with many miles of trails that are open to non-motorized trail users. NEMBA has been very active, since the purchase of the land, in improving the existing trail network in the entire area, as well as in building and enhancing trails on our own property.
Recently Ajax Gaming Ventures, a Delaware Limited Liability Corporation owned by Donald Trump offered NEMBA a $35,000, one year purchase option, based on a sale price of $1,650,000 to buy Vietnam. Despite the astounding price, NEMBA summarily rejected the purchase offer. Mountain bikers bought this land to preserve it, not to profit from it. Still, it’s amazing to think of just how lucky we were to be there at the right time to make that purchase.
It was quite a gamble. In 2002 NEMBA purchased an option to buy the land from the Liner Trust for $15,000. We had no idea if we could raise the rest of the money, but we couldn’t let the opportunity slip by. Somehow, through donations large and small, donations that in some cases came in from around the country, we beat the option deadline and were able to purchase the land.
After we took ownership NEMBA formed the Vietnam Land Management Steering Committee to oversee and manage the property. Owning conservation land, even if you’re a non-profit organization, is not an easy thing to do. In addition to the obvious issue of trail maintenance and upkeep there are liability issues to consider. That means insurance costs every year. If you're not already a member of NEMBA you should join to, among other things, help us in our efforts to preserve and protect this land.
The riding in Vietnam is legendary for its technical nature. There are some mellow trails both on NEMBA's property and in the surrounding conservation land but most people ride at Vietnam to be challenged both technially and physically. You'll see a lot of "big hit" bikes out on the trails. There are ways around most of the technical features, but you will find yourself paying attention to the trails a lot more than you'll find yourself looking at scenery.
Most people park in the large parking lot behind Wendy's Restaurant a short distance away. If you park there be sure to frequent Wendy's as a way to say "Thank You". There are also some small conservation paarking lots. Check the map.
By Bill Boles