Central MA

Central MA

Orchard Hill, Amherst

151 Orchard Hill Drive
Amherst  Massachusetts  01003
United States
Look for parking in Lot 49 follow the dirt track to the trails.

Easy

40%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

20%

Description

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst has a very enjoyable trail network.

There are over 10 mikes of trails. Most are fairly mellow but a few will challenge you.

The best description of the trails is on this Trailforks page.

Parking can be an issue during the school day.  Check signage for more information. Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

DAR State Forest, Goshen

78 Cape St
Goshen  Massachusetts  01032
United States

(413) 268-7098

Easy

35%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

25%

Description

The Daughters of the American Revolution State Forest (DAR) offers over 15 miles of trails ranging from easy to quite challnging. Pioneer Valley NEMBA has done a lot of work on these trails to get them into tiptop shape, and those efforts will be readilly apparent.

DAR also has dozens of campgrounds, as well as a very popular beach and picnic areas.

DAR is a really fun place to ride.

Although there are some fairly flat trails, you can expect to do some climbing here.

Few riders are able to explore all of DAR's trails in one visit. So, expect to come back.

You can email the park at dar.forest@state.ma.us . Their telephone number is 413 268-7098 and the DCR website for DAR is HERE! Read more about [node:title]

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Links to Relevant Resources

Central MA

Brooks Woodland Preserve, Petersham

22 East Rd
Petersham  Massachusetts  01366
United States
There are two parking areas on East Rd. The one further to the west is larger.

Easy

25%

Moderate

70%

Difficult

5%

Description

The Trustees of Reservation's Brooks Woodland Preserve and North Common Meadow's 723 acres host over 15 miles of mild to moderate trails. 

It is a very scenic place to ride. One of may favorite trails, the Blue Dot Trail follows a river down hill (or uphill depending on which way you ride it.) It's stunningly beautiful.

If you choose to ride from one of the East Road starting areas I'd suggest doing the northernmost trails before heading into the center of Brooks. Caution, one trail in this area leads to a beswamp where the trail has been submerged. You'll recognize it because there are many downfalls on it and it seems to get little use.

There is a red dot loop to the north, a blue dot loop in the middle and a yellow dot loop to the south. All of these are very ridable though you'll do over 900 feet of climbing if you exlore them all.

In addtion there are many white dot trails bisecting these loops. Generally these are harder, have more climbing, and include a couple of singletracks. This would all be very confusing if you don't bring a copy of the map at the top of this page with you.

Some of the trails lead into neighboring property such as one section of the Harvard Forest which also has many trails.

My guess is that you won't ride here for a technical challenge. But you will ride here for the experience. And you wil return.

Bill Boles

Lovely path along the stream - Picture of Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary,  Petersham - Tripadvisor Hit the Trail Riding - The Trustees of Reservations Brooks Woodland Preserve - The Trustees of Reservations Brooks Woodland Preserve | Sweet singletrack trail at the Br… | Flickr Read more about [node:title]

Links to Relevant Resources

Mountain Bikers Deserve Access to the Ware River Watershed

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mountain Bikers Meet with Senator Gobi, DCR and EEA Leaders to Discuss Access to the Ware River Watershed

On February 16, 2017, Senator Anne Gobi (5th Worcester District) arranged a meeting between NEMBA, a local mountain biker engaged with Ware River Watershed access issue, leadership from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) and Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Legislative Director for Representative Kimberly Ferguson.
 
At the meeting, Wachusett NEMBA Vice President Brett Russ and local rider Wilson Dobson urged the DCR and the EEA to take action to legitimize and allow shared-use passive recreation, including mountain biking, on the existing trails in the Ware River Watershed. Russ and Dobson also urged them to put a halt on the anti-mountain bike propaganda and misinformation being spread by officials in the Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).
 
DCR Commissioner Leo Roy and EEA Assistant Secretary Dan Sieger affirmed that they supported increasing mountain bike access to the watershed. However, Commissioner Roy believes that this must be done through the review process of the next Public Access Plan. He wishes to accelerate the time table for the Public Access Plan so that it begins in the fall of 2017 instead of 2019.
 
Russ and Dobson expressed skepticism that this process would be fair and fact-based. They said that there is evidence that DWSP is already creating new maps of the watershed which dramatically increase the amount of buffer lands where many of the current trails are now located. The maps appear to go well beyond the legally established guidelines defined in the Watershed Protection Act and appear to be falsely fabricated with invented tributaries, impossible water connections, and arbitrary “protection zones”.  Russ and Dobson expressed concern that the DWSP was already engaged in planning the Public Access Plan in order to pre-determine the outcome of the process and re-affirm the ban on mountain biking and trails.
 
Senator Gobi urged DCR to start the public process in the spring or early summer instead of waiting until the fall. Commissioner Roy said that he would look into the details about how the public planning process will work, so that it can be fair, rational and based on fact and not prejudice.
 
Russ and Dobson commented that there are many in the larger mountain bike community who have lost patience about the lack of action to provide equitable access to the watershed.
 
Commissioner Roy asked if there were other DCR properties in the region where NEMBA could help develop trails for mountain biking. Russ described NEMBA’s proposal to DCR for an 8+mile trail system in Oakham State Forest. However, DCR only approved a one-mile trail. Another potential opportunity for new trails could be in Spencer State Forest.  Commissioner Roy said that he would review NEMBA’s Oakham Proposal and that he’d be willing to do a site visit to Spencer State Forest with NEMBA once the snow has melted.

Post Update: The Friends of the Ware River Watershed are asking people to support non-motorized trail access to the watershed. Add your name to this online petition on Change.org: Support Sustainable Trails in the Ware River Watershed.

More info on this issue and to read NEMBA's Proposal.


(Photo: Brett Russ, DCR Commissioner Leo Roy, Senator Anne Gobi and Wilson Dobson) Read more about [node:title]

Mountain Biking not Harmful to Watershed Land

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mountain biking not harmful to watershed land

Brett Russ
Vice President Wachusett Chapter New England Mountain Bike Association
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MWRA Advisory Board Joe Favaloro’s recent fear-mongering propaganda in various media outlets (http://mwraadvisoryboard.com/concerns-over-mountain-biking/) portrays mountain bikers as destructive criminals who, if permitted to ride bicycles on trails in the vast watershed lands of central Massachusetts, would soon degrade Boston’s pristine water to that found in Flint, MI. The ignorance of his op-ed is equalled only by the hypocrisies of reality.

Living in central Massachusetts means being surrounded by more than 100,000 acres of watershed land owned by us, the Commonwealth’s citizens. This land is foremost the water supply for the residents in greater Boston but lucrative extraction of natural resources and some recreation are also allowed. There is constant logging in the watershed and it is easy to find evidence of oil spills, trash, deep muddy ruts, and extensive collateral damage to the remaining trees. There are bulldozed road drainage ditches into watershed wetlands, clear violations of laws. There’s evidence of toxic illegal dumping sites left for years along watershed roads near tributaries. A large and eroded gravel pit sits mere feet from water on a Quabbin peninsula.

Walkers, permitted nearly everywhere, let dogs swim in critical watershed intake zones. And powerboats are allowed on the Quabbin Reservoir among other watershed lakes.

Favaloro ignores all of this but speculates that mountain biking poses the greatest threat to water purity. Favaloro ignores the scientific literature that attests that the physical impacts of mountain biking are similar to that of hiking, even though the Department of Conservation & Recreation that oversees the Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) has reviewed and agrees with these conclusions. Favaloro, the MWRA, and the DWSP have no factual basis to make these claims.

Favaloro fears that allowing mountain biking is a slippery slope that could lead to allowing snowmobiles, horseback riding, and swimming. But he seems to be unaware that all of those activities are already permitted within the Ware River Watershed.. He suggests that mountain biking could spread to the Wachusett Reservoir Watershed, but doesn’t realize that there have been legal mountain bike trails there since 2001.

Overall, Mr Favaloro’s opinion, while widely publicized, is factually inaccurate and fails to consider the needs of area residents. That he is in a position of authority in our water management system is extremely concerning.

The DWSP is mandated to allow environmentally sustainable recreation to the Ware River Watershed and for decades mountain biking has co-existed on the more than 35-miles of trails there. During this time, the MWRA’s own reports indicate that water quality has increased, not decreased, and this fact alone highlights the error in Favaloro’s claims.. Mountain bikers are a responsible user-group that play an important role in stewarding trails and open spaces. Hiking, XC skiing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking should all be possible in the watershed; there’s no reason for just mountain biking to be excluded.

Local residents now feel that they are living in a police state. Trails used for decades by walkers, equestrians and cyclists have been closed to everyone by hundreds of signs and state cut trees. Hidden spy cameras abound. Watershed rangers photograph you and your license plate to look up your address and create a list of everyone on this public land. Keeping people off trails that have been in use for decades with no effect on water quality is suddenly the top priority despite 15 years of water quality reports never even identifying recreation as a cause of poor test results, much less mountain biking.

The DWSP should partner with the local residents to fix or close the trails that could erode and use factual analysis to allow shared non-motorized trail use. Together we could improve the recreational experience of all of local residents while at the same time ensuring that the resource is protected. This is what the New England Mountain Bike Association, the Friends of the Ware River Watershed, and I have offered from the start. But we’ve been soundly and repeatedly told to go away. One can only hope that fear-mongering and misinformation attacks will cease. That common sense will prevail and that we can all work together to achieve the goals of protecting this resource and the recreational experience of local residents.

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Click this link for NEMBA's solutions to the issue of mountain biking on Ware River Watershed Land. Read more about [node:title]

NEMBA & DCR Partner to Open 15-mile Singletrack Trail Network at Dubuque State Forest

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

(HAWLEY, MASS.) – The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) announce a partnership to open a 15-mile network of single-track trails at Dubuque State Forest.
 
“Dubuque’s single-track trails wind through gorgeous and diverse woodlands and offer a variety of challenges, loops and scenic features that mountain bikers seek,” says Harold Green, President of the PV-NEMBA Chapter. “But these trails will also provide new opportunities for cross-country skiers, hikers and trail runners as well.”
 
Before approving this trail network, the DCR carefully assessed each trail to ensure that the network would protect important natural and culture resources, but also provide excellent recreational experiences to a variety of users. 
 
PV-NEMBA has agreed to organize volunteer trail maintenance and stewardship of the new trail system, help monitor against illegal trail building and work to educate trail users about etiquette and stewardship.
 
We are very excited about this partnership to expand recreational opportunities at Dubuque,” said DCR Commissioner, Leo P. Roy.  “We expect that this new trail network will draw users from both the Pioneer Valley and Berkshire County to Hawley, and we believe that excellent trail networks and recreation can have economic benefits to local communities and the region. “
 
DCR and NEMBA are currently working to install signs, create new on-line maps, and build some additional trail connections.

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.

NEMBA Presents Ware River Watershed Proposal to EOEEA

Friday, December 18, 2015

NEMBA Presents Ware River Watershed Proposal to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

 
Boston, MA, December 18, 2015:  Representatives from the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) met with the leadership of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) to discuss mountain bike access to the Ware River Watershed in central Massachusetts.

Wachusett NEMBA has formally requested that mountain biking be allowed on certain singletrack trails in the watershed and that the state collaborate with NEMBA and a newly formed Friends of the Ware River Watershed group on an independent analysis of the trail network.

According to Wachusett NEMBA’s Brett Russ, “we are grateful to Secretary Matthew Beaton, Undersecretary Ned Bartlett, Assistant Secretary Daniel Sieger, Director of Legislative Affairs Stolle Singleton as well as Senator Brownsberger, and Senator Anne Gobi’s aide John McNamara for taking the time to hear about the issues facing the citizens surrounding the 25,000-acre watershed. We believe that NEMBA’s proposal for greater access will be a win-win for everyone involved.”

The watershed has 35+ miles of singletrack trails that have been used by all manner of non-motorized recreationists including hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, hunters, fishermen, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers for decades. Mountain biking on singletrack was prohibited in 1994 under the management of the Metropolitan District Commission but was not enforced until August 2014.

“We believe that by partnering with NEMBA and allowing mountain biking in the watershed, we’ll be able to help steward the property and further protect the water supply”, says NEMBA executive director Philip Keyes.

While only a handful of singletrack trails are shown on the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) - Division of Water Supply Protection’s official maps, most of the singletracks have existed for decades. However, there are some new, unsanctioned trails that were built without permission which are of legitimate concern. However, rather than crack down on the activity of mountain biking, NEMBA proposes that the DCR partner with the organization to evaluate the existing trail system to determine which trails are sustainable and pose no threat to the water quality.

“We think that legitimizing mountain biking in the watershed will allow us to harness the energy of the recreating public to help protect this critical natural resource. Our members can help educate other trail users, report issues such as illegal trail building, dumping, and partying, and work to create a multi-user trails community that can maintain and protect the trails”, says Brett Russ. NEMBA hopes to partner with the newly formed Friends of the Ware River Watershed to build a broad community of trail stewards.

NEMBA is now in the process of providing more information to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and will continue to seek support to review and implement NEMBA’s proposal.

NEMBA will be planning an open meeting to discuss the proposal mid-January, 2016.

Link to NEMBA's Ware River Watershed Proposal (PDF)

In the photo, left to right, Bill Boles, Brett Russ, Secretary Matthew Beaton, Adam Glick, and Philip Keyes

Central MA

North Quabbin Trails Association

131 W Main Street
Orange  Massachusetts  01364
United States

978-549-1747

Description

The North Quabbin Trails Association is located in the historic hills and river basins of north central Massachusetts We have many miles of newly connected trails and would like to extend a unique and educational opportunity to NEMBA members.

NQTA is a Trail Design & Development, Stewardship and Hiking non-profit organization dedicated to collaboration. It seeks to bring together the entire outdoor trail community for the betterment of the North Quabbin Region.

Our core mission is the creation of the Quabbin to Monadnock Trail (Q&M), a 200+ mile East – West Forest Legacy Loop Trail with 12-15 overnight shelters. The West side is the N.E. Scenic Trail. The East side is a series of preexisting trail systems connected together.

Many miles of trails are available now. NQTA is constantly engaged in creating new trails for outdoor enthusiasts and looks forward to sharing that information with trail users both near and far. Stewardship opportunities and hikes are posted on the website, many of which unveil new trails. The offices of NQTA and monthly gatherings are held at the Millers River Environmental Center in Orange, MA.

NQTA is in the final mapping, gps and gis tracking of the Q + M trail and is working with naturalist guide book author John Burk on a 150 page Q + M trail map and guide which will be completed within a year.

Of interest to NEMBA members is the re-branding of our uniquely beautiful N Quabbin region into 7 geographical zones.

These are the Monadnocks, The Tully Basin, The Millers Basin, The Swift Valley Basin, The Quabbin, The State Forests and Mount Grace / Northfield.

This is the corridor of the Q + M and it’s an amazing connection of water, hills and forests.

NEMBA members are invited to come, enjoy a section and then return to complete other sections at their convenience.

This directly ties into the 'Stay and Play' theme that NQTA has established with its Explore North Quabbin partners. Imagine a 2-3 day adventure were you can stay at some of our lodgings, with great places nearby to eat and shop.

NQTA welcomes NEMBA in for jamborees and will work closely to help with logistics.

In addition NQTA would like to offer NEMBA a unique stewardship and mapping opportunity.

Starting right now we’d like NEMBA members to join with us out in bettering these newly connected trails. As the leading mountain bike and stewardship organization NQTA would like to see NEMBA and its members act as partners. We need your input on trail conditions. Most importantly we’d like your assistance in setting up a grading system to rank the level of difficulty of our trail systems.

NQTA's first full length trail map and guide of Birch Hill / Lake Dennison is in publication and offers many miles of biking opportunities. The map is set up to highlight multi-use and mountain biking is an integral part with biking trails clearly marked.

This map and many others can be ordered on our website NQTA.ORG for $8.00.

Now for the more adventurous bikers is the new 16.3 mile Red Apple Trail System. The grand opening was held May 16th and it’s this intermediate trail system that NQTA would like to collaborate with NEMBA on.  So come out and start the evaluation and stewardship process. Or, just go explore. Contact me for more information.

NQTA as a mapping organization has over a dozen new trail maps available as part of our $20.00 / $35.00 family membership.

NQTA at its core is organized as a stewardship and mapping collaboration and we actively seek NEMBA's partnership and experience in helping to create these new trail systems.

Our headquarters are at the Orange Innovation Center, 131 W Main Street Orange, MA 01364.

We have our monthly Gathering the second Monday of every month. We have a great meal and normally have educational speakers.

We would welcome a team of NEMBA members to join us as guest speakers to educate NQTA members on your organization and the great stewardship work you have accomplished.

I sincerely hope to see you out on the trails, soon.

You can contact me personally via email at . Please visit our 2 websites, NQTA.org and explorenorthquabbin.com to have better understanding of what NQTA has happening.

Upward and Onward!

Bobby Curley
NQTA President
and ENQ Co Chair


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