We meet at the "mountain bike parking lot" at Rocky Pond Road and Rte 31 in Princeton.
Rain cancels. Check the Wachusett NEMBA Facebook page for the latest or contact the ride leader.
11/12/17 (All day)
BVNEMBA Fun Ride at Mendon Town Forest.
Sunday November 12th 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM.
The Zoo parking lot 2 Southwick Street Mendon, Ma.
A challenging intermediate ride with marked loops starting at 5.5 miles with options to extend the ride to 10+ miles! Bring your children and try the obstacle course presented by Ovah The Bars, LLC.
Must be on the trails by 11am.
Proceeds to benefit Mendon Town forest
Food and drink availble just across the street at Galliford's
Late breaking news will be found on the Facebook Page. Read more about [node:title]
4/24/17 (All day)
4/22/17 9:00am to 12:00pm
Goat Hill, Uxbridge MA
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
5/20/17 (All day)
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]
1/25/17 (All day)
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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.
Click this link for NEMBA's solutions to the issue of mountain biking on Ware River Watershed Land. Read more about [node:title]