Northern CT

NEMBA COVID Guidance for Rides & Trail Care Events

Friday, April 9, 2021

NEMBA COVID recommendations for NEMBA rides & trail care sessions

 

As the warm weather approaches and trails dry out, we recognize that there is an increased demand for group rides and trail work days. Please consider the guidelines below, as well as the state by state guidelines, when organizing and hosting a group ride, trail care event, or other event. We all want to ride bikes, let’s just do it safely!

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Follow state & local guidelines (see links below as these change frequently)

  • Ensure you have a participant list with contact information in case contract tracing efforts are needed. This is a requirement.

  • Try to keep groups to 10 or less. Split larger groups as necessary. 

  • Wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

  • Respect the wishes of volunteers who request a more strict approach. Every individual has their own risk tolerance.

  • All participants must also sign the NEMBA Annual Waiver.

  • Email office@nemba.org with information of any upcoming events.

  • Very importantly, all guidelines still apply irregardless of any individual’s vaccination status.

 

Background:

Out of an abundance of caution most NEMBA chapters put a hold on Trail Care days and Group Rides as the Covid-19 Pandemic escalated. As vaccination efforts continue, and studies suggest extremely low transmission rates while outdoors, NEMBA looks forward to resuming trail work days and group rides. Recently, it seems like everyday one or more of the New England states relax their recommendations and guidelines. Their overriding concern though, of course, is still safety. NEMBA must follow at least the minimum guidelines set by each state. But these state guidelines vary in their directives. So, we have developed recommendations that support the cautious resumption of group rides and trail care sessions. See state by state restrictions at the links below.

 

NEMBA Recommendations for Group Rides

  • Group rides are allowed in all New England states. The permitted size of those groups varies. NEMBA is recommending group sizes of 10 people or less. When more than 10 people are expected our recommendation would be to divide up into smaller groups. This reduces interruptions to other trail users and helps keep things safe and fun. But we leave it to local chapters and their ride leaders to determine what is best for them.

  • If you anticipate more than 10 attendees to a ride, break into smaller groups and physically disperse the groups (example: direct one group to the north end of the parking area, the other to the south etc. Or, plan different meet-up locations for the groups. Your goal is to avoid creating a large congregation of people in the same area)

  • NEMBA requires using some method of rider registration or participant recording so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. Please record the name and phone or email for each participant. 

NEMBA offers Eventbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it. But Eventbrite is just one option. Many chapters just keep a record of attendees. Either by pre-signing up people or taking names and email addresses at the ride. 

  • Maintaining at least 2 bike lengths between each rider ensures physical distancing.

  • If the ride stops for any reason, encourage social distancing there as well and mask up.

  • Wear masks when gathering (at the start of the ride, working on a trailside repair, etc.)

  • Ride with a mask at the ready so that you can quickly put it on if you come across other trail users where you can’t maintain a social distance of at least 6’. Or better yet, leave it on. While a mask is primarily a courtesy to others, it also provides protection for you.

  • Exaggerate your courtesy to other trail users. When encountering other trail users, slow down or stop and move off the trail to provide room for people to pass and maintain social distance. Say hello, but give everyone space.

  • For now, don’t linger together in groups before or after rides. We can get our “social” back on when the pandemic diminishes further. This also means no social food gatherings after rides for now.

  • Try not to overwhelm a riding area. If a riding area is busy, try to find an alternate time or location to ride.

  • Respect parking regulations. Parking has become a problem at many riding areas due to the influx of new trail users. If a parking area is full, find another legal place to park.

  • We leave it to local chapters to decide what is best for their area and the comfort level of their ride leaders.

  • Bring hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, etc. Most states require providing sanitizing materials at events.

  • Volunteers and participants should remain home if not feeling well, if they have received a positive COVID test, or if they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.

  • All the above health and safety guidelines still apply irregardless of any individual’s vaccination status

  • When a NEMBA chapter wants to schedule a group ride, send an email to . That way your event will be covered by NEMBA’s insurance.

  • All participants must also sign the NEMBA Annual Waiver

  

Currently, larger group events (MBAS, etc) are on hold. Some chapters have begun planning for fall 2021, but most states currently restrict large events. Further guidelines will be developed as needed to accommodate for larger events.

 

NEMBA Recommendations for Trail Care Events

  • Limiting trail care groups to 10 people or less. If a larger group shows up, please split into small groups. Ensure there are enough volunteer leaders to manage demand.

  • NEMBA requires using some method of participant recording so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. Please record the name and phone or email for each participant.

NEMBA offers Evenbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it. But Eventbrite is just one option. Many chapters just keep a record of attendees. Either by pre-signing up people or taking names and email addresses at the ride.

  • Embrace social distancing. Spread out and work on different parts of the trails.

  • Wear a mask, especially when it is not possible to maintain at least 6’ of distance between participants.

  • Bring hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, etc. Encourage participants to bring their own gloves and tools if possible. Minimize the sharing of tools, and clean between use.

  • Advance sign up or, events run by invitation only, could be used to put limits on numbers.

  • Minimize pre- and post- event socializing. This also means no social food gatherings after trail care events for now.

  • Volunteers and participants should remain home if not feeling well, if they have received a positive COVID test, or if they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.

  • All the above health and safety guidelines still apply irregardless of any individual’s vaccination status

  • If your NEMBA chapter wants to sponsor a Trail Care Event send an email to . This will ensure that your event will be covered by NEMBA’s insurance.

  • All participants must sign the NEMBA Annual Waiver

 

State by State Guidance 

Connecticut Covid Response          CT DEEP Response

Maine Covid-19 Response             Maine Bureau of Parks

Massachusetts Covid-19                Mass DCR Guidance

New Hampshire Covid-19              NH State Parks

Rhode Island Covid Information     RI DEM Guidance

Vermont Covid-19 Guidance          VT State Parks

 

  Read more about NEMBA COVID Guidance for Rides & Trail Care Events

NEMBA Trail School @ Goodwin State Forest

Monday, May 19, 2014

Riders and trail enthusiasts from an array of organizations gathered at Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton, Connecticut for NEMBA's annual two-day course in trail design, construction and maintenance.

In addition to riders from numerous NEMBA chapters from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, participants came from the Connecticut Parks & Forests Association, the Central CT Regional Planning Agency, the Friends of Goodwin State Park, Greenfield Trails Association (NH), Londonderry Trails (NH) and even as far away as the Gennesee Region Offroad Cyclists (Rochester, NY).

In the NEMBA tradition of "work hard, play harder", the course featured not only classroom instruction but outdoors hands-on build clinics as well as an epic ride on the extensive trail system that encompasses Goodwin State Forest and Natchaug State Forest.

“Our trail school is key to increasing our capacity to improve and build more trails,” commented NEMBA director, Philip Keyes. “I’m confident that everyone who attended this year’s class will go on to put on their own trail care events and help us build a better New England for trails and trail-based recreation in all its forms.”

Our thanks to the supportive staff at the Goodwin Conservation Center and the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection for opening their doors to us and allowing us to camp out -- the evening bonfire was great!  We also thank the Friends of Goodwin State Forest for helping with project locations. Lastly, a huge shout-out of thanks to our NEMBA instructors, Paula Burton, Adam Glick, Maciej Sobieszek and Mike Tabaczynski, and to our ride leaders, Stacey Jimenez and Glenn Newcombe.

If you missed out, mark your calendars now for the May 21-22, 2015.

QC NEMBA Mansfield Hollow Spring Tour

Date

5/16/21 9:00am to 11:00am

Quiet Corner NEMBA Spring Mountain Bike Tour of Mansfield Hollow State Park.

Location: 151 Bassett Bridge Rd, Mansfield Center, CT 06250

Date: Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 9 AM EDT – 11:30 AM EDT

Price: Free · Duration: 2 hr 30 min

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

Join Quiet Corner NEMBA members for a guided ride at Mansfield Hollow SP in Mansfield, CT.

All are welcome to this FREE event.

Learn about NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Assoc) and enjoy the trails.

All levels welcome, including novice riders. We will split into groups according to skill level.

Helmets & mountain bikes required. Arrive early & be prepared to ride at 9AM. Park in the lot closest to the road.

Part of The Last Green Valley Heritage Corridor's "Spring Outdoors" event https://thelastgreenvalley.org/explore.../spring-outdoors/

Don't forget to sign the NEMBA annual (one and you're done!) waivers for 2021
https://www.smartwaiver.com/splash/17029/  Read more about QC NEMBA Mansfield Hollow Spring Tour

Chapter

Quiet Corner

Trail

Event Leader

Cris Cadiz
crisecadiz@gmail.com

QC NEMBA Earth Day Trail Build @ Pomfret

Date

4/18/21 9:00am

LocationWatercure Farm Distillery 426 Masamoquet Rd, Pomfert CT

Date: Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 9 AM EDT – 12 PM EDT

Price: Free · Duration: 3 hr

Group  · Members of Quiet Corner Mountain Biking

Join us to finish up work on a rough cut trail for the Town of Pomfret that runs about a mile from the Airline Trail to Watercure Farm Distillery.

Plus potential trash cleanup on the Airline Trail.

Gloves and durable pants required (lots of pricker bushes!).

And masks!!! We can provide tools or BYO.

Don't forget to sign the NEMBA annual (one and you're done!) waivers for 2021
https://www.smartwaiver.com/splash/17029/ 

  Read more about QC NEMBA Earth Day Trail Build @ Pomfret

Chapter

Quiet Corner

Event Leader

Cris Cadiz
crisecadiz@gmail.com

Northern CT

Natchaug SF, Eastford & Hampton

Pilfershire Rd
Eastford  Connecticut  06242
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

60%

Difficult

10%

Description

Natchaug State Forest is  located in six towns including Ashford, Chaplin, and Eastford. The Natchaug River runs from north to south along the western border of the main forest parcel. James L. Goodwin State Forest abuts Natchaug to the south.

The trails are fun old school mountin bike trails. They are shared with hikers and equestrians and campers. It's a fun place to ride.

Directly north of it is Mashamoquet Brook State Park which in addition to trails also has swimming.

Attempting to ride Goodwin, Natchaug and Mashamoquet in one ride would certainly be a epic adventure.

Image result for natchaug state forest  Image result for natchaug state forest  Image result for natchaug state forest Read more about Natchaug SF, Eastford & Hampton

Local Shops

Putnam Cyclery

Links to Relevant Resources

QC NEMBA Trail Care @ Pomfret

Date

1/31/21 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Watercure Farm Distillery in Pomfret, CT

Come help continue work on a short trail in Pomfret that joins the Airline Rail Trail with the Watercure Farm Distillery. Meet at the Distillery. Masks required!

Bring clippers, loppers, and/or a hand saw if you have them. The chapter does have tools to borrow, but tools cannot be shared.

You must register for this event using Eventbrite.

  • Limited to 10 volunteers
  • If you sign up and can’t make it, please cancel and let the coordinator know so another volunteer can take your spot
  • Bring mask or buff
  • Practice social distancing
  • Tools cannot be shared unless sanitized in between

Please review the NEMBA COVID Guidance prior to the trail care day.

All participants must sign the NEMBA Annual Waiver Read more about QC NEMBA Trail Care @ Pomfret

Chapter

Quiet Corner

Event Leader

Serena Dupuis
QCNEMBA@gmail.com

Covid Brings Central CT New Trails

trail kiosk with bikes

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Central CT Chapter had some exciting news coming into 2020 with the opportunity to build the first bike-specific trail system in the town of Rocky Hill at Dividend Pond Park. They introduced this venture to us in SingleTracks issue 163 and this December we had a chance to catch up with Luis Moreira to learn more about how this project has fared since its inception. We also learned a bit more about its future.

Though a compact 68 acres, the Dividend Pond Park includes a rich history of grist, saw, and corn mills in addition to the multi-use trails. The parcel includes 10 water powered archaeological sites going back as far as 1667 and forward to the 1900’s. The town has captured some interesting historical notes on each of these sites in the park brochure, such as the $10,000 horseshoe.

This new bike specific trail was intentionally designed and built to provide a place for families and people new to the sport to ride, but the flowy nature of the trails and the advantageous contours of the land can provide a fun experience for all. In fact, Luis challenges you more advanced riders to tackle the Strava loop without braking and see how it goes.

Looking back to the beginning of this project Luis credits Glenn Vernes, Central CT Chapter President, with the insight to develop the Dividend Ponds area and add to the nearby River Highlands mileage. Glenn kicked off the project by introducing Luis to the powers that be who manage the area, and with conversations, approvals, and agreements to maintain the trails they were off and running. Or more specifically walking and flagging, and re-walking and re-flagging, and scouring google maps and contour lines to determine the best route for the eventual two miles of flow trails for part one of this endeavor. Many hours were spent strategically planning how to incorporate the elevation changes while staying within the boundaries of the approved plot of land.

2020 has been a challenging year for many, but it also provided Luis and Glenn time for building trails, refining flow, and adding little features of fun sprinkled throughout. Luis estimated that over 500 volunteer hours were spent on just this trail since the beginning, but I imagine that’s a very conservative estimate once you hear about the many 8-hour days he spent perfecting corners and clearing debris. Sometimes that debris takes the form of removing unsanctioned and dangerous features added by well-intentioned but uninformed trail users. *PSA – always check in with the trail managers before adding features to a trail*

Luis notes that while before Dividend Pond got little to no riders, now he often sees many people out there enjoying the trails with their families. He’s even spotted an enduro champion out there exploring the trails as Luis takes his regular rides making sure everything in the area is running smoothly.

Kudos to Glenn and Luis, and all the other NEMBA volunteers, for creating and maintaining this wonderful opportunity for local biking.

What are Luis and Glenn doing with all their time now that this project is cruising along? Well of course they are continuing to build and incorporate additional enhancements for this area (and others). Phase 2 of the “Div Pond” project includes a new scenic loop that follows along the river and that maybe, just maybe, will include a jump line or an advanced section.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, get out on these trails and make sure you let them know what you think!

 

Glenn Vernes recognized by Bike Walk CT

glenn holding his award

Monday, December 21, 2020

Big Congrats go to Central CT NEMBA Chapter President Glenn Vernes, who received a People’s Choice Award from Bike Walk Connecticut. He was nominated by his peers for the work he has done to open trails and make mtn biking more accessible to people of all ages and abilities! This annual award recognizes people for their contributions in making CT a more bike and pedestrian friendly place.

 

Glenn has been the driving force behind getting the permissions and then building and improving the trails at River Highlands in Cromwell, CT. These fun, flowy trails are great for all ability levels. He worked for weeks to correct drainage issues and added some new trails increasing the size of the park’s useable area. It is now jammed packed on weekends with families and people of all ages and skill levels. His knowledge of state and local land uses and legislation is insightful and what he doesn’t know he finds out quickly. He is always calm and respectful when working with land managers and town officials which can be the most challenging and time consuming part of trail building and advocacy.

 

Central CT NEMBA owes tons of thanks to the many volunteers who help with trail building and maintenance. But today we give special thanks to Glenn who often works quietly behind the scenes making calls, walking trails, and doing research to make things happen. No one is more deserving of this award.

 

Bike Walk Connecticut works through advocacy and education to make bicycling and walking safe, feasible and attractive for a healthier, cleaner Connecticut.

 

By Lisa M. Maloney, Central CT NEMBA VP Read more about Glenn Vernes recognized by Bike Walk CT

Northern CT

Paulk Hill Mountain Bike Park, Tolland

612 Tolland Stage Road
Tolland  Connecticut  06084
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

The Paulk Hill Mountain Bike Park is located in the Paulk Hill Conservation Area.

Paulk Hill is a 42 acre parcel that is packed with so many features that you will be saying, “Okay, just one more run,” over and over again.  All the trails have great flow with a constant offering of optional skinnies, rolls, drops and jumps.  Most of the trails are rated intermediate, but novice riders can enjoy all the trails by skipping the harder features. This area can actually accommodate a mixed group of expert to novice riders as all of the hard features are optional.

The one mile orange blazed loop named “Pedal Power” will bring you up from the parking area to the four downhill trails. Pedal power also flows back down to the parking lot with several surprises along the way.  You will use this trail over and over to access all the other trails but there are many features during the climb to keep you entertained.

At just under a mile, “Beast” is the longest of the downhill trails and is home to many of the bigger features that will satisfy the strongest riders and intimidate the rest.  The other trails contain features for all abilities such as small to medium rolls and jumps that are perfect for novice riders as well as advanced. The Red blazed trail “Boneyard” contains the multi-lined double drop, or roll, or kick, or flow as well as the infamous Double Feature which is a … oh never mind, just get out there and find out for yourself how impressive this place is. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Directions:

Located 1.3 miles north of exit 68 off I 84. Travel North on Rt. 195, West on Rt. 74 to the access road on the left at 41.87676 - 72.37879

There are about 4 miles of downhill focused trails on the 42 acre property. Great fun to ride, but you will be doing repeated hill repeats to enjoy them all.

The directions at the top of this page approximate the entry area. It's located between Burbank Road and Old Dunhill Road on Tolland Stage Road near Paulik Hill Brook.

The trails are on the south side of the road.

 

   By Thomas Tyburski

Note from the Central CT NEMBA Chapter Report: The biggest news since last report is the completion and opening of Paulik Hill Bike Park in Tolland, CT. This was a cooperative venture with the Quiet Corner Chapter, spearheaded by Jon Petersen, CCT NEMBA board member. It’s a trail system with bike park features such as roll overs, hucks, and skinnies for different ability levels. It’s been very popular and is getting rave reviews. Thanks to the many of you who donated funds for this project. 

Parciak Conservation Area | Town of Tolland CT Schindler/Schmidt Conservation Area | Visit CT Paulk Hill Conservation Area, Tolland Mountain Biking Trails | Trailforks Luis Moreria and John Sokoloski CCT NEMBA members who helped to open up an old trail at West Rock Ridge State Park Hamden, CT. Their mighty chainsaws cleared the path to complete the loop. Read more about Paulk Hill Mountain Bike Park, Tolland

Links to Relevant Resources

Central CT Autumn Chapter Report

Luis Moreria and John Sokoloski CCT NEMBA members who helped to open up an old trail at West Rock Ridge State Park Hamden, CT. Their mighty chainsaws cleared the path to complete the loop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

(Image shows Luis Moreria and John Sokoloski CCT NEMBA members who helped to open up an old trail at West Rock Ridge State Park Hamden, CT. Their mighty chainsaws cleared the path to complete the loop.)

 

Autumn is the best time to ride in Southern New England, and it came early this year.

 

As I write this in mid-late September, we’re being treated to a spell of unseasonably cool and dry air. In a place where summer will often assert itself until mid-October the respite from heat, humidity, and bugs was a treat indeed. This, combined with virus-mandated leisure time, has kept the trails unusually busy. Mountain bikers have been conducting themselves responsibly on the crowded trails. Thanks to all of you for doing that. 

The biggest news since last report is the completion and opening of Paulik Hill Bike Park in Tolland, CT. This was a cooperative venture with the Quiet Corner Chapter, spearheaded by Jon Petersen, CCT NEMBA board member. It’s a trail system with bike park features such as roll overs, hucks, and skinnies for different ability levels. It’s been very popular and is getting rave reviews. Thanks to the many of you who donated funds for this project. 

The new Dividend Pond trails have also become very popular, especially with new riders and families. This is exactly what we hoped would happen and it’s great to see people enjoying the fruits of our labor. By the time this issue is distributed the new informational kiosks, built by a local Eagle Scout, should be in place. 

 

Most of our time since last report has been spent clearing trails of storm damage.

 

Hurricane Isaias cut a destructive path through central Connecticut in early August. Most areas were rendered unrideable, but they didn’t remain that way for long. The weekend after the storm mountain bikers were out in force clearing the trails in socially distant fashion and as a result some were rideable again by Sunday afternoon. Thanks to everyone who helped, and special thanks to Luis Moreira who put in over 40 hours clearing in the Middletown Cromwell area.  

 

Many of the downed trees were turned into features.

 

Three new skinnies were built at River Highlands, bringing that area’s total to seven. Luis and I built a teeter at Dividend Pond in mid-September. It was our first attempt at building such a feature and it came out well and is small enough to pivot quickly, but large enough to stay in one place. 

Lastly, I was given an award from Bike Walk CT for my trail stewardship and ride leading activities. I couldn’t have done it without the help of many, many people- too many to list. Thanks to all of you.  Although I’m not in this for notoriety, it was requested that we share the picture in this report. I guess it’s ok just this one time. 


Ride on-

Glenn Vernes, Prez

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