Southern CT

NEMBA COVID Guidance for Rides & Trail Care Sessions

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

NEMBA Guidance for Rides

Out of an abundance of caution NEMBA put a hold on Trial Care days and Group Rides as the Covid-19 Pandemic escalated.

Currently it seems like every day one or more of the New England States change their recommendations and guidelines. Their overriding concern, of course, is safety.

As each state sets its own policies NEMBA’s policies must be flexible. Our policies must follow at least the minimum guidelines set by each state. But since these guidelines vary in their directives, we have developed some parameters that we believe support the cautious resumption of group rides and trail care sessions. You can help support the health and safety of all riders (and other trail users) by following these practices!

See State by State restrictions below.

 

NEMBA Recommendations for Group Rides

· Non-household Group rides are allowed in all New England states. The permitted size of those groups varies. NEMBA recommends group sizes of 10 people or less. This is a common requirement in many riding areas. It also reduces interruptions to other trail users and helps keep groups safe and fun. But we leave it to local chapters and their ride leaders to determine what is best for them.

· Maintaining at least 3 bike lengths between each rider ensures physical distancing, at least 30’ but the more the better. The standard 6' social distance may not ensure safety when riding behind a rider or group for long periods of time. So we recommend many times that distance, as far as is practicable. The exception is with family members.

· Ride with a mask at the ready so that you can quickly put it on if you come across other trail users in an area where you can’t maintain a social distance of at least 6’. Or better yet, leave it on. A mask is primarily a courtesy to others. It is a source control measure that limits what you may spread via exhalation. It also provides some protection to 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. This is a time when nobody should assume a “right of way”.

· Do not linger in groups before or after rides. We will all get our “social” on when this Pandemic is over.

· Don’t overcrowd a riding area. If a riding area is busy, try to find an alternate time or location to ride but try to stay close to home. There are state-by-state restrictions on traveling across state lines. Observe them!

· Respect parking regulations. Parking has become a large pain point at many riding areas. 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.

· NEMBA requires using some method of rider registration so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. NEMBA offers Evenbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it.

· If you or your chapter would like to hold a group ride, either with or without Eventbrite, send an email to . That way you will be covered by NEMBA’s insurance.

 

NEMBA Recommendations for Family Rides

· Follow all the requirements of your local governments (State, City or Town) and requirements of the property where you wish to ride.

· Best practice is to ride with members of your household.

· Wear masks when in the presence of others and it is not possible to be at least 6’ apart.

· If possible, choose riding areas without crowds.

 

NEMBA Recommendations for Trail Care Events

Since each State sets its own policy for outdoor group size, NEMBA’s policy must be flexible. But it must follow the guidelines set by that state. Since these guidelines are in some cases contradictory, we have developed some suggested parameters of our own.

Traditional Trail Care days where more than 30 people might show up in a parking lot, hang out together for instructions, grab tools and head out should be put on hold for now. As must the traditional after trailwork parking lot thank you party. We recommend:

 

  • 1  Trail Care sessions must be limited to 4-9 people.
  • 2  Social distancing of at least 12’ must be maintained at all times.
  • 3  Face coverings must be used whenever one is within 15’ of anyone else.
  • 4  Tools must not be shared unless they are sanitized before handoffs.
  • 5  For the time being, doing small projects should be the goal.
  • 6  Advance sign up or, events run by invitation only, may be used to put limits on the numbers.
  • 7 After the event, participants should leave the gathering area as soon as possible.
  • 8 NEMBA requires using some method of volunteer registration so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. NEMBA offers Evenbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it.

 

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

Maine Covid-19 Response    Maine Bureau of Parks

Vermont Covid-19 Guidance    VT State Parks

New Hampshire Covid-19     NH State Parks

Massachusetts Covid-19    Mass DCR Guidance

Connecticut Covid Response    CT DEEP Response

Rhode Island Covid Information    RI DEM Guidance

  Read more about [node:title]

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.

Fairfield County NEMBA Winter Social - Where the Trail Ends Movie

Date

3/16/14 5:00pm to 11:00pm

FC NEMBA Annual Winter Social - March 16th Doors open at 4pm for socializing & movie starts at 5:30@ Ridgefield Playhouse
$15 in Advance / $20 at the Door. Includes venue access, cupcakes, soda & beer, fun and the Fairfield County premiere of Where the Trail Ends provided free by Red Bull Media house.

... details to come on advance purchase

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZUsc1ewgUQ
Read more about [node:title]

Location

The Ridgefield Playhouse

Chapter

Central CT Fairfield County

Event Leader

Ryan Tucker
rrtucker@gmail.com

December Ride Challenge Update

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hi SECT NEMBA Chapter Members,

 

We want to thank everyone who participated in our first December Ride Challenge and also thank those who signed up for a new NEMBA membership or renewed. Great news, we have enough swag from our fantastic sponsors to give away to everyone who participated in the ride challenge!! We'll also be randomly selecting three members who renewed or joined in December to win some swag. Finally, we will also be giving out a special Iron Rider Award for the person who rode the most throughout December! We’ll be contacting winners mid-January, so keep an eye on your email.

 

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors for your support and helping to make this event a success!!

 

Wayfarer Cycles

Airline Cycles

Cycling Concepts

Specialized

Voler Apparel

DeFeet

 

Covid Brings Central CT New Trails

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

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 [node:title]

Central CT Autumn Chapter Report

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

Salmon River/Grayville Forest Management Plan Feedback

Thursday, December 3, 2020

**Immediate Action Needed**

 

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has provided NEMBA with a draft Forest Management Plan for the Salmon River State Forest that will have significant impact on the future policies for trail access and trail management in Connecticut State Forests. This plan proposes specific action to be taken on the Grayville Trail System, including trail closures. The plan will also serve as a precedent for the other trail systems in Salmon River and the State Forests throughout Connecticut.

 

In addition to the input NEMBA will be providing, DEEP has expressed interest in receiving direct input from the trail community, including mountain bikers, and the surrounding community - this is where WE NEED YOUR HELP TO ENSURE WE DON’T LOSE ACCESS TO OUR TRAILS.

 

Please provide responses by December 10th!

 

Send responses to:

 

NEMBA is collecting all responses and will send a single document to DEEP as part of a formal response to the plan.

 

Response Guidance:

 
  • A link to the complete plan is below, along with excerpts from the plan that are specific to mountain biking and trail access. We encourage you to review the details and provide your thoughts on why preserving access is important to you.
     

  • Option 1 - Use this template to create your response, and paste into an email to the address above.

 
  • Option 2- Create your own response leveraging the following suggested topics, and send to the address above.

    • Do you support maintaining (or expanding) the current number of trails

    • Do you support the proposed trail closures and eradication of existing trails

    • Do you support creating an active management plan between DEEP and NEMBA to maintain and improve the trails leveraging trained NEMBA resources to assist with storm damage/downed trees, trail maintenance, etc.

    • Why the trail system is important to your health and well-being

    • How many years you’ve used the trail system and frequency of use

    • Note what activities you use the trail system for (biking, hiking, snowshoeing, etc)

    • Do you use the system with your family

    • Do you visit local businesses and/or come from outside of Hebron

     
    • Please respond with a positive tone. NEMBA and DEEP have been in active dialogues throughout 2020 regarding the future of the Grayville Trails, including hosting a ride with the DEEP Deputy Director on the trail system.

     
    • Our goal is to preserve access to the trails that generations have come to enjoy, and establish a partnership with DEEP to actively maintain the trails for future generations. DEEP has expressed interest in expanding the resulting model throughout CT State Forests, so it’s critical we all work towards a positive and mutually agreeable outcome!
     

    Thank you for your support,

    Brett Severson

    Chapter President, SECT NEMBA

     
    Click For Draft Plan: Salmon River Forest Management Plan
     

    Plan highlights specific to trail access and mountain biking:

     

    (Page 15) Section E. Extensive Areas of Concern

    Trails/Signs & Unauthorized/Illegal Activity

     

    As stated, the Airline State Park Trail is the only authorized trail in the Blackledge Block. However, this block of forestland is home to an extensive network of unauthorized mountain bike trails. This unauthorized trail system is found in the eastern most section of the block, traversing compartments 10 and 11. Trail construction has included cutting herbaceous plants out of intended pathways, cutting downed trees out of trails and installing narrow wooden bridges in order to cross streams. Section 23- 4-1 (b) of the general regulations of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection states “No person shall deface, destroy, alter, remove or otherwise injure in any manner any structures buildings, vegetation, earth or rock material, trees, or fuelwood, nor shall any wildlife be molested or disturbed except as authorized by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.” This trail network was constructed in direct disregard for this section of the general regulations by significantly altering vegetation, earth, rock material and trees in this area of state forestland. The trail system is mostly present in upland forestland with dry, stony soils. However, these trails traverse wet areas and steep slopes that are rutted and eroded. Wet areas tend to have the widest trails as hikers and cyclists search for the driest route around the wet area. In wet areas the impact of these trails is most severe and has resulted in rutting, soil compaction and erosion. On steep slopes trails were constructed with no regard to how water would drain off the trail, resulting in water running directly down the trail, increasing soil erosion. These developed, multi-use trails also conflict with the DEEP’s mission to conserve fisheries, wildlife and their habitats. Recreational trails fragment and degrade habitat by creating a constant disturbance to wildlife as well as creating avenues for non-native invasive plant infestations, which reduce biodiversity. According to the publication Trails for People and Wildlife (2019) published by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, trails can negatively impact wildlife within 400 feet of each side of a trail. Negative impacts include direct stress to wildlife such as changing the animal’s heart rate, temperature or stress hormones as well as causing them to change their foraging locations, reducing the area available for them to raise their young and putting them at increased risk of predation. Using the 400 feet on each side of a trail as a trails corridor of influence on the local wildlife, within compartments 10 and 11 of the Blackledge Block there is only seven percent of the total land area not being disturbed by recreational traffic. Multi-use trails used by mountain bikers and dog walkers can also negatively impact those engaged in fish and wildlife based recreation such as hunting and wildlife viewing, especially those seeking a more solitary outdoor experience. Trails can be a great way to help the public see the beauty of their public forestland, however, the authorization and construction of such trails needs to be well planned in order to maximize recreational opportunities while minimizing negative impacts. The current unauthorized trail network is excessively extensive across the land and was constructed with no considerations to its negative impact on soils, vegetation, wildlife and wildlife based recreation. Actions need to be taken to stop this illegal use.

     

    (Page 41) Recreational Site Improvement

    Educational signage outlined in the “Road Construction, Gates & Signs” section of this plan will be posted as a short term initiative aimed at managing high recreational use areas within this block of land, most notably in compartments 10 and 11. However, the recreational pressure in these two compartments of the forest is such that a sustainable recreation plan will need to be created and implemented as the long term solution to the recreational issues, outlined in section E “Extensive Areas of Concern” of this plan. The parks, forestry and wildlife divisions of DEEP will partner to create and implement this plan during the early years of this management plans lifespan. The overarching goals of a sustainable recreation plan for the area are as follows:

    Create a designated trail head with a kiosk where all applicable notices can be posted for recreationalists to view.

    Divert the primary access point away from the end of Grayville Road to reduce and minimize neighborhood disturbances.

    Stop the creation of additional trails that are constructed with no regard to DEEP general regulations or sustainable recreation.

    Reduce trail density to minimize recreational pressure on wildlife.

    Designate authorized trails and close non-authorized trails.

    Take measures to stabilize authorized trails. Stabilization measures will include avoiding sensitive

    wet and riparian areas, reducing steep grades by installing additional switchback turns, constructing bridges over unavoidable wet areas and/or streams and putting in water bars to divert water off trail to prevent erosion and sedimentation.

    Create a plan to maintain the authorized trail system and enforce violations.

     

    FC NEMBA Women's Ride

    Event Date

    11/21/20 9:30am to 11:30am

    Women's Ride @ Troutbrook Saturday morning.

    All levels no drop. Trails we'll ride are mellow to intermediate, and there will be some climbing/descending, and boardwalks.

    We hike what we don't ride.

    Small group only, please Facebook Message me for details. Read more about [node:title]

    Chapter

    State

    Connecticut

    Ride Level

    Novice
    Advanced-novice
    Intermediate

    Ride Types

    Ride Style

    XC

    Ride Leader Name

    Monika Stokes

    Pages