Central CT NEMBA Prevents Ban on Mountain Biking in Tolland CT

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thanks to the involvement of Central CT NEMBA and area members, a proposed ban on mountain biking was prevented and cycling will still be a legitimate activity on conservation lands in Tolland, Connecticut.  Central CT NEMBA was able to help defeat a proposal by a local group called “Conserve Tolland” to ban mountain biking on all 13 of the town’s open spaces. At the April 8th meeting of the Tolland Town Council, the group argued for the ban citing trail damage, user conflict and liability issues as their reasons.

Alan Tinti, a Central CT NEMBA board member, and several local mountain bikers spoke in defense of mountain biking.  Numerous studies show that the impacts of mountain biking and hiking are essentially similar and that user conflict issues can be addressed through education and setting appropriate expectations to share trails.  Central CT NEMBA played a key role, along with Connecticut Forest & Parks and the Sierra Club, in strengthening the recreational liability law in Connecticut to protect towns and municipalities what allow recreation on their properties. Connecticut’s recreational use statute is more robust than it ever has been.

The Town Council voted to adopt the Conservation Commission’s recommendations to allow and manage mountain biking on Tolland open space, along with other types of muscle-powered recreation.