Bethel Area NEMBA:
The Bethel area has a large number of mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts, along with a local business climate committed to creating four season activities that will bring visitors to the area year round. The initial interest in creating an NEMBA chapter is high, and everyone recognizes the benefits of joining NEMBA as a way to create structure and legitimacy for our trail building organization.
On April 13, 2011 we held a scoping meeting to determine the level of interest within the community. On an email and word of mouth campaign of only a few days I was shocked to find 21 people attending the first meeting. At that meeting a board of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer was voted on and plans for summer trail work was discuss. Word of mouth has continued to spread and we now have over 40 people that have asked us to put them on the contact list.
A chapter board and succession plan has been developed. As the organization grows we plan on also developing committees to help organizes events such as trail building, races and group rides.
Gould Academy in Bethel has developed roughly five miles of singletrack on their Nordic ski trails. An additional mile has been flagged and is ready to cut, along with plans to build a pump track and technical features. Gould’s trails will be used as our showcase network, particularly as a way to show how Nordic and mountain bike trails can work together within a managed timber forest.
Permission has been granted to the group to cut cross-country mountain bike trails at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Trail ideas have been flagged and cutting began May 7th on the first loop. Mt. Abram’s owner, Matt Hancock is very interested in creating a multi-use trail from Mt. Abram to Bethel. This multi-use trail would then connect the Gould single track and the Mt. Abram single track.
Sunday River Ski Resort:
Sunday River currently runs and maintains a lift access downhill mountain bike park. Mountain management has shown interest in allowing another organization to develop more cross-country trails on the resort’s property, which extends far beyond the ski trails. In particular toward the Frenchman’s Hole area to the northwest and the large area of Maine public reserve land surrounding Grafton Notch State Park. The forester for this region’s reserve land has already begun to work with local Nordic skiers to develop a new forest management plan that includes more non-motorized trail construction. Bethel NEMBA will lobby for singletrack trail construction also.