Northern 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 large 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 more may be 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 as many times that distance 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 still 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. But Eventbrite is only an option. Many chapters just keep a record.
  • If you or your chapter would like to hold a group ride, either with or without Eventbrite, send an email to . That way you and your riders 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.

 

State by State Guidance 

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 NEMBA COVID Guidance for Rides & Trail Care Sessions

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 - TRAIL DAY - West Thompson Dam

Date

5/31/14 7:30am

Want more rideable miles at WTD? Come out and give us a hand in a bit of trail work to improve your riding experience. 

Can only spare a few hours? GREAT! Extra hands for some time is better than none. 

Minors are welcome to attend under the supervision of a parent or guardian. We love to see the youngsters learning to care for the trails.

The Chapter will be providing lunch for volunteers. 


What to bring:
• Work Gloves
• Work or hiking boots
• Water bottle or other hydration system (camelbak)
• Bug Spray
• Mattocks, Rock Bars, leaf rakes... 
      (The chapter has tools available, but extra would be helpful if you have them)

Other items not to forget:
• Your bike & riding gear :)


Agenda:

7:30AM - Registration (Waiver forms) & instructions.

8:00AM - Heading out to the work site. 

Noonish - Clean-up followed by lunch.

1:30PM ish - Ride

Location

West Thompson Dam, West Thompson, CT

Chapter

Quiet Corner

Event Leader

Stacey Jimenez
QuietCornerNEMBA@gmail.com

Connecticut Trails Day Weekend Ride

Date

6/8/14 9:00am to 3:00pm

A FREE, fun day of riding for all ages and abilities.
• All rides will be guided.
• No riders will be left behind.
• Helmets are REQUIRED.

RIDE DESCRIPTIONS:

FAMILY RIDE : (4-6 miles) Casual family pace, Airline Trail.
Departure time: 11AM

BEGINNER RIDE: (8-10 miles) Casual pace, no drop, single & double track. Departure time: 10:30AM

INTERMEDIATE RIDE: (10-14 miles) Intermello pace, no drop, some technical. Departure time: 9:30AM

ADVANCED RIDE: (15-20 miles) Faster paced, no drop. Tech, climbs and more... Departure time: 9:30AM

EVENT SCHEDULE

9 - 11 AM - Registration

9:30 AM - Guided Advanced & Intermediate Rides depart

10:30 AM - Guided Beginner Ride departs

11:00 AM - Guided Family Ride departs

12:30 PM - Post ride Potluck/BYO cookout. Read more about Connecticut Trails Day Weekend Ride

Location

James L Goodwin State Forest

Chapter

Quiet Corner

Trail

Event Leader

Stacey Jimenez
QuietCornerNEMBA@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

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