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Important Advocacy Update!

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Please take the time to read if you care about trails in Vermont…

The VT Trails and Greenways Council is working to coordinate a unified message to state leadership regarding Act 250 and its impact on trails, landowners and municipalities.

In brief, Act 250 is land use and development law that has meant a lot to Vermont since its inception in 1970. We’ve learned a lot in 50 years and it’s time to evaluate how the law intersects with trails.

It’s important that we send a clear massage that acknowledges the role Act 250 plays in keeping Vermont beautiful, but also encourages the commission to consider its application relative to landowners and trails going forward. Act 250 for many landowners is a deal breaker. Private land accounts for over 70% of Vermont – we need to actively advocate for our landowners – particularly if we are to realize our vision of connected networks.

The Trails and Greenways Council will dig into the specifics of definitions, rules and regulations with the legislature. What we’re seeking from you is general support and input that highlights the positive role of trails in Vermont.

The Agency of Natural Resources is hosting two more regional summits to gather input about about Act 250, including its impact on trails in Vermont. The Commission on Act 250: “The Next 50 Years” was established by the Vermont Legislature to work on modernizing Act 250. It’s very important that the Commission hear voices of the trails and outdoor recreation community during this process.

VMBA and the Council fully supports the work of the Commission as conservation and environmental protection are core values for all of us. However, we are also concerned because Act 250 regulation can and has created confusion, expensive and time consuming obstacles to improving and maintaining your trails.

It is critical that any potential reforms consider the irreplaceable benefits of Vermont trails. We must inform our legislators and state leadership charged with modernizing the law understand that support of the trails and volunteers is required at this time. Creating cumbersome and confusing obstacles for the landowners, towns, nonprofits and volunteers that create, build and maintain virtually all of the trail infrastructure for the public good will have tremendously negative impacts.
Over 70% of our trails are hosted and maintained on private land and made possible through 100,000+ volunteer hours annually. We need to actively advocate for our private landowners and our visions of trail connectivity.

There are two regional summits remaining:

  • Rutland – Sept. 5 – 6-8 pm, Franklin Conference Center
  • Burlington Sept. 12 – 6-8 pm, Burlington Elks Lodge, 925 North Ave

At a summit or through the online survey , please share all of your reasons for supporting appropriate trail building criteria going forward. The multiple choice sections on the survey cover a wide range of environmental and development issues, so we suggest you use one or two of the short answer sections to voice concerns specific to trails. Please consider highlighting some of the following information:

  • Trails are invaluable pathways to better health, rural economic stability and conservation in Vermont
  • Cumbersome permitting fees attached to “development” are a deal breaker for nonprofits. Our trail infrastructure is not built by volunteers for commercial purposes
  • Trail organizations and users are conservationists, completely dedicated to environmentally friendly and sustainable trails
  • Over 70% of trails are on private land – we need regulation that will support their generosity and encourage even more trails and conservation
  • Trails have a low environmental impact with great benefits, including the inspiration of greater conservation and environmental protection. Therefore, trails should not be considered “development”and lumped into the same regulation categories as other construction projects
  • Currently, Act 250 limits Vermont’s ability to fully realize the benefits that could come with greater support for trails and outdoor recreation
  • Trails and outdoor recreation not only make
  • Vermonters healthier with over 72% of Vermonters participating, but they also provide over 50 thousand, or roughly 1 in 7, of the jobs in Vermont (Outdoor Industry Association)

take the ACT 250 SURVEY

THE ROCK POINT AND ARMS FOREST COALITION

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unnamedFELLOWSHIP OF THE WHEEL &

THE ROCK POINT AND ARMS FOREST COALITION

A Community Partnership balancing Conservation and Public Access

The Fellowship of the Wheel is proud to announce a partnership with the Rock Point and Arms Forest Coalition. Our shared goal is the long-term conservation of an ecological treasure comprising Rock Point and Arms Forest on the Burlington waterfront. The Fellowship supports the ecological scoping study and community input process that will determine the future uses of these lands. Should the assessments determine that the Arms Park area is favorable for a multi-use trail system, our goal as a partner is to bring our experience in trail sustainability and land stewardship to the Arms Forest while making outdoor recreation accessible to more diverse groups of people, especially with regard to ability, age and location.

Currently, the Arms Forest trail system is used by local residents for walking, running and biking, but there is no formalized public access and signage is minimal. In addition, there are rogue trails in need of re-routing or closure that currently infringe on some rare natural communities of plant and animal species. By utilizing sustainable trail practices and educational measures such as interpretive signage and mapping, the Fellowship aims to aid in the long-term stewardship, protection, and enjoyment of Arms Park.

A possible outcome is that driving to a trailhead will no longer be a requirement to access multi-use trails for Burlington residents. This project will also benefit local  businesses who may use this recreational asset as a draw for recruiting employees from outside the area, as it adds a valuable and much-needed recreational trail network to the city of Burlington.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

The Coalition is close to its goal of raising approximately $900,000 needed for the purchase of property, conservation easements, educational signage and upgraded trail infrastructure, but there is still approximately $40,000 more to raise for this project. Fortunately, we have an anonymous donor who will match dollar for dollar every new donation given to help us reach our goal! This is exciting news for all of us involved in this wonderful project, and will make our final push to the end of the campaign much easier. This project will benefit the current natural community of plants and animals that live within Arms Forest and Rock Point as well as the lives of those who live and work in Burlington by providing access to recreational and educational opportunities in an urban wilderness. Please consider a generous donation and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to have your contribution doubled.

To donate, visit the “Donate” link on http://www.parksfoundationburlington.org and select “Fellowship of the Wheel” when making a donation.

Public press release: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Press/rock-point-and-arms-forest-coalition-goal-conserve-and-steward-with-improved-public-access-for

For more information or questions, please contact us at fotwheel@gmail.com

 

Saxon Hill Parking on Thompson Drive is Open!

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From the Essex Zoning office:

“Great news – the new temporary parking lot is now open at the end of Thompson Drive. Once you come to the end of the pavement on Thompson Drive, it turns to gravel – continue straight and the lot is a short distance down the gravel road on the right. Be careful as construction is being done to extend Thompson Drive and to build Red Clover Drive. In addition to those trucks running the road, the sand extraction project is ongoing and also has trucks that run down the road and by the parking lot. If you see a gate (open or closed) do not go through it as the public entrance stops at the parking lot!

Also, the parking lot located at the top of Saxon Hill has been reduced in parking spots. Parking is not longer allowed in front of the house at the top of the hill. Cars will be towed if they are parked in the fire lane. Let’s be mindful of the neighbors!

Thanks all and have a great day!”

King Kage Mud Flask

Vermont Mountain Bike Holiday Gift Guide

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Our local bike shops know us better than anybody. They know what we need, but more importantly they know what we want – usually before we do. So we asked them for their best gift ideas for mountain bikers and here’s what they think should be on our wishlists this year.

 

nite rider lightFor the Seasonally Unaffected Rider
NiteRider Lumina OLED 950 Boost Head Light, $109.99
As lights get better, short winter days grow weaker! Stop by SkiRack and become a nocturnal ninja with this new light from NiteRider featuring a digital display showing battery percentage and blasting out nearly 1,000 lumens of day-making light.

https://www.skirack.com/niterider-lumina-oled-950-boost-head-light-qbplt9368

 

 


King Kage Mud Flask
For the Recreational Rider
King Kage Mud Flask, $35
It’s always 5 o’clock underneath your saddle when you’re packing this Colorado made, stainless steel flask. The folks at Old Spokes Home have what you need to be the life of the trail party.

http://shop.oldspokeshome.com/king-cage-andrews-design-works-king-cage-mud-flask.html

 

BorealisFor the Very Well-Behaved Rider
Borealis Fat Bikes, $1799-$6400
When your list is feeling a bit light, fatten it up with a visit to Earl’s Cyclery to demo a Borealis Fat Bike. You’d better have been nice to deserve one of these, but Earl’s will help you maintain some cred with a bad-as custom build.

https://www.fatbike.com/​

 

 

topeak pumpFor the Perpetually Pumped Rider
Topeak Mt Mini Morph Frame Pump, $39.95
This packable pump features a pull-out foot platform and long, flexible hose so you’ll spend less time airing up, and more time airing it out. It makes a great upgrade to your current kit, or gift for the rider who’s still assembling one. Pick it up at OGE and grab a tube for good measure.

https://www.gearx.com/topeak-mt-mini-morph-frame-pump

 

vmba logoFor the Rider Who Supports The Trails
2018 FOTWheel and VMBA Gift Membership, $50.41
Start the season by supporting your local trails and enjoy the perks of membership all year long. Riders will be notified via email of their gifted membership after January 1st and will receive their welcome packet in April. Literally the gift that keeps on giving, and gives back!

Email Allison at VMBA for details on gift memberships.

Where’d It Get That Name #2 – Passing the Horizon

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How does one pass the horizon? The horizon is always out ahead of you, just at the edge of your vision. As you approach it, it moves farther away, like a dog chasing its tail.

What kind of name is this for a mountain bike trail?!?!

We had to ask Hans Jenny, Fellowship founder and Passing the Horizon trail builder, how this HTF classic got its name.

“Passing the Horizon is the name of a self-defense technique from my years of studying Kempo Karate,” said Hans. “I thought it described the trail perfectly at the time.”

How exactly this Karate technique applies to a mountain bike trail, we’re not sure. So the next time you see Hans out on the trail or at a Fellowship event, ask him to demonstrate the technique to you and maybe it’ll all make sense.

If you want to learn how to do it yourself, below is a video demonstrating this technique.

Where’d It Get That Name #1 – Wolf Tree

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Ever wonder where your favorite trails got their names? There certainly are some peculiar ones out there that can leave your imagination wandering. In this series, we talk to the trail builders themselves to get the skinny on some of the stranger trail names from around the Fellowship’s network. 

#1 – Wolf Tree

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Situated on the border of the Hinesburg Town Forest near the Carse property lies the expert trail Wolf Tree. This short but stacked trail features some of the area’s gnarlier features and it just received some love from our Pro Trail Crew. Riders have guessed that the trail was named after a single tree resembling a wolf. Others thought maybe there was a tree along the trail hosting a family of wolves in its hollowed-out trunk. While the more dendrology-savvy readers out there, or those with a penchant for New England history, may already know where the name Wolf Tree came from.

We turned to Hans Jenny, one of the trail’s original builders to get the 411. According to Hans, “Wolf Trees are trees that are left to mark a boundary line. Shortly after Wolf Tree leaves Dragon’s Tail it goes by a couple of these giant old trees. If one stops one can see these old growth trees in a line that were never cut! Awesome trees!”

Years ago, much of Vermont was clearcut for farming. These “Wolf Trees” were the few trees left standing, so they naturally grew wider and thicker than trees that grow in densely packed areas. Since they stood alone, the trees would often get struck by lightning causing them to split off in many directions. This gives them that kind of weeping, short, thick, frayed appearance. Sometimes you see them along rock walls marking property boundaries or in the middle of open fields, throwing shade for a herd of grazing cows.

So now you know.

You can read more about Wolf Trees here.

preacher bridge

FOTW Pro Trail Crew Kicks Off June Dropping Berms

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Good news for all those Care Hills fans out there, especially the clergy of The Preacher.  On Wednesday, 6/6, the FOTW Pro Trail Crew went up Preacher and weed whacked the Vast trail and logging roads for easier climbing to the top of Preacher.  We replaced a 30” bridge that was tipping over and added a reroute to it near the bottom of Preacher above Crucible in a very consistently wet area. The new reroute flows better and keeps you dry heading into the rocky features on Crucible.

preacher bridge

After that, the Pro Trail Crew moved up Preacher and reshaped, rebuilt, and created more smooth-turning berms from the top of Preacher to Crucible.  Much like the revamped berms of Voodoo Child that were constructed last week. Normally these berms take anywhere from 4 -8 hours to build.  The Pros did 5 in one day. Way to go trail crew! Become a member so you can access the network map (you’ll need it) and plan a big ride out here soon (conditions permitting, of course).

Reshaped berms on Preacher!

Reshaped berms on Preacher!

Thanks to those who support the FOTW through their membership, especially those who purchase our 5-pack deal or above.  That type of support allows this highly skilled crew to get out there and get that type of work done in one day.  Spread the word to donate and support the trail crew for continued high-end construction. Thanks!

Carse Hills Trail Day and Updates from the Pro Trail Crew

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FOTW Volunteer Trail Day at Carse Hills
Where: Parking on Lincoln Hill Rd (Please drive 30mph and no dogs please)
When: 9 am – 12 noon
Why: Work On Henry’s Highlands to repair damage from logging operations
RSVP on Facebook

This Saturday from 9-12 the FOTW Pro Trail Crew and volunteers will be doing trail improvements to Henry’s Highlands. One group will start up the trail and improve knick outs and erosion areas for water to escape the trail. Then they will join the group up top on the ridge to finish connecting the trail.

The second group will hike to the ridge and begin working where the trail crew installed a bridge at the beginning of the area that was logged last season. Several areas will be rerouted to move the trail off the existing logging road that was created.

Please be prepared for bugs, sun and some hard work. FOTW will supply tools for mostly benching, clearing and creating run-off areas for water. Please bring sunscreen (no more trees so it’s very sunny at the top), bug spray, gloves,water and a snack. We think we can get the entire trail done by the time we leave. Then we can open the entire Carse network!

The entire network has had the leaves blown off, drainage opened up, bridges fixed on Preacher, 28 trees removed and trail pruning taken care of.  The only area that needs some TLC is Crucible which we will get to in the next two weeks. Some of the ramps and landings need replacing.

Carse Kids 2

This past week the FOTW Pro Trail Crew had 40 South Burlington Freshman students work for a half day improving trail tread, pruning and carrying all the wood for the bridge to the top of the ridge.  Thanks SBHS

Carse Kids 1

FOTW will supply snacks and beverages after we are done. We look forward to seeing you there.  Please bring a friend who may ride the area and who is not a member so they can see how much goes in to your trails.  Thanks everyone and look forward to seeing you.

A few notes about Parking at Carse Hills:

Our popular high end mountain bike network at Carse Hills bridges two roads; from the north Lincoln Hill and the south Hollow Road.  If riding up Henry Highlands, you will be on Lincoln Hill road,  please park well off to the side near the logging road entrance but DO NOT block the entrance in case a large truck needs to remove the existing logs at the platform.  There is an entrance sign there that allows you to know if the network is open or closed.  Also best if everyone could park facing west.  Be aware of cars, trucks and walkers up and down the road.  Be responsible as always and try to get into the field  as soon as possible as opposed to hanging in the road.

On the Hollow road side parking is a challenge. There is no parking at the gate entrance to the trails, no parking in that large lot below the gate and no parking east on Hollow road where the water outtake is for fire engines. Also the bump-out area on the Big Hollow Road where it intersects Hollow Road is also not a designated parking area.  The preferred and only legal area is 1.9 miles past the entrance headed east towards 116 on the right side.  There are now signs an it is a grassy flat area with gravel in the lot.

We are in discussion to open some of these areas up in the near future, so adhering to these guidelines will assist us greatly in this process.

Thank you for your help and as always be responsible and polite.