Fellowship Wheel

Our new Vision and Mission

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We can’t look forward into the future without sharing our new vision and mission statement. It may look quite straight forward, but much behind the scenes work went into it. It was built from the advice, knowledge, and experiences of FOTW and VMBA members and riders, FOTW board members, community partners and sponsors, and trail organizations and outdoor recreation professionals from outside of Vermont.

VISION:
-To make Chittenden County the best place to live and ride.

MISSION:
-To provide mountain bike and multi-use trails for everyone in Chittenden County.
-To advocate for mountain biking and sustainable trail-based recreation.
-To invite the whole community to come outside.

LONG TERM WORK TO DO:
– Help create more trailheads and trail systems within riding distance from densely populated areas which are suitable for children, families and aMTB riders.
– Improve connectivity throughout all FOTW and adjacent trail networks.
– Create space in programming and infrastructure that is inviting for all people of all identities, including but not limited to: families and children, people of color, women, new Americans, LGBTQIA communities, and people living with disabilities.
– Maintain the nature and quality of trails that have been part of FOTW for a long time, and explore new options for one or more expert level downhill/enduro style trail with large optional technical trail features, eg. drops, gaps, very steep sections, and rock roll downs.

Catamount Family Outdoor Center is now an VMBA “add-on”!!!

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News from Catamount!

a few more tid-bits…
  • With the new town-owned Catamount Community Forest, pedestrian use is now free, but biking requires a membership.
  • Did you know that 1/3 of Catamount business is the summer camps and 1/3 of it’s XC skiing in the winter and 1/3 is summer memberships and races?

It time to join or renew your membership for 2019!

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The 2019 membership stickers are here!

This means mountain bike season is just around the corner, so become a member or renew now! We’ve got new benefits for 2019, including discounts at Burlington Physical Therapy and Yoga for Mountain Bikers & Cyclists w/ Lo Storer at Sangha Studio. And, a shout-out to Websticker in Stowe for these sweet stickers!

Renew your membership here: https://www.fotwheel.org/join/

 

Hunting Season Trail Closures

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Hinesburg Town Forest, Mobbs Farm and Carse Hills will close at the end of the day on Friday, November 2nd. Hinesburg and Mobbs will be closed for riding through the entire hunting season until December 25th, and Carse will remain closed until Spring.

At Saxon Hill, hunting is allowed in areas that are not posted, but the trails will remain open.
Hunting is not permitted at Mud Pond, Sunny Hollow and Sleepy Hollow.

Regardless of where hunting is allowed, it is always important to wear blaze orange and bright colors during hunting season.

 

For more info from VT Fish and Wildlife, go to:  https://vtfishandwildlife.com/hunt/hunting-and-trapping-seasons

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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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!”

The town of Essex is looking for resident’s feedback on firearms…

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Do you live in Essex? The town sent us this info to share with FOTW members who live in Essex:

“The Town of Essex is considering making changes to our Firearms Discharge Ordinance. To obtain public input, we will be utilizing the services of PlaceSpeak (https://www.placespeak.com/en/topic/5771-discussion-of-the-firearms-ordinance-essex-vt/#/overview). With PlaceSpeak, you can provide feedback on perspectives about the use of firearms in multi-use areas, sports shooting, hunting, and more. You can also take a short survey and review some resources about this issue.

We chose to use PlaceSpeak because it allows residents to meaningfully engage with others in a safe, secure, and privacy-respecting way. PlaceSpeak uses a unique geo-verification technology to ensure that only Essex residents are allowed to weigh in. The authentication process deters negative behavior such as trolling or spamming, facilitating a respectful environment for online dialogue and engagement.

With privacy and data concerns at the forefront of people’s minds, PlaceSpeak ensures that users’ personal information is kept secure. As a Privacy by Design ambassador, privacy measures have been built into the very architecture of the platform. The information that is used to authenticate participants is never shared, sold or otherwise distributed – not even with the Town of Essex.

PlaceSpeak is the primary method of engaging public input. Opportunities to learn more about this topic include:

-Information booth at Sand Hill Park – Thursday, June 21, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 208 Sand Hill Road, Essex. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.

-Information booth at Five Corners Farmers’ Market – Wednesday, June 27, 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at 3 Main Street, Essex Junction. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.

-Information booth at Essex Free Library – Saturday, July 14, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at 1 Browns River Road, Essex. Staff member(s) will be available to provide information, clarification, and updates about the process and online forum.

-Public Forum – Thursday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., location TBD. An opportunity to reconvene in person before the online public comment forum closes. Participants will have a chance to review preliminary reports and trends resulting from the online engagement tools and share impressions of the public comment to-date. The public comment period on PlaceSpeak will officially close at midnight on July 22.

Self-guided site visits to areas that may be affected by any changes to the ordinance – generally speaking, Indian Brook Park, Saxon Hill Forest, and the north-central part of Essex – are being offered through July 22. Links to the site visits can be found here: https://www.essex.org/firearms.

The Selectboard will consider the results of the resident input in deciding whether or not to make any changes to the ordinance. Any ordinance changes will go through the proper process, which includes public meetings and at least one public hearing. Meetings about any ordinance changes will be scheduled during the late summer or early fall.”

Join us or Renew your membership, and you can select Catamount Outdoor Family Center as an "add-on" for 2019! Join or Renew here