Vermont Mountain Bike Trail Awarded Funding For Bike Trails

By Joe Milliken

    Through the partnership and hard work of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), the United States Forest Service (USFS) is allocating some $154,000 to create new and improve existing mountain bike trails, as well as increasing bike access throughout the Green Mountain National Forest.  The focus of this project is to improve sustainable mountain biking locations which are compatible with other outdoor activities in order to help diversify the states’ recreational facilities.

     The VMBA is a non-profit organization based in Waterbury, dedicated to promoting trail advocacy through education, planning, funding, establishing and maintaining multi-use trails throughout Vermont. They endorse responsible, environmentally sensible trail use and the creation of community recreation trail networks. The VYCC is also a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation and education organization that instills the values of personal responsibility, hard work and respect for the environment.

    The allocation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be used to build a nine-mile mountain bike trail dubbed the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail. The trail will start and end at the Silver Lake campground in Goshen, with the trail work taking place in Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, which is a congressionally designated area within the National Forest.

    The new trail will also be accessible from Branbury State Park in Brandon and the Blueberry Hill Ski Center in Goshen, while the VMBA will continue to provide project management and oversee all of the crews performing the construction of the trails. They have been partnering with the USFS for over three years on the project and are looking towards a completion date of fall, 2012.

   “We have been partnering with the USFS for three years on this project and we saw good progress in 20010, through the hard work of VYCC crews and we are delighted with this funding allocation for 2011,” VMBA Executive Director Patrick Kell said in a recent press release statement. “We expect to see the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail completed or close to it, by the fall of 2011. A big thanks to the USFS for their vision in developing this trail.” The new trail will offer a unique destination, due to the combination of trails along the shores of Silver Lake, a ridgeline trail on Chandler Ridge, fascinating geology in Leicester Hollow and camp ground facilities at Silver Lake, with the aforementioned additional access from Branbury State Park.

    The Vermont Department of Tourism is also jumping on the bike trail theme, realizing the potential in which mountain biking promotes the Green Mountain State.”Mountain bike tourism is the perfect fit for our Vermont Brand,” Megan Smith stated in a recent press release. Smith is the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism.  “It encompasses the use of our natural landscape while promoting good health and family fun. As we expand our venues for mountain biking we will be contributing to local economies in areas that might not have already had a focus on outdoor recreation, therefore, bringing in new types of business.”

   The VMBA works very hard to not only create new mountain bike trails throughout the state, but also to improve existing trails. Some of the other current VMBA projects include the Adams Camp Ride Center in the Stowe-Waterbury area, Rocky Point Chandler Ridge Trail and the Riverside Farm Trails in Pittsfield. To learn more about the Vermont Mountain Bike Association visit www.vmba.org or the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps at www.vycc.org. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association  Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Contact Joe at www.jemwriting.com

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