Joe Milliken

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 or the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps at Photo courtesy of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association  Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Contact Joe at

Bellows Falls Football Reveals State Championship Banner

By Joe Milliken

The Bellows Falls Union High School football team recently
revealed their newest championship banner, after winning the 2010
Vermont Division III state title last fall. The Purple Gang players and
coaches also received championship jackets for their accomplishments.
The banner was unveiled before the start of a recent BF boys’
basketball game at Holland Gym in Westminster.
    During a convincing tournament run the Terriers’ first defeated
Oxbow at home, 33-8, before traveling to Castleton State College and
beating rival Windsor in the final game, 39-22. Bellows Falls went 8-3
overall on the season. The championship was the schools’ 11th state
football title  and the first for head coach Bob Lockerby, who took the
reins five seasons ago, after the retirement of long time Terrier coach
Bis Bisbee. Only Mount St. Joseph has more high school football
championships (12) in the state.
    The Terriers will certainly be looking to pull even with MSJ in the
football championship department, as the Purple Gang will return several
key players from this season’s title team, including quarterback Jeremy
Kilburn, running backs Joe Aslin, Bruce Wells, Cooper Long, Forest
Coleman and defensive back Will Bourne, among others. They also have
several up-and-coming players that got a taste of varsity football this
season, which should go a long way towards helping them create an impact
next season.
    “This is just a great night for the players and coaches,” coach
Lockerby told the crowd before the banner was unveiled. “These kids
worked extremely hard all year, and it’s a great feeling to bring
another football championship back to Bellows Falls.”

     Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls. Visit Joe at

Mill River Gets Win Over Bellows Falls Vermont By Joe Milliken

The Bellows Falls Union High School girls’ basketball team recently
hosted Mill River and looking for their second win of the year,
but Mill River had other ieas, taking an early first quarter
lead and never looking back in an easy but low-scoring, 39-17 win over
the Lady Terriers.
    However, this one was close early, as the Bellows Falls played a
solid 2-3 zone defense that helped keep the much bigger Mill River front line
out of the paint. Lady Minutemen senior guard Chelsea Bagly scored two
early baskets on drives to the hoop and junior forward Alyssa Turgeon
scored on a put-back for an early 8-point lead, before Bellows Falls
sophomore Enny Mustapha scored two baskets of her own on the inside, one
on a post-up move and the other off an offensive rebound.
    Because of good inside defense by BF, the Minutemen started swinging
the ball back outside for 3-pointers from senior captain Amanda Ley and
Bagley to extend the lead to 14-6 after a lay up from up-and-coming BF freshman
Emily Dufault halfway through the quarter.
    When Dufault had to sit down with her second foul and then
Mustapha with her second infraction, Mill River started hitting their free throws
and Bellows Falls started to lose the battle in the paint. “Emily
and Enny having to sit down with foul trouble early really hurt us
under the boards,” Bellows Falls coach Justin Aube would later say after
the game. “We started losing the rebound battle after we got in foul
    The Lady Minutemen continued to move the ball around well, taking jumpers
when they were there, and dumping it inside when the Terriers stretched their
defense. But after a Kya Coursen lay up with a minute left, the Lady
Terriers were alive going into the second quarter trailing 12.

     Early in the second quarter the Terriers squandered several
opportunities by turning the ball over on four straight possessions,
while the Minutemen turned three of those possessions into points on a
3-pointer from Taggart, a lay up from sophomore Trisha Burden and a
jumper from sophomore Nicole Ames. The lead had been pushed to 20-10,
causing the Bellows Falls to call a time out to stem the tide.
    After the time out, however, the sophomore Taggert would hit
three-of-four foul shots to end the half, giving Mill River a 23-10
lead. Taggert had seven points at the break for the Minutemen, while
Dufault had six for Bellows Falls, despite limited minutes.
    At the start of the third quarter, Turgeon and Bagley scored on
consecutive possessions and after another Bellows Falls turnover,
Ames hit a baseline jumper and the lead was up to 14 points halfway through the
quarter. Then things got a little rough when Terrier junior Emma Shaw was
was hit with a technical foul for a push after the whistle. One
free-throw was made and after a BF junior Sarah Dumont hit a 3-pointer
with time winding down, the score was 31-14 heading into the final
    The Lady Minutemen would continue to move the ball around the parameter,
effectively taking time off the clock while also creating good shots,
taking a 39-15 lead halfway through the quarter after another Ames’
3-pointer with a defender right in her face.
    Bellows Falls would keep working hard, getting four points down
the stretch from Coursen on a short jumper and two free throws, but it
would not be nearly enough as the Lady Minutemen came away with a 39-19
    “I think we did a pretty good job defensively, only giving up 39
points to a very good team, Bellows Falls coach Aube said after the game.
“Losing Emily (Dufault) early really took her out of her game for a
while, and then losing Enny (Mustapha) for a while at the end of the
first quarter was also tough to overcome.
    Nicole Ames led the way for Mill River with 10 points, while
Chelsea Bagley and Maureen Taggart each pitched in with six. Enny
Mustapha led the way for Bellows Falls with six points.
     Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Visit Joe at