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100%, this is a big message being push now. In fact many places are asking to be a destination, but consultants are cautioning how hard that can be and what it really means. Instead pushing communities to develop good trails that meet their needs, which may be a bigger economic boost when someone moves their family there and pays taxes and has a job and interacts with the local economy.
I think this is an interesting maturation of the "MTB Destination" model and frankly something that is more advantageous long term to build community vs. the very concentrated financial benefit flowing to a select few within the community. It is clear in the larger scale examples we have in VT that "assuming" or "hoping" the folks making money dump a good portion back into the community directly is a false assumption.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the difference with what you mentioned above is applying the "if you build it they will come" to actual residents vs. tourist visits. Of course with that comes development etc and the associated passion on both sides.
 

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I think this is an interesting maturation of the "MTB Destination" model and frankly something that is more advantageous long term to build community vs. the very concentrated financial benefit flowing to a select few within the community. It is clear in the larger scale examples we have in VT that "assuming" or "hoping" the folks making money dump a good portion back into the community directly is a false assumption.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the difference with what you mentioned above is applying the "if you build it they will come" to actual residents vs. tourist visits. Of course with that comes development etc and the associated passion on both sides.
The push here came from the struggling ski resort, a real estate office experiencing falling condo resale values, and struggling bike shop(s). They looked to market the non machine built trails for increased tourist visits. Green Woodlands in Dorchester w its massive private land/ single gracious owner, or a resort w deep pockets is the only way to build a sustainable tourist based trail systems. Clubs/resorts/shops here tried to/are trying to force this on the community's mostly no tool, ridden in built trails with continuing detrimental results. They should go to to ski resorts and build their flow trails, for 7.25/hr, and they can ride with all their new tourists bro brah's...:smallviolin:
 

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Discussion Starter #23
The push here came from the struggling ski resort, a real estate office experiencing falling condo resale values, and struggling bike shop(s). They looked to market the non machine built trails for increased tourist visits. Green Woodlands in Dorchester w its massive private land/ single gracious owner, or a resort w deep pockets is the only way to build a sustainable tourist based trail systems. Clubs/resorts/shops here tried to/are trying to force this on the community's mostly no tool, ridden in built trails with continuing detrimental results. They should go to to ski resorts and build their flow trails, for 7.25/hr, and they can ride with all their new tourists bro brah's...:smallviolin:
The places have all the amenities needed, and WANT the people there. We start limiting user numbers either per acre or mile of trail, per week. Residents have passes, just like the Jersey Shore. The overflow directed to the resorts areas. I really think Killington should be, and increasingly more, is the center for VTMTB. Bolton has an amazing opportunity to have a bunch of base-area Green Circle, Brown Sidewalk and could suck up a lot of traffic heading out to blow Perry Hill and Richmond to pieces every weekend.

Having most people drive to more concentrated locations also makes it viable to limit their local driving, which really is the issue. Drive to the resort. Park it. Good shuttles to town, and points of interest.
 

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The places have all the amenities needed, and WANT the people there. We start limiting user numbers either per acre or mile of trail, per week. Residents have passes, just like the Jersey Shore. The overflow directed to the resorts areas. I really think Killington should be, and increasingly more, is the center for VTMTB. Bolton has an amazing opportunity to have a bunch of base-area Green Circle, Brown Sidewalk and could suck up a lot of traffic heading out to blow Perry Hill and Richmond to pieces every weekend.

Having most people drive to more concentrated locations also makes it viable to limit their local driving, which really is the issue. Drive to the resort. Park it. Good shuttles to town, and points of interest.
Did you just describe kingdom trails?
 

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The places have all the amenities needed, and WANT the people there. We start limiting user numbers either per acre or mile of trail, per week. Residents have passes, just like the Jersey Shore. The overflow directed to the resorts areas. I really think Killington should be, and increasingly more, is the center for VTMTB. Bolton has an amazing opportunity to have a bunch of base-area Green Circle, Brown Sidewalk and could suck up a lot of traffic heading out to blow Perry Hill and Richmond to pieces every weekend.

Having most people drive to more concentrated locations also makes it viable to limit their local driving, which really is the issue. Drive to the resort. Park it. Good shuttles to town, and points of interest.
Yup, 100% agree. We spoke to that in letters, emails and "club" meetings only to be told we were uninformed, old school, and not in touch with what bikers want, and not allowed to "guide the club" about trails the didn't build, without a monetary payment to some out of state club. Unsurprisingly, 8 years later with no new trails built, public opinion soured, they are now clamoring for unraked trails, local networks staying local, and less strava/trailforks/social media publicity. Great for the realization, unfortunate that it had to come too late to get folks to realize the gem they had that is now on the way to ruined with the marketing and mapping they promoted.
 

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Yup, 100% agree. We spoke to that in letters, emails and "club" meetings only to be told we were uninformed, old school, and not in touch with what bikers want, and not allowed to "guide the club" about trails the didn't build, without a monetary payment to some out of state club. Unsurprisingly, 8 years later with no new trails built, public opinion soured, they are now clamoring for unraked trails, local networks staying local, and less strava/trailforks/social media publicity. Great for the realization, unfortunate that it had to come too late to get folks to realize the gem they had that is now on the way to ruined with the marketing and mapping they promoted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQiOA7euaYA
Development with no complete vision, including a finish line is fundamentally destructive. Always more always fails.
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQiOA7euaYA
Development with no complete vision, including a finish line is fundamentally destructive. Always more always fails.
Yup, Good song for a sad situation. Recently one of the bike shop owners/Nemba/borderlands promoters was on FB asking folks to not park at a certain area as the landowners were getting fed up with the numbers and was afraid of the trails getting closed down....sound familiar? Sad things have to get ruined to get people to realize the fragility of the trails or how good they had when trails were not promoted.
 

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Yup, Good song for a sad situation. Recently one of the bike shop owners/Nemba/borderlands promoters was on FB asking folks to not park at a certain area as the landowners were getting fed up with the numbers and was afraid of the trails getting closed down....sound familiar? Sad things have to get ruined to get people to realize the fragility of the trails or how good they had when trails were not promoted.
It's always the car-based bike culture that seems to be most negative impact to the community at large. Town trails become proxy bike parks. Limiting parking is the easy way to limit visitor use without impacting resident users. Clubs involved in marketing need to have a plan for cars and mitigating the predictable over-flow problems. A state wide ORG could, and should refrain from marketing any trails on private, or town land, and provide strong messaging about traffic and parking...and funnel people to resorts specifically. Sugarbush is another place that is already laced with single track and lift served, plus shuttle options. Stowe could easily brown sidewalk there way into Adam's Camp. Folks could ride from the resort to town or the HS mostly DH, and be shuttled back up to their condo/retail/restaurants. Making the entire state's networks of local trails into a resort-type amenity is not a good plan, by act 250 criteria, by the FPnR's own stated trail philosophy. By those metrics...commercial MTBing is destructive to the land, and to Vt's aesthetic, environment, economic equality, and community resources.
 

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Maybe you did nt need to put in the all the guide stone? I mean just a thought......no place else has them, they seemed to cause more erosion, The seem to cause people to go to the wrong side of the trail, and quite frankly well designed trail shouldnt need them. and SMBC ripped about 50-70 percent of them out this year from kimmers.

I do agree though, all the new trail building is cookie cutter. I never ride SMBC trail at all anymore, new stuff is meh, old stuff is over guide stoned.

CFN is tops, and the over saturation and confusing non signed 1000s of intersection is a great gate keeper to keep the riff raft out. So much flowier than anything being built new in the state these day, with the exception of Cochrans, Cochrans is the only new trail system worth riding in Vermont.
 

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Can you provide some examples of hand-built trails suitable for children and beginners that aren't just river paths and super short infield loops? I'm having a hard time thinking of something as fun and welcoming for beginners as Blueberry Lake that's hand-built.
Cricket Hill in hyde park, 2 hand built trails that are short but quite fun and one excuvated loop that is honestly fun.

Midlands - 3 miles of nice, not dead easy but fairly easy single track trails.

Cady Falls Nursery - huge mileage trail system(if you ride everything there you will easily ride 20 miles but tend to climb the same way over and over again) packed into a really small area. This one is more lower intermiedate to expert but the climbing if done correctly isnt bad, and has lots of very mellow flatish rolling terrain with features its also everything from the mellow to straight up GNAR and everything in between.

Hardwick trail - climby for beginner but probably worth it. My recommended route would be do the small beginner loop at the bottom, Descend Two Bridges, ride Middle School then climb up Wild West to Dave's Drop do Reggae Round-a-bout, then drop back down Dave's Dave is pretty fun trail to go down no matter your skill level, the only real challenge is the tight turns. IMO Rocky Top, and Drop in Bucket while not hard would be too hard for a beginner.

Here is some video from Dave's Trail.

https://youtu.be/QUra_X9JKEs?t=239

Saxon Hill - just ride Flo over and over again.
 

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Have most die hard, gnarled, dedicated trail builders/bikers truly benefitted (net gain) from the mentality of building easier trails (greens and blues) to "grow the sport"?

Have we improved our lot by moving away from the low impact, narrow, natural featured, un-buffed trails that drew fewer crowds, and would be unnoticed after a season of no riding, or even from simple leaf cover?


Is it worth the massive amount of labor and impact on the land to create wide, buffed, unnatural trails, versus just riding a back road or gravel grinding where the "trail" is already there?


I'm not certain. What do you think?
 

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Have most die hard, gnarled, dedicated trail builders/bikers truly benefitted (net gain) from the mentality of building easier trails (greens and blues) to "grow the sport"?

Have we improved our lot by moving away from the low impact, narrow, natural featured, un-buffed trails that drew fewer crowds, and would be unnoticed after a season of no riding, or even from simple leaf cover?


Is it worth the massive amount of labor and impact on the land to create wide, buffed, unnatural trails, versus just riding a back road or gravel grinding where the "trail" is already there?


I'm not certain. What do you think?
I think this will be the age old debate where there will probably always be a good number of folks on both sides of the fence.

IMHO all trail types have their benefits and pros/cons, from the view behind my bars I can say it certainly feels like the vast majority of any newer trail system is basically "sanitized" cookie cutter wider buff flowy trails. Fun? sure, but the lack of variety in trail design and trail building is very apparent.

The desire to leverage MTB trail systems as a draw for economic growth has also required newer systems to be able to handle much more volume and a wider spread of rider ability and the answer has leaned heavily towards machine built wider buffer "dirt sidewalks".

I like variety. I won't crap on the trail style of a KT or Cady Hill etc. as when I ride them I still smile and have fun but don't want every option to be like those. I love the fact that COVID has forced me to explore and rediscover some old school under the radar trail systems that are closer to what I started riding in the mid 90s.
 

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I think River is correct, the key is to a good area is to have both, assuming the area can hold both. Builders build what members of that community want. If you want Old school tech, then attend meetings and voice your opinions. If enough people ask for it, it’s what will be built.
 

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I personally enjoy riding Both the "Machine flow trails" as well as the old school stuff. An additional benefit to adding a few hand built trails, or no matter how the trail got there- with not to harsh climbing is they make Awesome Fat Bike trails for the winter months. I have found that the climbs have to be a lower grade for the bike with the "Monster Truck" tires. It's great fun and the Fat Bike is slow but when its 20 Below that's not a bad thing. JC
 

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I think the sad truth is, right now, the demographic and trends within the MTB population lean heavily to the flow related, heavily bermed roller trails and "shredding the brown pow" complete with endless Insta clips of powerslides through corners throwing the precious "brown pow" off the actual trail/tread. Sorry I still cringe at that stuff as I have had "anti" groups pull those up to prove MTB is as destructive as ripping a CR500 through their forest.

Seriously, count the number of Insta posts within the MTB community showing that type of trail and shredding vs. anything remotely technical/old school ( manufacturers, component makers, riders, apparel makers, marketing promoters, etc.) come on we all know I'm not the only one who follows them on Instagram and I am friggin old at 45 lol.

The reality is, if you show up at a "meeting" etc. as the voice supporting building more rake and ride "out back" technical XC/all mountain type trail you will be a lonely soul. Post a request for a trail day for a new flow trail or berm building session and you have to turn people away. Post one for a trail day for an 18" wide minimal impact rake and ride back country trail with a number of rock gardens and stream crossings to navigate and both people that show up (yes both) will be older than I am and holding onto the 1995 era vibe of begging for and nurturing land access.

If you want to draw people, the Audis with $15K of bikes on the back (no judgement as my wife and I can be lumped into that group as well if need be) and $1000 in their pocket for the weekend where they want to buy 48hrs of "The Vermont/NH Dream" then you build flowy dirt sidewalks so Junior who is 15 now and has never ever dealt with MTB land access as a privilege vs. a "right" and is positioning himself for one of the local slots on the Transition/Cannondale/Santa Cruz/Canyon etc. enduro team can shred away while Mom and Dad cruise along on the 36" wide Greens and Blues.

You either ride the wave, or duck under it and watch it pass as you wait for another wave you think might be more what you would like......

Quick Edit/Addition:
I think is also really a symptom of the changing demographic of MTB. 1990s/Early 2000s most folks looked at MTBers as dirty crazy misfits that "at least aren't riding dirt bikes back there" with a reputation of being a sweaty, dirty, smelly post ride nusance that were cheap and just wanted a beer and burrito.

Now, with the average bike passing the average price of a nice slightly used motorcycle and the more affluent crowd coming with it, suddenly we are a "market" worth targeting and lucrative to cater to. Welcome to 2020.......
 

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River pretty much nails it there.
Related to the kids bit, I find it concerning that my son -- who is loving biking now (a good thing) -- is drawn primarily toward the machine built. Anything with roots and he's like, why would you want to ride that, it hurts your hands!!! So, for me, there's a concern that we're redefining mountain biking (some would offer evolving) into something more digestible and that caters to a broader audience, providing greater access. I know its a stretch but the slow migration to ever-smoother wider trails reminds me of a John Stuart Mill attribution: "It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied." Where satisfying the human being might involve a little more investment of time, blood, and sweat upfront.
I also agree with a previous poster saying there's a place for all types -- I would just like to make a plea for the ALL part of the statement. And, frankly, I am beginning to see more trail not fitting the brown sidewalk designation!
 

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Y'all are just figuring out the past time you grew to love because it meant sacrifice and challenge and a bit of rogue-ness is now selling out to the masses?

I dunno what to tell you, go find something niche thing that hasn't been exploited?

I 100% understand folks concerns but I find them very unfounded, especially in New England. If someone were to undertake an exhaustive study of all trails with legal bike access, would bet the vast majority, **** maybe 80%, are still very traditional (aka, steep grades, tight turns, and plenty of tech). Remember, every trail not the AT or in Wilderness in the WMNF is open to bikes, go enjoy those.

Also, maybe none of you have traveled much or understand trails much.

I find myself on old roads people call trails all over the region, like they have no idea a dozer pushed all that material out of the way. They praise the "natural" texture without realizing years of freeze-thaw pushed those roots and rocks up in what used to be a road. They raked the road and thought they made a fun trail.

Many many trails across the country have been built with machines, trails wear. Dirt erodes. Rocks pop. Trust me, machine smooth doesn't stay machine smooth unless you work very hard at it (like rebuilding Cady every year).

Also I see many of our builders in the region using exes to build patios. Check out other regions and you'll find builders creating heavenly chunk and tech with the rocks at hand.

My point is yes MTB is changing, I think we all agree diversity in trail experiences is good, some might agree getting more people on bikes in the woods is good (many will not), but lets not act like its disappearing.

You used to like raking in a light touch line and drinking beers and riding with your buddies on the weekend in some secret zone? There is still a lot of that going on, and this region boasts a ton of that type of trail and attitude.
 

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Y'all are just figuring out the past time you grew to love because it meant sacrifice and challenge and a bit of rogue-ness is now selling out to the masses?

I dunno what to tell you, go find something niche thing that hasn't been exploited?

I 100% understand folks concerns but I find them very unfounded, especially in New England. If someone were to undertake an exhaustive study of all trails with legal bike access, would bet the vast majority, **** maybe 80%, are still very traditional (aka, steep grades, tight turns, and plenty of tech). Remember, every trail not the AT or in Wilderness in the WMNF is open to bikes, go enjoy those.

Also, maybe none of you have traveled much or understand trails much.

I find myself on old roads people call trails all over the region, like they have no idea a dozer pushed all that material out of the way. They praise the "natural" texture without realizing years of freeze-thaw pushed those roots and rocks up in what used to be a road. They raked the road and thought they made a fun trail.

Many many trails across the country have been built with machines, trails wear. Dirt erodes. Rocks pop. Trust me, machine smooth doesn't stay machine smooth unless you work very hard at it (like rebuilding Cady every year).

Also I see many of our builders in the region using exes to build patios. Check out other regions and you'll find builders creating heavenly chunk and tech with the rocks at hand.

My point is yes MTB is changing, I think we all agree diversity in trail experiences is good, some might agree getting more people on bikes in the woods is good (many will not), but lets not act like its disappearing.

You used to like raking in a light touch line and drinking beers and riding with your buddies on the weekend in some secret zone? There is still a lot of that going on, and this region boasts a ton of that type of trail and attitude.
I agree with you.

There is still variety out there, more under the radar. That being said variety isn't the "visible" marketed piece that is drawing the attention in the New England area at this point. That isn't necessarily a bad thing so things more low scale can remain local, and stay under the radar.

We've ridden up and down the East Coast and a little west of the "Big River" and enjoy the hell out of the trails spcifically not built to IMBA standards. Ride enough cookie cutter IMBA trails and you realize you literally are riding the same trail just in a different place.

I'm not naive enough to sit and ***** about how things are changing and wish for 1995 all over again......just recognizing the obvious marketing forces driving the trends with the highly visible trail being built. Most "visible" new trail additions have an eye on drawing $ to fuel their vision of "economic growth".

Meanwhile, as Icebox pointed out, there are small groups of locals in various pockets with differing levels of permission building trail, chunk, gnar, tech and XC just they have been for 30 years.......usually with the opposite intention of the "Marketing Forward" groups. They just want some fun stuff to ride for their own enjoyment, they don't have grand ideas of becoming the next Cady Hill, KT, WATA, VMBA, etc.

Solid discussion BTW.....
 

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Meanwhile, as Icebox pointed out, there are small groups of locals in various pockets with differing levels of permission building trail, chunk, gnar, tech and XC just they have been for 30 years.......usually with the opposite intention of the "Marketing Forward" groups. They just want some fun stuff to ride for their own enjoyment, they don't have grand ideas of becoming the next Cady Hill, KT, WATA, VMBA, etc.

Solid discussion BTW.....[/QUOTE]

Yes there are a few untouched areas left but they are under constant threat of exposure as the folks that do that sort of thing have zero respect and ego stuffed ears. When Pemi NEMBA finally abandoned their ill conceived Wanosha project as the USFS and their club president wanted to go with IMBA dirt sidewalks, everyone breathed a sigh of relief for the trails. 2 years passed and the trails were starting to resemble trails again. Now a new formed group is doing the exact same thing under a different name, but with many of the same players, and looking to expand knowledge of not only bike trails but perhaps also the "local" back country climbing/ bouldering and skiing areas. Sadly its a less organized, but more viral, 2012 NEMBA effort all over again.
 
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