A mountain bike group asks to extend the trail to the Minard pond | Local News

BELLOWS FALLS – The Windham County Trails Alliance wants to extend its growing network of recreational biking and hiking trails to Minard’s Pond, the municipal water source for Bellows Falls.

The group is currently building and developing a network of trails on private and village-owned land near Oak Hill and Griswold Drive.

Conor Floyd of the Windham County Trails Alliance told Bellows Falls village administrators on Tuesday evening that the group wanted to extend a trail 2 miles north of Minard’s Pond, to connect to an existing narrow trail that circles the pond. .

City Manager Scott Pickup said he’s not sure if there are any recreational restrictions on a municipal water source, but he’ll research and get back to Floyd.

The board, which controls Minard’s pond, seems open to the suggestion, but at the same time is concerned about whether mountain bikers would interfere with current use by walkers and dog walkers, who regularly use the trail around the 46 acre pond.

Minard’s Pond has been the village’s water source since at least 1848, according to records in the Rockingham Free Public Library. The pond includes a 700 foot long dam.

Floyd didn’t have answers to many of the questions the administrators had for him, and he apologized and said he would be back.

“I will keep coming back,” he said.

He said the trail alliance was not interested in cutting down trees to create the trail, but in moving downed trees.

Building a 2-mile trail is hard work, he said, and making it as easy as possible is the goal.

Administrators said they wanted to see “trail etiquette” signs posted so runners know what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Bellows Falls Village President Deborah Wright said the village has not promoted Minard’s Pond for recreational purposes out of concern for water protection.

According to a section of the Bellows Falls Charter, approved by the Vermont Legislature, fishing, swimming, camping, hunting, skating, snowmobiling, and ATV use, as well as wood cutting, are prohibited in the region. No pets are allowed to swim in the pond and pets must be under control at all times, the legislature has decreed.

The group already has an agreement with the village on the use of the village forest on Oak Hill.

Floyd said the group may have to cut down trees in order to build the trail to Minard’s Pond, but he reassured administrators that cutting down trees was not what they wanted to do.

“We try to avoid that. It’s more work,” he said.

The trail currently starts at the top of the Bellows Falls ski lift hill, and over Oak Hill, and back to Reese Circle, a housing estate at the top of Griswold Drive.

He said the group was working with two private landowners who the group would need to cross to reach the pond.

He said the group had already obtained permission from one of the landowners needed for an earlier trail project.

Administrator Wade Masure asked Floyd what type of liability insurance the group would give the village if it used village land. He said the village, as he understood it, did not have the same immunity from liability as a private landowner.

Masure also wanted to know if the group would be building jumps or other features on the Minard’s Pond trail.

Floyd said the alliance is interested in building trails for expert riders as well as beginners. The alliance has already provided the village with a certificate of insurance for the use of the village forest, Floyd said, trying to answer Masure’s question.

Comments are closed.