2023 Flood Response
Roughly a few weeks out from a historic storm that dropped 8+ inches of rain across much of the State, affected communities are slowly shifting from emergency response to clean up and recovery. We will update this page as the recovery takes shape and VMBA’s role evolves.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, VMBA focused entirely on supporting communities, including directing donations to funds solely focused on their recovery. While communities remain at the heart of our collective recovery, numerous public and private programs are now in place, and significant funding is available for homeowners and businesses.
While impacted communities will continue to need our support for weeks and months to come, we are turning a portion of our organizational attention to restoring damaged trail networks and supporting infrastructure that helps these communities thrive. Our Chapters are conducting assessments Statewide on flood-related damages, and we are preparing to deploy our Major Storm Recovery Fund (MSRF) to quickly implement repairs where needed.
While we have squirreled away approximately $15,000 for such projects, the emerging reports indicate that will not nearly be enough. We encourage you to consider donating to the MSRF to help ensure we can bring all of our impacted networks back online and upgrade drainage, culverts, and bridges to withstand the next storm better.
How You Can Help
- Volunteer: You can register to volunteer at the State level or check out this list of resources and opportunities that includes town-specific volunteer opportunities. We have also opened up our Reward Volunteers program to include any hours folks contributed to the flood recovery.
- Donate to the relief effort:
- Local: Check out our growing list of resources and opportunities for local fundraising efforts.
- Trails: Please consider supporting our Major Storm Recovery Fund to help our Chapters bring trails back online following a catastrophic weather event.
- Pride Rides: Their entire fleet of bikes and gear was submerged during the flood. You can support them by adding them as a Community Builder to your VMBA membership or donating directly to Pride Rides.
- Support affected Chapters: Add-on one (or more) of our most affected Chapters to your VMBA membership – or make them your Primary Chapter if you are not yet a member. 100% of add-on revenue goes to the selected Chapter(s), and becoming a member will keep you in the loop with local recovery efforts and stewardship opportunities. Chapters in the hardest hit areas include LAST (Ludlow), MAMBA (Montpelier), Millstone (Barre), WATA (Waterbury), RMT (Richmond), and JAMBA (Jamaica).
- Support affected outdoor businesses: Many retailers throughout the State suffered catastrophic flood damage, including Onion River Outdoors in Montpelier and Vermont Bicycle Shop in Barre. Local bike shops are an essential part of our riding community and we encourage you to donate to help them reopen (here for Onion River and here for Vermont Bicycle Shop). Now is also a great time to buy a gift card to one of these shops for your future gear needs.
Please consider the following before you plan any outdoor activities over the coming weeks:
- Know before you go. Check trail conditions before you head out the door. Note the date when conditions were most recently updated, as our Chapters might be preoccupied with aiding their communities and restoring their networks.
- If you leave a track, turn back. Soils are saturated, and conditions can change rapidly, so even networks listed as ‘open’ could be unrideable when you arrive. We ask you to help us prevent further damage to the trails and, potentially, landowner relationships.
- Avoid heavily impacted areas. While trails may reopen in hard-hit areas, much of the infrastructure in these areas has been damaged. Please allow space and time for these communities to recover.
- Use caution. Consider any open trails as ‘open with caution’ for the immediate future. Landslides, sinkholes, and other hazards from the historic precipitation can be hard to detect in advance.
- Ride conservatively. Search & rescue crews and other first responders remain occupied with the storm’s aftermath. Please help alleviate the need to respond to another incident, particularly as response times are likely delayed, and encourage others to limit their risks.
- Be aware of ongoing travel constraints. Many roads throughout the state remain closed – some indefinitely. Consider your route in advance and consult NewEngland511 for State road issues and local officials for town road conditions. Do not travel over water-covered roadways.
Our friends at VT Forests, Parks, & Recreation have also put together a Recreation After the Flood page on recreating responsibly in the wake of the storm that we highly encourage everyone to bookmark.
Where Can I Ride?
The great news is that many networks avoided major damage and either are open or should reopen soon. The less great news is that soils remain saturated and additional rainfall can quickly lead to trail closures. As always, we strongly encourage everyone to check our Trail Conditions page, which connects you to the latest reports from our 29 Chapters. We do suspect there will be longer-term closures at trail systems surrounding Montpelier, Hardwick, Ludlow, and other hard-hit areas.
We will continue to update this page, our events calendar, and social media as additional event announcements are made.
Welcome to riding in Vermont! Like you, we have a passion for mountain biking and the amazing trail networks Vermont has to offer. Hit us up if you have general feedback or just want to share your stoke. See you on the trails!