Thank you for your patience and respect for each others’ safety and for trail closures. Together, the office and chapters understand that outdoor recreation is a big part of your daily routine. To help keep each other safe and the trails open per the local chapter’s discretion, we ask that you follow the guidelines presented here. As we continue our efforts to protect each other until COVID-19 is under control, trail etiquette is more important than ever. Thank you!
- Know Before You Go – Observe trail closures by checking trail conditions before you go.
- Keep Your Distance & Slow the Spread – While on trail, maintain social distancing of at least two bike lengths. Keep a buff and gloves on you for any kind of interaction with other riders including potentially helping another rider that needs your assistance. Please observe all CDC Guidelines.
- Party of One – Ride solo or in small groups.
- Ride Local – Stay close to home as much as possible. Either ride your bike to the trail or stay within your community.
- Go With the Flow – Carefully observe trail directions. This helps riders minimize interaction with other trail users. If you do pass another rider, announce your presence, give the other rider time to adjust, and pass with distance. Please be patient with each other.
- Ride-N-Go – Please do not congregate in the parking lot before/after rides or at intersections/transitioning areas on trails.
- Leash ‘Em – Keep dogs on a leash, or leave them at home.
- Lower the Gnar – Ride well within your limits to help avoid injury.
- Beat the Peak – Some parking areas may be limited. If a parking area is full, find another nearby network to ride or come back later. If possible, do your best to try to ride outside of peak times.
- No Sharing – Do not share bikes, tools, gloves, helmets, etc.
If you have any questions please contact your local chapter and/or the VMBA office. Links to every chapter can be found at VMBA Chapters on our website and the list of Closed Chapters during COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19 Response. In the meantime, don’t forget to renew your membership. On behalf of every Chapter and the office, thank you for your ongoing consideration for each other and the trails.
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has provided tips to recreate locally and stay safe outdoors during this public health emergency.
VMBA Update 4/21/2020:
The office has been working with the Vermont Trail Alliance, Forests Parks and Recreation (FPR) and 28 chapters across the state. Additionally, many chapters have long-standing relationships with Town Managers.
Out of concern for public health, it is important to note that the Governor’s stay-at-home order runs through May 15th. Until April 20th, trail work was not allowed. As such, many trails have not been prepped for summer riding season. It’s also the case that multiple trails are still experiencing mud season.
We understand there is confusion around which resource is accurate regarding trail closures. Every entity is being pressured to “make a statement.” It takes time to coordinate messaging. We’re in unprecedented times – everyone is doing the best they can. We also recognize that people want to get out.
The stay-at-home order has some nuance that has inspired some rangy interpretation. The order asks folks to stay at home, but everyone is encouraged to get outside. The guidelines also ask people to stay within 10 miles of home. Through recent correspondents with FPR, the 10 mile guideline is for those driving their vehicles. If you’re running, walking or riding, the 10 mile limit does not apply. Social distancing, staying home if you feel sick and washing your hands regularly still applies.
We also have read the same conflicting open/closure updates from some Town Managers. Multiple chapters have agreements that allow chapters to build on town land if trails are multi-purpose so a wide scope of users can enjoy the trails. On occasion, trails may be open to walkers and not MTbers. The VMBA office cannot speak as to why a town would make this call.
Folks are also wondering if chapters can close trails on state land. The short answer is yes – chapters can close trails on state land in coordination with FPR.
Presently, the most definitive source of information regarding trail closures is on VMBA’s COVID-19 Response page on our website. This list is informed by the chapters and is updated daily. Regardless of what is seen on STRAVA, trail apps, social media, etc. the list on vmba.org is the list of closures managed by chapters. If a chapter is not listed, please don’t assume they are open. Please take a minute to double check their website for the latest updates regarding mountain bike usage.
This is a hard time for a lot of Vermonters. The VMBA office is encouraging everyone to make only one assumption – that everyone is acting with good intentions and is doing the best they can. This is a big ask – we get it, especially while you exercise patience and wait for the green light to ride. If you do, your first sunny day out will be all that much sweeter and you’ll know in your guts that you did the right thing for your fellow rider and trails.
As of April 20, 2020, Governor Scott has directed the Agency of Commerce, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety, to authorize new work safe additions to the stay home, stay safe order. Within that update, it states that those who exclusively or largely work outdoors (such as civil engineering, site work, exterior construction, skilled trades, public works, energy and utility work, mining, forestry, environmental monitoring, landscaping, painting, tree work, parks maintenance, delivery work, etc.) may resume operations with a maximum of 2 total workers per location/job.
In summary, Chapters are now able to conduct trail maintenance in groups of two while still adhering to health & safety requirements. However, while we are very excited to be able to begin doing trail work, the list of Chapters below are still closed. Thank you for continuing to respect trail closures and we will be out on the trails as soon as possible.
The following trail networks are either closed or will not open until further notice. This list will be updated to reflect additional trail status changes so please check back periodically for the most current information. In addition, you can visit each organizational web site (hyperlinks below) for additional information on their trail status:
Joint Statement on Trail Use from VTGC, VTA, FPR & AOT:
The Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, members of the Vermont Trails Alliance, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have evaluated the current status of our recreational trail systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Scott’s Executive Order. Together we have agreed that:
- The primary directive from the Governor is to protect the public health and safety of Vermonters. We are in the middle of a health emergency, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19 we must stay at home as much as possible.
- It is spring mud season, trail conditions in many locations are poor, and trail use on wet, muddy, and vulnerable trails has always been discouraged during this time of year. In addition, trail work and maintenance are not essential or critical activities pursuant to the Governor’s Order and are therefore prohibited with the exception of a response for emergency repairs required to secure public safety.
- If certain trails cannot appropriately be prepared for safe public use and properly maintained for environmental quality, they should not be used for recreation. Doing otherwise creates risks to trail users and natural resources and our shared long-term goals for getting back on our great trails. Please see above for a list of trails that should not be accessed during this emergency.
- Trail use can create unnecessary risk of injury at a time when our sole focus should be on supporting Vermont’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis with all available medical resources and not diverting them to emergency response actions. Please be smart and cautious when you’re recreating outside to avoid any incidents that could require medical attention.
- Many of our trail networks are located on privately owned lands. We respect and depend on the generosity of these landowners and do not want to encourage trail use on their lands during this emergency. Please choose recreation areas close to home on state land or stay in your own neighborhood or backyard when you go outside.
- State Park roads, State Forest roads and other durable, wider trails on state lands may be appropriate for exercise during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Check out FPR’s mud season alerts for more information about recreation opportunities during mud season.
- Please get outside, exercise, and follow the Department’s guidance (informed by the CDC and VDH) on how to do this safely and responsibly. For both public safety and trail stewardship, please avoid recreating on trails where you cannot maintain safe social distance. If a trail is already crowded when you arrive at the trailhead, please choose an alternative location.
- Together we will continue to evaluate when it is appropriate to begin our trail maintenance work and the opening of our trail networks in conjunction with the Governor’s Orders and guidance based on the health and safety needs of Vermonters. Until then please do not use the trail networks identified above.