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.