VMBA and it’s Chapters are always working hard to better connect our trail networks with the towns and villages of Vermont. A direct access “village connector” trail is a vital step forward for our local mountain bike communities and the towns they serve. With a purpose built trail allowing users, including but not limited to mountain bikers, to travel between wooded trails and the services and amenities of our local communities, towns and tourism boards are able to both promote mountain biking as a recreational option, and to allow bikers and other trail users easy access to shops, restaurants, parking, and all that the local culture has to offer.
On Sunday afternoon, September 19th, 2021, approximately 50 members of the community and local officials gathered at Dreer Spring in Woodstock Village to celebrate the opening of the “Village Trail”, a new multi-use trail in Mt. Peg Park. The trail was a collaboration of the Billings Park Commission (BPC), the Woodstock Area Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA), and the Town and Village of Woodstock.
Representatives of BPC and WAMBA shared a few words about the trail and officially opened it to the public with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, a tour of the trail by foot or by bike, and a communal gathering at the summit on a beautiful, sunny September evening.
The new multi-use trail is approximately one mile in length, with a total vertical gain of 363 feet to the summit. It is open to hikers, trail runners, and bicycles, and cross country skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing in the winter. It is a wide, two-way trail with gentle slopes and switchbacks allowing for beginner and intermediate multi-use recreational access.
WAMBA’s head trail builder, Gavin Vaughan, and trail crew member, Graham Farrington, began construction of the trail in the spring and wrapped up building in late August, while volunteers, led by WAMBA’s Kent McFarland, constructed boardwalks, installed a kiosk, and hand raked the finished trail tread into September. WAMBA’s trail crew and volunteers logged over a 1,000 hours to complete the project. The name “Village Trail” was the shorter version of the initially proposed “It Takes a Village” name. All permitting, fundraising, and design work was completed by WAMBA last fall. WAMBA will continue to help maintain the trail, along with the network of trails it stewards at Mt. Peg, Suicide Six and the Aqueduct Trails.
This partnership between WAMBA, the BPC, and the town of Woodstock has proven to be an enormous step forward in the relationship between local mountain bikers and the municipality. Working together to creat
e a sustainable trail connecting the Woodstock Inn, Main Street, and all that historic Woodstock has to offer has been a huge turning point in both WAMBA’s ability to benefit the town and it’s needs, and the town’s recognition of the vital contribution mountain biking makes to both the local economy and the culture of the community. After decades of occasionally adversarial feelings between user groups and town administrators, a new era has dawned of cooperation in the name of community development and celebration of all that mountain biking has to offer. VMBA not only supports this goal, but is excited to use Woodstock, WAMBA, and the completion of “The Village Trail” as an exemplar for other Chapters and their respective towns to emulate.