VYCC in the News: via Rutland Herald, “VYCC assists with much needed trail work at Pine Hill Park”
June 25, 2022 |
The Rutland Herald published this article by Gordon Dritschilo on June 24, 2022.
As they work on the park’s final trail, the Pine Hill Partnership is turning its attention to some of the first trails.
This week, the Board of Aldermen voted to accept a $79,407 state grant on behalf of the partnership to rebuild old trails in the park.
“Our numbers have grown exponentially, just from people being outside,” said organizer Shelley Lutz on Friday. “Pedestrians, cyclists, trail runners — that group has just exploded. Our older generation of trails built back in the 2000s, they need more TLC than three of us can keep up with.”
Lutz said the grant will pay for a professional trail builder with a mini-excavator to repair the more advanced trails, and for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to do other work. She said about 18,000 feet of trails will get repairs. The park totals 18 miles of trails.
“That doesn’t include the Redfield or Carriage trails,” she said. “Add those in, we’re at 26 or 27.”
Meanwhile, work is continuing on what is to be the park’s final trail, Maximum Capacity.
“We might not have all the bank corners in, the berm turns, but hopefully we can have the trailhead established, so it can open in late fall,” Lutz said.
Use of Vermont’s outdoor recreation areas shot up during the pandemic. Lutz said she did not have immediate access to Pine Hill Park’s numbers when she was interviewed Friday — she was taking a break from trail work — but she said she thought the park saw 5,500 to 6,000 visitors last year, roughly a 50% increase over pre-pandemic numbers.
Lutz said she does not expect those numbers to slacken as the pandemic winds down.
Neither does Rutland City Bikes Owner J.T. Look.
“I mean, I am really busy,” he said. “I think people are going to stay active. What I see is a lot of older people who used to ride bikes going to e-bikes.”
However, he said he’s also seeing a lot of 40-something parents riding with children, something that wasn’t nearly as common a decade ago.
“The amount of kids who are getting into bikes, I’m amazed,” he said. “My shop’s never been this busy. … I think it’s a number of different directions that are making the world of bicycling grow.”
This new normal, Lutz said, means that the partnership needs to rethink its approach to annual maintenance.
“We haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s a discussion I’ve had with Rutland Rec,” she said. “It’s on the radar. What the solution is going to be, I don’t know yet, but the discussion has started.”
Read about other 2022 VYCC trail projects here: Preview of 2022 Trails Projects | Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (vycc.org)