SE Mass Bioreserve / Freetown SF
Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve
This thread is to post the lastest in MTB info/news concerning the SE Mass bioreserve/ Freetown SF.
The Bioreserve is a joint effort between DCR, Fish and Game, Fall River, the Trustees of Reservations, the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, and some other municipal and conservation land. It is over 13,500 acres and includes all of Freetown State Forest.
The bioreserve is managed to protect biodiversity, provide recreation, protect the Fall River water supply and manage forestry assets. It is open to hunting, biking, motorcycles (in the northern part of Freetown SF), hiking, fishing, etc.
The bioreserve has over 50 miles of dirt roads and trails. Freetown SF has long been in a popular riding spot but has been in a slow decline for the last 10 years or so. A major insect infestation, loss of land and trails due to a new highway ramp, increased motorcycle use, budget cuts, and general neglect have all contributed.
The good news is that with the creation of the bioreserve, the Watuppa reservation has been opened to the public. A federal grant was secured to create a unified map. Also, local riders have finally had enough and have begun working with NEMBA to improve the trails. So far about 15 miles of trails have been cleared of blowdowns. The trail corridors have been pruned back and we are in the process of installing intersection markers.
In the interest of making this whole project manageable I'm dividing the bioreserve into 3 riding areas. The ledge trails, the ranger station trails, and the Copicut trails.
So far all work has been concentrated on the Copicut trails. These trails are not open to motorcycles and as such, were in the most danger of being completely overgrown.
The biggest development so far concerning the Bioreserve is definitely the map. The map is 16'x24" and shows almost every trail in the bioreserve. Most intersections are marked, with codes corresponding to nearby natural features.
Unfortunately the map is not available online. I have been given permission to post my own modified copy here and also on the nemba places to ride page (when I get around to it). So far I only have the Copicut Trails map ready. This is only a portion of the official map. I have marked the trails that are ready to ride by circling them with pink.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/33175822@N06/8275560462/" title="Copicut Trails temp by Ice Cream Jay, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8058/8275560462_0a8446bf2c_b.jpg" width="798" height="1024" alt="Copicut Trails temp"></a>
Also, not all the intersection markers are up yet. So far the KP, MB and CH signs are up. I should have the HS signs installed by the new year. BR, QG, and DD should be up in January.
If you're wondering,
KP - King Philip
MB - Miller Brook
CH - Copicut Hill
HS - Hex Spring
BR - Bell Rock
QG - Queens Gutter
MP - Mowry Path
DD - Dr. Durfee
AND ... if you haven't ridden the Copicut trails I highly recommend them. These trails are quiet, remote and technical. The terrain is gently rolling, not many steep ups and downs like the ledge. I gps'd a 16 mile loop and did just over 1000 ft vertical climbing/descending. The trails are a nice mix of tech rocks and roots and some smoother old moto trails. Less rocky than the ranger station, not as sandy as the ledge.
If the ranger station and ledge turned you off, please don't let that experience stop you from riding these trails. There is nothing that I would call amazing, just long singletrack trails through some beautiful and quiet woods. The trails are also quite dry by Freetown standards. Come check em out and make your own opinion. Personally I think these are great trails and a good complement to our other local spots.
Awesome work on this, now I want to check it out...
Great, keep in mind that work is ongoing as well. The main trails are mostly clear, and I've leaf blown some of the trails, but some of the side trails still need a bit of pruning and raking/blowing. And the more tires we get rolling over these trails will help out too.
Hopefully by spring I'll have everything in this part of the forest cleared and leafblown.
Sounds like a lot of positive momentum is going down here. I'd be up for making the trip down there, is there any way we can get an address for one of the parking lots? I assume the Copicut trails are best accessed from the Copicut Lot?
Sounds great, thanks for putting the time in working on both the trails and the map! I've never ridden there but will have to check it out.
Good point, forgot about parking.
Originally Posted by gnar602
I fiddled around with google earth and I found addresses that take you close to the parking areas. I'm not sure if these would translate to other GPS' as they aren't real addresses as far as I know, they just put the google earth arrow in the right place.
The best parking from the east (New Bedford, Cape Cod) is the Miller's Brook Lot. It's on Copicut Road in Fall River. This lot only holds 2-3 cars, but you could park on the side of the road nearby.
From the West (Fall River, Providence) the easiest parking is the Copicut Woods Lot located on Indian Town Road in Fall River. This lot holds probably 10-12 cars and you could also some spots where you could park on the side of the road nearby. I also included a link to the official Copicut Woods site.
Copicut Woods | Bioreserve | Fall River, MA | The Trustees of Reservations
There are two options for those of you coming from the north (rt 24). I think the best option currently is either to park at the triangle (the corner of Copicut road and Bell Rock Road/High St.) and ride up Copicut road to the hunters lot, or to keep going up Copicut road towards the Hunters lot and just park at the end of the pavement. If you have 4 wheel drive and are feeling adventurous you could continue up to the Hunters Lot. Here's a link to the end of the pavement. The Hunters lot holds a lot of cars, but is inaccessible to non 4x4's. I don't see a problem parking along Copicut road on this stretch. It sees very little traffic and everybody used to just park on the side of the road at the triangle anyways. Now that there are houses at the triangle I don't see it as a great parking area anymore.
The other spot from the north is to drive down Bell Rock Road to the Canfield lot. This lot only holds 2-3 cars, but once again, side of the road parking shouldn't be a problem, the hunters all do it. Drive all the way down Bell Rock Rd, which is now paved. Look for a small parking area on the right with some boulders shortly after the pavement ends. The dirt road here is in good shape and can be used by any vehicle. It gets pretty rough south of here though.
The trails around this parking area haven't really be worked on yet, so I don't recommend this parking for now. I think in a year or two this will be an excellant place to park when coming from the north.
One thing I wouldn't do is try to drive the other roads in the bioreserve, as many of them are in very, very rough shape. For instance there is a second hunters lot in the middle of copicut road. You need a 4x4 with good clearance and the guts to drive through massive, deep puddles to get to that lot. The section of Bell Rock between the Canfield lot and the Watuppa pond is very rough as well as almost all the roads in the Watuppa Res. The roads on the map with the black and white dashed markings are the roughest.
Thanks for the info! As long as conditions allow for it I'll try to get a couple of guys who are up for exploring a new area to head down there. The only other south shore locations I've been to are Wompatuck, Boarderland, and Foxboro. Judging from the terrain I've always known there was tons of potential anywhere a nice tract of undeveloped land exists.
Thanks for all the hard work. If/when you post up trail days I'm always happy to help expand what we have to ride.
Originally Posted by icecreamjay
Cool, just remember its a work in progress. There is a lot of technical singletrack, but its almost throwback stuff, old moto trails, no bridges or rock work of any kind, no skinnies and not many drops, just old school trails. Just sayin, cause I read the Charlemont thread....:eek:
That thread got way out of hand, a few people don't represent the view of the majority of riders. I've never been to those trails but even Lynn Woods didn't start has 10 miles of gnarly single track, at the end of the day every trail system is a work in progress. They're always changing, some for the good, some for worse.
Originally Posted by icecreamjay
Ok, so I rode these trails (Copicut Section) for the first time today. I've ridden nearly every trail system in New England and can truly say this is one of the best places is the area and has the potential to be among the best trail systems in the region. What you'll find here is classic NE singletrack that is such a refreshing change from the engineered, twisty, trail mazes that have become so common. Long 2+ mile stretches of singletrack, rock gardens with no obvious line, deep woods feel, fast and flowy but you constantly have to pay attention. The trails have elements of Arcadia, Wendell and Bear Brook. We rode almost every trail within the pink circle and ended up doing 20 miles. The Copicut Hill Trail section, CH3, CH4 and CH5 is going to be incredible once is ridden in. My helmet goes off to you, Jay and all the work you and your team have been putting into these trails! Please post up when you'll be doing trail work because my wife and I would love to help!
Nice trail report! Sounds like a refreshing change from the norm, which goes a long way in these parts! I'm looking to come down in January if the snow allows for it. Do you get the impression that this area is close enough to the water that snow will be less of a factor here? I know Otis for example is usually snow free when HP, Vietnam, etc... are covered in many inches of white stuff.
Originally Posted by JSumner13
If you plan on going again and don't mind a few North Shore riders coming along let me know. 20 miles of what's in these pictures sounds really nice!
I'm glad you had fun. Thanks for the kind words and good pics. I'll definitely be doing some more maintenance days as well as hopefully doing some group rides. I'd like to do one of each per month. I'll definitely post up here. If you don't mind me asking, where'd ya park?
We usually get a bit more snow than Otis (except Nor'easters) but less snow than anything north of 495.
Awesome! We parked at the Millers Brook Lot but will likely park at the Copicut Woods lot next time.
Originally Posted by icecreamjay
Cool, Millers Brook is good if you're looking to add on extra mileage, the official "Copicut woods" area is a good warmup, but too flat and wide for most advanced riders. The Copicut Woods parking area (if this confusing look at the map) is closer to the singletrack as well as being a real parking lot with a map kiosk.
The trails in the Watuppa Reservation are all mostly clear too, but they are almost all wide fire roads. The guy in charge there is the guy in charge of the signs, so I've been working closely with him. My ultimate dream is to be able to build trails through the Watuppa res north of the Copicut woods lot and wrap them around Copicut hill, tying them into the existing singletrack. Download a USGS topo and look at the contours in this part of the woods, the terrain looks to be awesome for sustainable, contour surfing trails. And because this land has been closed to the public for about a hundred years there are no existing trails to work around or have to fix.
So far the policy is no new trails, but I plan on taking it slow and trying to convince the land manager to let us do our thing. One good thing is that it is city land, no dealing with DCR or the state. I even think this area has the topography and space to consider a whole new machine built network. That's a serious long shot, but why not? Fall River is dying to reinvent itself.
Anyway, one thing at a time. If these trails take off it will give me more leverage. I think I'm gonna request Nemba and Imba comp him their magazines. Let him read about all the other awesome projects nemba does around here. He has been in Swansea and knows I was involved, I think he's still a bit scared I'm gonna start building bridges and teeters. For the record I didn't build any man made structures in Swansea, I was just the first one that started building there and connected some loops and made it rideable, it wasn't till Bikeworks actually got permission from the town to build that all kinds of stuff started popping up.
Road some of the Copicut trails today for an hour. LOVED THEM! parked at the Copicut Woods lot. rode horseshoe then turned left onto CH7. Note there is a tree down on horseshoe that you need to dismount and climb over. followed CH7 up past CH3 then the trail got pretty wet. i think there was a line around / past the water but I decided to stay dry and turn around. On the way back cut over to CH9 and rode that. Great mix of all types of terrain with the exception of any really steep climbs. I came from Fairhaven, took the Reed Rd exit and should have parked at Millers Brook lot but kept going then turn left onto Indian Town Rd. Glad I have a 4x4 truck : )
New trails to try out?
We've been working like mad to keep the blowdowns at bay, but there are still hundreds of dead oaks standing. I'm pretty sure this last storm will take at least a few out. Expect some blowdowns, but we'll be cutting them pretty regularly.
Originally Posted by Thatsbullshark
The wet spot between CH 5 and CH6 is on my list. There really isn't any room to reroute so I plan on just fixing up the line around it.
I warned you about driving on the rough roads :nono: I'm glad you had a truck. ;)
Not really new, just refurbished.
Originally Posted by antonio
Lead a group of 19 out there today...mostly NBX, Union velo and Team Bums riders. Many will be back!!
Here is a video I recorded from John Sumners ride. The place was in great shape and we had a blast!
John and Haley's Copicut Ride 12-29-2012 - YouTube
i think it will be extremely hard to keep up with all the falling dead in this forest......i have been out there over a dozen times with good result for a short time until more dead had fallen, and why does it always have to fall across the trail.........the other hard part is the amount of time it takes........i hope you have a team...there's always people that say they wana, wana, wana help.....but when it comes down to go there never there.........