Thompson St/ Bruce and Toms- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thompson St/ Bruce and Toms

    Just an FYI to those who might be involved in building the new built up moves in the B&T's area, the landlords, Essex County Greenbelt are not happy about the stuff getting built on their property. The locals would like to keep riding there friction-free, and the new stuff is jeopardizing that. Greenbelt owns a bunch of other areas as well, so it would be nice to have a good bike-friendly relationship with them. Now we have to do damage control and politics, and I would prefer to ride. So to whoever is building out at B&T's on Greenbelt land, please cease and desist.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I'm still relatively new to the whole scene out here but I was under the impression that everything there was legit, that sucks to hear that it's not. I'm not sure what is new and what isn't but from what I know about riding there the stuff that has been built is really what makes it fun, there was some pretty cool naturally tech stuff too, but definitely wasn't what puts it over the top.

    Any chance the green built is willing to work with bikers on building stuff there or is it strictly a no go?

  3. #3
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    My sense of what is going on is that there was moves built in the fall on Greenbelt property that they are "concerned" about. It seems like they will be wanting to take stuff down, unfortunately. The local riders are trying to get a little involved to hopefully influence those decisions, and hopefully keep most things intact.

  4. #4
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    The Greenbelt land is to the south of B&T's all around the two big hills there right? Haven't seen much built stuff there with the exception of one big roll with a slightly sketchy runout. Lots of fun natural stuff though on those rocks. I'll keep my eyes out for the gnomes next time I'm there.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, we pretty much know who's doing it but we don't know how to get in touch with them. The stuff being built is actually being done so well that it looked to me like it was blessed. But we have heard otherwise. The Greenbelt has been MTB friendly so far, but the can change quickly. So get the word out if you can.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, that sucks to hear. I'm guessing the new stuff isn't anything I'm thinking of since everything I know seems to be pretty old. I don't know of anyone building stuff but it does seem odd to me that no matter where you go there never seems to be a place for riders who want to add to the natural stuff a bit. Not sure why it's always such a big issue, maybe it's just the fact that gravity riders have never been organized enough to get things done like the more XC oriented groups around the country. Hopefully it all goes well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnar602 View Post
    Yeah, that sucks to hear. I'm guessing the new stuff isn't anything I'm thinking of since everything I know seems to be pretty old. I don't know of anyone building stuff but it does seem odd to me that no matter where you go there never seems to be a place for riders who want to add to the natural stuff a bit. Not sure why it's always such a big issue, maybe it's just the fact that gravity riders have never been organized enough to get things done like the more XC oriented groups around the country. Hopefully it all goes well.
    Fear of lawsuits. Once you start building wooden structures the risk goes way up for the landowners. Some states have legislation that protects folks from lawsuits under certain circumstances. That's why you see other states that have state owned parks with stunts and dirt jumps and such. Look up Duthie Park or the Collonade in Seattle. Amazing riding areas with real big freeride features going on. I rode there a couple years back. Simply amazing that this is on public land.

  8. #8
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    Isn't mountain biking (structures or not) an inherently dangerous activity? Like oh I thought mountain biking was totally safe but not with this wooden ramp here...

  9. #9
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    I believe in MA a landowner has more legal protections if they allow regulated public use of their land than if they don't. I.e., 'No Trespassing' signs don't actually provide much legal protection from litigation. That is my understanding anyway.

  10. #10
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    Stunts have been to some degree been tolerated, but it isn't as if Greenbelt can do whatever they want with the property. There is also a conservation restriction with a "no structures" provision attached to the deed, held by another conservation organization. The new unauthorized trail kills some of the good will built up over the years, and heightens scrutiny of activities on the property. Likely result is removal of more stunts. Nice trail but not worth the cost.

  11. #11
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    How does one go about obtaining permission to ride Bruce & Tom's? I found 2 different email addresses, but have had no luck contacting Bruce. Any help would be appreciated.

  12. #12
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    I think that Bruce does not live in the area any more. The Greenbelt assoc. has had good relationships with mt bikers in the past. Do not build unathorized stuff, that's the first rule of trail building. There are great rock/ natural features in the area, enjoy.

  13. #13
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    OK so I saw the new trail with built features. I see what you mean about them being well built, they look bulletproof. So why exactly are these stunts a problem, but the ones that have been there forever (too long in some cases) ok? Some of the old built stuff is falling apart and actually really dangerous...

  14. #14
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    See my earlier post. It's not just the liability thing, The landowner is restricted by a no structures provision attached to the deed (another land conservation organization oversees the property too). And for a long time the landowner tolerated the existence of biker built structures. The new trail creation in such a prominent spot (actually on property they closed on in December, close to a newly created parking area) has elevated the level of scrutiny throughout the property. Some structures may be removed, some may be retained, modified, etc. to meet the landowner's requirements. I expect Tompson St./B&Ts will be a great place to ride in the future, but with less wood and more reliance on natural features.

  15. #15
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    Everything is still there as of a couple of weeks ago. Any word on if they still plan on taking them down? And I agree with these being a really bad location, right next to one of the busiest hiking trails in the area. The funny thing is all the wood stuff is pretty easy and not that dangerous at all, but on the same trail there a few natural features that are way more sketchy/dangerous.

  16. #16
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    I've only been there once. Is the area you guys discussing the trail approaching the see-saw? Those features seemed very well built, it's a shame they aren't supposed to be there.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashtond33 View Post
    I've only been there once. Is the area you guys discussing the trail approaching the see-saw? Those features seemed very well built, it's a shame they aren't supposed to be there.
    Not those. I'm pretty sure all the stunts in that area are on private property.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinF View Post
    Not those. I'm pretty sure all the stunts in that area are on private property.
    The stunts that are being focused on were built on a new trail that comes from the new parking lot (north side of the property?) Like Austin said the stunts are actually on the easy/safe side, and they are well built, but the fact that they built brand new wooden structures is what got the Greenbelt's panties in a wad. I guess they were giving a tour to the Conservation Commission (who also owns the land) when they saw the new trail and TTF's. The last I heard was the Greenbelt decided that the whole trail must go. Which is a shame because I really like the trail itself and could care less about the built TTF's in this case.

    As far as the stunts by Bruce's house and the other existing TTF's they have taken pictures of some of them and brought them up in their meetings, as they are not on private land. They seem to be focusing on the newer more well built structures vs. the failing apart ones. I wouldn't be surprised to see at least some of those, if not all, on the cutting board going forward as well. Not a good time for MTB at B&T's these days. We need to tread gently so we don't lose the place forever.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    The stunts that are being focused on were built on a new trail that comes from the new parking lot (north side of the property?) Like Austin said the stunts are actually on the easy/safe side, and they are well built, but the fact that they built brand new wooden structures is what got the Greenbelt's panties in a wad. I guess they were giving a tour to the Conservation Commission (who also owns the land) when they saw the new trail and TTF's. The last I heard was the Greenbelt decided that the whole trail must go. Which is a shame because I really like the trail itself and could care less about the built TTF's in this case.
    Seriously, the rest of the trail is the highlight not the few TTF's at the end. Would really suck if they close the whole thing off though, since it is one of my favorites there.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    As far as the stunts by Bruce's house and the other existing TTF's they have taken pictures of some of them and brought them up in their meetings, as they are not on private land. They seem to be focusing on the newer more well built structures vs. the failing apart ones. I wouldn't be surprised to see at least some of those, if not all, on the cutting board going forward as well. Not a good time for MTB at B&T's these days. We need to tread gently so we don't lose the place forever.

    Doesn't surprise me that those aren't on private land. For the past few years I always been told that those were all on Bruce's property, but once I sat down and looked at a map it definitely looked like they were on greenbelt property. Going to be bummed if the high bridge or teeter are taken out. Just sad to see so much work go to waste. Oh well though, the place still rules without the built up stuff anyway.

  20. #20
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    Looks like I missed some of this stuff during my visit. We started from Bray St. (I think, we parked near a sign talking about old Tompson St) and rode around for about 3 hours before tearing open a sidewall. What's the preferred entrance/loop when riding at this place?

    I agree, even if the features get demo'ed (which would be a shame), the natural exposed rock still provides for an amazing ride.

  21. #21
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    Talked to someone earlier today who told me everything was torn down. Not sure if he just meant the new trail or everything even including the stuff near Bruce's house.

  22. #22
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    Crap, that would be terrible. Some of that stuff, like the steep roller bridge to step up, make the trail possible. Otherwise it was pretty much an impossible section of trail. The high-bridge is pretty important too. A lot of those stunts made the trails easier.

  23. #23
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    Exactly, it would stupid. That roller was way more dangerous then the steep roller bridge to step up.

    I'll probably go sometime next week to check it out.

  24. #24
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    There is a group out there tonight tearing stuff down. Only on the new trail though. For now the old stuff is safe. As always the needs, wants and preferences of the hiker takes precedence.

  25. #25
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    That's too bad. Never had a chance to ride it.

  26. #26
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    while incredibly unfortunate i am happy to hear the tear-down was limited to the new trail. it would be a shame to lose it all

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