Trio Of Darling Hill Landowners Won’t Allow KTA Mountain Bikers- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trio Of Darling Hill Landowners Won’t Allow KTA Mountain Bikers

    Caught this article today:

    https://www.caledonianrecord.com/new...d2ef6f918.html

    EAST BURKE — Three landowners from the nearly 100-strong network that allows the popular Kingdom Trail Association (KTA) to operate in the Northeast Kingdom are no longer allowing mountain bikers access to their properties.

    Sue and Gary Burrington, Sharon Dolloff, and Fred and Mary Jane Miller, are no longer allowing access to mountain bikers, Kingdom Trails Executive Director Abby Long confirmed on Friday.


    “They have not left the trail network, they are still KTA landowners,” said Long. “They will allow access, except for bikes.”


    KTA has a total of 97 landowners who permit mountain bikers, skiers, hikers and horseback riders to use the trails network which exists across all privately held properties through the association.


    Long said she did not feel comfortable sharing letters from the landowners in question about why they recently chose to withdraw their properties from KTA.


    The properties are in the middle of Darling Hill adjacent to or across from Willoughby Way, a heavily used, very popular part of the scenic road which attracts thousands of mountain bikers every year, a critical piece of the NEK economy.


    “They are large parcels on the ridge,” said Long of the three properties in question.


    Only one landowner has pulled out of the network in KTA’s 25-year history, an out-of-state property owner who did so when the property was on the market, believing it might hinder sale of the property. The property ended up being sold to mountain bikers.


    Efforts to reach the Burringtons, Dolloff and Miller this week were not successful by press time Friday.


    Efforts to obtain communications sent to KTA from the landowners were also not successful.


    There has been a heightened attention the past year to concerns from property owners, particularly on Darling Hill Road in Lyndonville, about traffic and parking.


    Concern about the impacts of the traffic and heavy visitor load, as well as safety in East Burke downtown in the village and along some heavily trafficked roads during the height of mountain biking season have also been areas of concern.


    A committee of volunteers is working on that subject and ways to improve safety, and the town of Burke is planning to embark on a major upgrade to East Darling Hill Road to improve safety for cyclists and motorists using the road that leads to the very popular Darling Hill Road.
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    Sad. But as a property owner very close to the trails, we could see this coming a while ago.

    The regular inundation of users needs more policing on how to be respectful users of the private network. While KTA needs to take the lead on enforcing the rules, a large portion needs to also fall on the shoulders of the users themselves.

    It really isn't that hard to avoid being a douche when visiting a different state or country.....it really isn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Sad. But as a property owner very close to the trails, we could see this coming a while ago.

    The regular inundation of users needs more policing on how to be respectful users of the private network. While KTA needs to take the lead on enforcing the rules, a large portion needs to also fall on the shoulders of the users themselves.

    It really isn't that hard to avoid being a douche when visiting a different state or country.....it really isn't.
    Agreed. This was inevitable considering the huge increase in rider traffic at KT. Its also worth mentioning that there are basic trail etiquette rules that KT posts that most people simply don't give a damn about.

    And as a guy who lives in VT, I'm always shocked how douchey tourists can be.
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    This is so sad but understandable. I have been going up there the last 7 years and have seen the explosion of riders and attitudes.
    I am always polite and spend money in the local community.
    I also heard that the parking lot where Mike's Tiki bar is will be converted to camping and a less parking. Is that true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    This is so sad but understandable. I have been going up there the last 7 years and have seen the explosion of riders and attitudes.
    I am always polite and spend money in the local community.
    I also heard that the parking lot where Mike's Tiki bar is will be converted to camping and a less parking. Is that true?
    Not 100% true. There will be significant changes (Spoke with Mike on this topic) but not really the way you laid it out.

    We'll see where this all heads.

    Basically, we have a change in the demographic of who is visiting and riding at KT, it was always a large faction but the holiday and weekend inundation/invasion has brought with it a large scale disrespect for rules, property ownership (this isn't gov't land) parking etiquette etc.

    I put this 50% on KTA as they badly needed a better approach to supervision the past couple years and 50% on us, the riders to self-police. It isn't hard to not be a douche when you travel to another state or country.

    This makes me sick.
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    Maybe I over simplified it or laid it out wrong. What I heard was parking for KT and the bar was up to the bathrooms and then beyond that will be set up for camping.

    I really hope this can be worked out. I am just finishing my camper restore to go up there more this coming summer. It also makes me sick but I have seen the lack of respect and attitudes while up there.

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    I don't think it's reasonable to expect KT to supervise people, or to coach them to not be douchey/rude. It is reasonable to expect KT to manage the crowds better. They have been working on initiatives to spread out riders and keep riders off the roads, but the growth has outpaced them. There is not much one can do if a group of 30 riders in matching lycra thinks they own a trail intersection. Institute trail patrol (think ski patrol), start revoking passes? It's a small town place that has just become too popular.

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    There used to be KT "trail patrolers". However, it has been a long time since I have seen any. Having a constant patrol on Bemis seems like it would be a very good idea. Although that is kind of a moot point now.
    And riders harassing the landowners when they are out enjoying their own property is going to have fallout.

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    I have only seen 2 checking for passes. Once at the cafe and one at the beginning of the trails. Never seen an on trail patrol.
    I really hope it can be worked out. If they lose those trails the other trails that are a little less crowded will become a $hitshow also.

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    Seems odd that KTA isn't specifying the reasons. It's an absolute shame that this is happening. But wouldn't stating this is due to rider behaviour serve as a cautionary tale?

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    I went up to KT (from central VT) on a non-holiday Saturday last July and couldn't believe how crowded the trails felt. I'm not even sure if it was the sheer number of riders or the selfish behavior that made it seem that way.

    One dude almost took me out at the top of Kitchel not looking when the trails merged. People weren't giving each other enough space on the flowy downhill sections and everywhere were hammering recklessly past slower riders. It was probably the most unpleasant day I've ever spent on a bike, and I used to really love riding there. I eventually gave up on Darling Hill and went to the bike park only to find a 30-minute wait for the lift.

    If it's like that on most summer weekends these days, I can well understand landowner frustration.

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    Canadian holiday? I always check first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by from_the_nek View Post
    There used to be KT "trail patrolers". However, it has been a long time since I have seen any. Having a constant patrol on Bemis seems like it would be a very good idea. Although that is kind of a moot point now.
    And riders harassing the landowners when they are out enjoying their own property is going to have fallout.
    This.

    I have the pleasure or displeasure of being up there most weekends except mud season and over the past couple years when KTA needed to triple up on the patrols and locations, they cut back. At least they had some in East Haven parking area this year, lest we all piss off another town in the NEK.

    The crowd control and behavioral issues have been obvious and growing the past few years. We have seen literally nothing from KTA to address this. While the straw that broke the camel's back was having these landowners pushed over the edge due to feeling not welcome on their land, I can assure you the illegal parking, the illegal camping, the cutting through non-KTA rights of way, the overall disregard for the small village people invaded is at an all time peak.

    This isn't BLM or Crown land, people can't #vanlife where ever the eff they want and when they do it gives all of us bikers a bad name.

    Which brings me to the real challenge.....how do we self police the douchery? Seriously? Groups of 15+, parking all over private land, shuttling to cut through because you don't want to climb, pretending you own the town, like Mike owes you two parking spaces for your awning and chairs and should let you sleep there for free..... All of it.....we are our own worst enemies and I'm sorry I'm venting here.....I'm gutted.

    All preventable.
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    Here is a link to the property maps around Willoughby Way. I know the folks at the end of the road and they are not listed in the article. The property at the top of Willoughby is a horse farm and I suspect that maybe they have had problems with their horses and Mtn bikes.

    https://www.acrevalue.com/plat-map/V...969959&zoom=16

    I do not know exactly which properties are affected here but the properties that bisect Willoughby Way go all the way to the RR tracks which literally splits the trails on the west side of the ridge in half. Probably affects Burrington Bench, Catbox hill and River Run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    Canadian holiday? I always check first.
    It's always a Canadian holiday......and many match up with US and it is a crap show.

    I can't think of 6 people I like to ride in a group with let alone the 15-20 we see regularly on those weekends....slinky and stop at every trail intersection....

    Oye vey.
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    My wife and I lived there for the summer of 2015 and it was great. We stayed in the house at the end of Willoughby Way. That is the first and last time we enjoyed NEMBAFest. We now tend to go in Sep when it is much less crowded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    This.

    I have the pleasure or displeasure of being up there most weekends except mud season and over the past couple years when KTA needed to triple up on the patrols and locations, they cut back. At least they had some in East Haven parking area this year, lest we all piss off another town in the NEK.

    The crowd control and behavioral issues have been obvious and growing the past few years. We have seen literally nothing from KTA to address this. While the straw that broke the camel's back was having these landowners pushed over the edge due to feeling not welcome on their land, I can assure you the illegal parking, the illegal camping, the cutting through non-KTA rights of way, the overall disregard for the small village people invaded is at an all time peak.

    This isn't BLM or Crown land, people can't #vanlife where ever the eff they want and when they do it gives all of us bikers a bad name.

    Which brings me to the real challenge.....how do we self police the douchery? Seriously? Groups of 15+, parking all over private land, shuttling to cut through because you don't want to climb, pretending you own the town, like Mike owes you two parking spaces for your awning and chairs and should let you sleep there for free..... All of it.....we are our own worst enemies and I'm sorry I'm venting here.....I'm gutted.

    All preventable.
    Totally agree with this. Nothing like pulling into the parking lot and its filled only to see campers and cars taking up 2 to 3 spots with awning and chairs.
    The fun was going to end sooner or later. Way too many people for the small town. Saw it coming from the victory trail closures first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Historychris View Post
    I went up to KT (from central VT) on a non-holiday Saturday last July and couldn't believe how crowded the trails felt. I'm not even sure if it was the sheer number of riders or the selfish behavior that made it seem that way.

    One dude almost took me out at the top of Kitchel not looking when the trails merged. People weren't giving each other enough space on the flowy downhill sections and everywhere were hammering recklessly past slower riders. It was probably the most unpleasant day I've ever spent on a bike, and I used to really love riding there. I eventually gave up on Darling Hill and went to the bike park only to find a 30-minute wait for the lift.

    If it's like that on most summer weekends these days, I can well understand landowner frustration.
    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    This.

    I have the pleasure or displeasure of being up there most weekends except mud season and over the past couple years when KTA needed to triple up on the patrols and locations, they cut back. At least they had some in East Haven parking area this year, lest we all piss off another town in the NEK.

    The crowd control and behavioral issues have been obvious and growing the past few years. We have seen literally nothing from KTA to address this. While the straw that broke the camel's back was having these landowners pushed over the edge due to feeling not welcome on their land, I can assure you the illegal parking, the illegal camping, the cutting through non-KTA rights of way, the overall disregard for the small village people invaded is at an all time peak.

    This isn't BLM or Crown land, people can't #vanlife where ever the eff they want and when they do it gives all of us bikers a bad name.

    Which brings me to the real challenge.....how do we self police the douchery? Seriously? Groups of 15+, parking all over private land, shuttling to cut through because you don't want to climb, pretending you own the town, like Mike owes you two parking spaces for your awning and chairs and should let you sleep there for free..... All of it.....we are our own worst enemies and I'm sorry I'm venting here.....I'm gutted.

    All preventable.
    You guy are not alone in seeing an increase in behaviors like this.

    Its gotten to the point where I'll only ride KT very early in the AM to avoid crowds. The crowds are getting to the point where right of way just doesn't exist and people just plow through you without even trying to yield or communicate. Also, the massive rider groups just ruin it for anyone they encounter. Some days are so crowded, you're off your bike very few hundred feet due to people just riding at you.

    I don't think there is anything reasonable KTA can do to police crowds. They've worked to promote the area and get people to visit and here we are. They don't have nearly enough staff for any kind of bike patrol and posted rules get ignored by enough people to ruin it for others. Maybe limit ticket sales? I know of small ski mountains that do this but this would piss off many riders.
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    The Burrington property which spans both sides of the road (river to river) is the big one.

    On the west side trail loses will include: Bemis, Cat Box Hill, Eager Beaver, River Run, Tody's Tour, Tap N Die, Troll Stroll. and part of River Walk And possibly part of Webs.

    On the East side trail loses will include: Sugarhouse Run, Worth It, Mansion View, Nose, Leatherwood, VAST, Riverwood, and the bottom 1/4 of Pines.

    There may be others affected, but that is what I've been able to figure.

    https://maps.vcgi.vermont.gov/parcelviewer/
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    Might look something like this
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -screen-shot-2019-12-16-12.52.21-pm.jpg  


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    I try to stay away form those areas on busy days but still love the trails there during the week or mornings.
    This will be a giant hit to the trail network there

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    I don't think this was preventable. The crowds are too big, the town is too small.

    Darling Hill will pretty much be useless. The entire charm (if you will) was doing a big loop around the west then east sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCbos View Post
    I don't think this was preventable. The crowds are too big, the town is too small.

    Darling Hill will pretty much be useless. The entire charm (if you will) was doing a big loop around the west then east sides.
    You are right about the beauty of the "loop".

    But much of this was preventable as I believe there is probably more to the story with regards to how the land owner may have been treated. I also think all the other pressures and issues we have mentioned above all have possible solutions. Whether or not those solutions would 100% work remains to be seen, the point still remains that far too little has been done by KTA.

    They send their marketing crew (not their trail crew, CJ and company are outstanding folks) on road shows about how ground breaking and awesome KT is and drum up more and more rider volume through partnerships etc. and yet how could they be so blind to what is happening literally outside their door every day from May through October.....
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    I guess NEMBAFEST will have to be canceled or moved to a different area. I never once went but I know alot of people go.

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    [QUOTE=River19;14474379... and yet how could they be so blind to what is happening literally outside their door every day from May through October.....[/QUOTE]

    Agreed. At some point it became more about the "lifestyle" instead of the riding. This thinking has led to a decline in respect for the trails and the people that own them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    I guess NEMBAFEST will have to be canceled or moved to a different area. I never once went but I know alot of people go.
    Not necessarily. NEMBAfest is on the adjacent property to the south. Riders from the field of NEMBAfest activities will have to use the road to go to the north end of the hill bypass the closures.
    Although it will make navigation and crowding an even bigger problem than usual.

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    It's remarkable how perilous this was, how so much in the way of people's enjoyment and others' livelihoods depended on the willingness and generosity of a single couple. I think about the market cafe near Old Webs, or folks who just invested in Inn at Burklyn, or Doug from the Bike Barn. The Burrington's are kind of taking their ball and going home, but I don't blame them. I don't like KT on weekends during the day. Imagine living there? Apparently their concerns were not being heard.

    Yes there are other trails in KT that are amazing, but a trip there will now be about hitting up Farm Junk/Sky Dive/Wares Davis, Moose Alley, and out near East Haven. And those trails will be much more crowded. Can't see myself venturing toward the southern end of Darling, which will now be cut off.

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    Would anyone happen to know if KTA landowners receive a tax incentive for allowing their land to be part of the system?(for some reason I don't think current use applies in VT)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    I guess NEMBAFEST will have to be canceled or moved to a different area. I never once went but I know alot of people go.
    Honestly, I look at this as a good thing.

    the "fest was a crap show. I've worked it before as riding that weekend is a waste of time. I always cringed at how many people that brought to the tiny area and how the non-bikers in the area felt. After working traffic for the 'fest, I am now completely clear on how the rest of the locals felt as many of them told us to eff off on a regular basis as disrespectful and aloof campers took over their road.

    I am 60% leaning towards NEMBAfest being canceled in KT as a good thing. Way too many ways things can go wrong with 97 landowners left......Have Killington host it on their land.
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    As someone who has been going to KT from the beginning I find this very upsetting, but not overly surprising. Soooo many people in such a small rural area. Something was bound to explode. It's going to get worse or end if they don't do something. They need to either reduce the amount of riders or spread them out enough so that the impact isn't as bad for the local area. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    The trails that are going away is a massive blow. The Darling side is where the majority of people seem to ride. They're going to have to route people on Darling Hill Rd to connect the 2 ends. Doesn't seem worth it for the trails that are left over. Same with fatbiking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak View Post
    It's going to get worse or end if they don't do something. They need to either reduce the amount of riders or spread them out enough so that the impact isn't as bad for the local area. Will be interesting to see what happens.
    Or other places in the region can step up and offer similar experiences? A lot of places are trying, but no one has nailed it. KT seems to have gotten popular for what it had; a complete riding destination. And remains popular because of its name (+ the whole complete ride center).

    I think two very important lessons come to light, though I truly hope they figure out a solution to keep trails (been so long since I've ridden KT!).

    1) I hear so many people in the region wanting to "be like KT". They use KT as this model for how to become a destination. There are even organizations helping MTB groups who say KT is the model. They are effectively making the situation for these issues. If you talk to KT staff I bet if they could, they would go back in time and plan for this. 25 years ago no one could've seen these numbers, so its hard to fault anyone. But today? We know better, so I think regionally this should go to show good, solid planning will make a long-term success way more likely.

    2) We cannot rely on private land for trail access. New England is a unique region of the country, but we have tons of public land, much of it with recreation as a main tenet. A lot of public land is way underutilized for trails in the region. KT definitely shows the huge demand, and success, of a great trail center. We need our public lands to step up and provide more of this.

    One could take 2 a step further and argue us as riders really need to be effectively asking for, and helping to implement, these high-quality destination trail systems.
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    It was bound to happen. I saw things evolve since '03 and stop going about 6-7 years ago when it lost that VT vibe and began to feel more like an amusement park full of entitled users! That new generation of biker is a all new animal, it's all about the gram, the book, the vanlife and letting people know how cool it was when you went here or there.

    We lost 4 miles of trails this summer for the same reason, riders being dicks to land owners and managers.

    What is happening at KT is not the last time it will happen. I'll go left field with this, but the ebike revolution will not help the matter.
    Last edited by Jozz; 12-20-2019 at 09:51 AM.

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    In the future the KTA could triple the price for a day pass. This would fund more patrollers who could pull tickets, no questions asked, for anyone being dick. Would this price people out? Yes, but that would get the trail traffic and town traffic down to a potentially more manageable level.

    Want to ride but you can't afford it? No problem, here a shovel, trash bag, rake, paint brush, pooper scooper, butter churn, whatever. You're going to do 2 hours or so of hard labor to earn your day pass. Now you've got a stake in the trails too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    In the future the KTA could triple the price for a day pass. This would fund more patrollers who could pull tickets, no questions asked, for anyone being dick. Would this price people out? Yes, but that would get the trail traffic and town traffic down to a potentially more manageable level.

    Want to ride but you can't afford it? No problem, here a shovel, trash bag, rake, paint brush, pooper scooper, butter churn, whatever. You're going to do 2 hours or so of hard labor to earn your day pass. Now you've got a stake in the trails too.
    Great idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    In the future the KTA could triple the price for a day pass. This would fund more patrollers who could pull tickets, no questions asked, for anyone being dick. Would this price people out? Yes, but that would get the trail traffic and town traffic down to a potentially more manageable level.

    Want to ride but you can't afford it? No problem, here a shovel, trash bag, rake, paint brush, pooper scooper, butter churn, whatever. You're going to do 2 hours or so of hard labor to earn your day pass. Now you've got a stake in the trails too.
    I help maintain a popular local trail system and ride KT a handful of times a year, and honestly I think the bulk of the bad-apple riders I've come across (inconsiderate riding and/or litterbugs) tend to be middle aged dudes with shit cardio on top of the line bikes.

    It's a good idea but would probably just end up pricing out the young kids up there who are generally a lot better ambassadors of the sport than most adults.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seventh-777 View Post
    I help maintain a popular local trail system and ride KT a handful of times a year, and honestly I think the bulk of the bad-apple riders I've come across (inconsiderate riding and/or litterbugs) tend to be middle aged dudes with shit cardio on top of the line bikes.

    It's a good idea but would probably just end up pricing out the young kids up there who are generally a lot better ambassadors of the sport than most adults.
    As a middle aged guy with a nice bike and shit cardio, I don't think that's accurate. Douche riders cover a wider spectrum, and many are oblivious to their own insufferable nature until self awareness is forced upon them. There are some atrocious groms out there, just as some are courteous ambassadors for the sport. I do think raising prices is a viable if imperfect requirement. I've been on a few multi-day small group destination trips to KT, and the cost of the ride pass was not a factor. Keep it friendly for locals, but hammer those of us from far away and I'll gladly pay if it helps preserve the parts of the KT experience that I really enjoyed.

    As is, if this closure is permanent, it's unlikely I'll be back. KT is fun but those are some core trails and will be a massive loss.

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    At the end of the day, it isn't necessarily one demographic or small group that ruined this unique and delicate balance. It isn't "middle aged guys with bad cardio" per se, or just the insanely large Canadian groups that invade each weekend (although there certainly are some issues there). Overall there are plenty of examples of how every group involved took their eye off the ball to some extent and how KTA certainly has significant accountability here and their top leadership and marketing team really needs to be held accountable.

    There are significant issues and tension still out there that needs to be addressed ASAP or there may be more push back from the towns and landowners. Again, many of us have been trying to bring these issues to the attention of KTA for a few years and yet they continued to just focus on marketing for more rider visits and pass sales vs. focusing on what should be their core mission, community relations and keeping the foundation of the network in good standing, which is to say landowner relations and concerns.
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    Basic rules of the trail have been violated there (and a lot of other riding areas). Disrespect for people in general has been escalating. Put an ever increasing amount of people in a small space and problems will occur.
    We have avoided Kt for a few years, opting to ride smaller less crowded trail systems.
    "Douche-bags" are local as well as "from away".
    Popularity is cyclical in nature. Solutions come from frustration, not success.
    KT will weather the storm. The benefit from this? Riders will look to other areas to ride and discover hidden gems all over New England.

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    There's all kinds of groups you can blame. Quebexicans, mass-holes, endure-bros, middle-age guys with expensive bikes and shit-cardio, but I've got to think that to those land-owners we are all the same.
    Last edited by epic; 12-17-2019 at 07:57 PM.

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    I really hope they can work it out and learn from this lesson. Spend more time patrolling and less time marketing for new riders. Most riders know about KT at this point.
    The trail system wont be what it is without those trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    I really hope they can work it out and learn from this lesson. Spend more time patrolling and less time marketing for new riders. Most riders know about KT at this point.
    The trail system wont be what it is without those trails.
    Agree.

    KTA in general has lost their way and need to take a hard look at themselves, their focus and who they really are.

    The challenge here is who are they really accountable to? Membership begins and ends with riding the trails, the Leadership and Board while their names are available to all, contact channels are not. I get that to an extent, but many of us are on the trails much more than their leadership and feel a sense of ownership when it comes to the obviously tenuous and delicate relationship with landowners and the community in general and emails to a general box have not resulted in any meaningful change over the past couple years.

    They literally need to stop marketing all together....it needs none, as a matter of fact we need to reduce ridership back to what the trails, infrastructure and town can handle physically and emotionally.

    Imagine how the non-riders living in the area feel every weekend when they can barely move around their town.

    KTA put out a predictable press release for social media and web. However, taking another year to even receive the results of a "study" on infrastructure impact then time to socialize those results, white-board solutions, put those solutions into action etc. It will be too late. They wouldn't and shouldn't need a "study"....anyone that has been there on any number of weekends over the past 3-4 years knows EXACTLY where there are clear opportunities to reduce pain points with locals and landowners. I would also love to know how often leadership checks (or checked in) with key landowners or landowners in general? These folks clearly were among the handful of key landowners and have clearly had negative experiences which pushed them to a breaking point. Knowing the nature of the folks in the NEK, they value face to face honest interactions and I can't help but wonder if that happened consistently. More could have been done.

    This isn't 100% Monday morning quarterbacking as these are the points we have tried making to KTA for a long while through whatever channel, conversation, etc. presented itself given the lack of direct communication channels with "leadership".

    Side note: My rants, frustration, references to "Leadership" etc. are not directed at the trail crew at all, CJ and team are amazing and this doesn't fall on them. I would argue he is one of the few remaining folks in KTA with some NEK cred. Perhaps that is a dynamic that should be explored.

    Rant over.....sorry, this issue clearly hit close to home for me and my circle of local friends.
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    ^^^ I could not agree more. I dont live in the area but I am up there every other weekend in the summer. We ride, camp and canoe up there. We love it.

    River19 - Next year when we are up there I will buy you a beer. Thank you for the insight. I am sick to my stomach with this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    ^^^ I could not agree more. I dont live in the area but I am up there every other weekend in the summer. We ride, camp and canoe up there. We love it.

    River19 - Next year when we are up there I will buy you a beer. Thank you for the insight. I am sick to my stomach with this.
    Cheers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    This isn't 100% Monday morning quarterbacking as these are the points we have tried making to KTA for a long while through whatever channel, conversation, etc. presented itself given the lack of direct communication channels with "leadership".
    From KTA's website:

    The KTA is led by an all-local group of dedicated volunteers. Each Director is an active member in the community, who knows and cares about our landowners, neighbors, organization, members, trails, and the beauty that surrounds us.

    The Board of Directors meet every other month on the third Thursday of the month.

    I bolded that, just to be clear. There is really no good reason for not replying to emails, but board meetings are open to the public. Get a crew of your friends together, go to the next meeting, and offer your help to sustain the trail system. If that help is unwelcome, then there is a real problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmoreman View Post
    From KTA's website:

    The KTA is led by an all-local group of dedicated volunteers. Each Director is an active member in the community, who knows and cares about our landowners, neighbors, organization, members, trails, and the beauty that surrounds us.

    The Board of Directors meet every other month on the third Thursday of the month.

    I bolded that, just to be clear. There is really no good reason for not replying to emails, but board meetings are open to the public. Get a crew of your friends together, go to the next meeting, and offer your help to sustain the trail system. If that help is unwelcome, then there is a real problem.
    Appreciate that. Been done in the past. Lip service. No real action taken. That being said, given the nature of the current situation I believe there will be more dialog expected with more energy behind it.
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    For KTA to spend north of sixty grand on marketing every year and then lose its most popular section of trails to an eminently-predictable landowner departure is certainly a cautionary tale.

    But it's probably a really good thing for Vermont mountain biking.

    This will force the dispersal of riders to the many, many other great trail systems in the state and spread visitor revenue around to other regions. That seems like a much greater good than continuing to promote an unsustainable mega-destination.

    To its credit, I believe that KTA was trying to work along those crowd-dispersal lines as part of the "Bike the Borderlands" initiative. Hopefully that sort of advocacy will continue to have a positive impact on other trail networks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Appreciate that. Been done in the past. Lip service. No real action taken. That being said, given the nature of the current situation I believe there will be more dialog expected with more energy behind it.

    Cool. I'm really bummed about this, not just because of the riding that is currently off limits (all relationships can be repaired I believe), but because of the potential precedent for other KTA landowners and mountain biking access in general. It would be great if we could know the actual reasons, not just the assumed ones. As a board member of another organization the information could be very instructive. Of all the things we do, access and landowner relations is the absolute most important part of our job as directors. Everything else is secondary, because without the land (and we try to get 10 year access agreements at a minimum), how great your trails are doesn't matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Historychris View Post
    For KTA to spend north of sixty grand on marketing every year and then lose its most popular section of trails to an eminently-predictable landowner departure is certainly a cautionary tale.

    But it's probably a really good thing for Vermont mountain biking.

    This will force the dispersal of riders to the many, many other great trail systems in the state and spread visitor revenue around to other regions.
    Partly true, partly not. What KTA really has going for it, other than the relationships with so many landowners, is the ability to charge memberships/day passes. Many other places in the state do not or cannot charge people to ride there. Hordes of bikers showing up to one of those places would likely overwhelm the local trail resources with no ability to maintain them without that income stream. Just look at the numbers (from this link)

    -screen-shot-2019-12-17-10.51.11-am.png

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    I wonder and worry about property values, too. As this area has become an international destination, property values have most likely begun to rise. This can strain people who own land, especially in a place like Vermont, where property taxes are high. I could imagine people wanting to cash in on development opportunities both to make some money and to offset higher taxes. I'm not saying that this is what happened, because I have no way of knowing the details, but we've all seen what happens in destination towns. I hope that solutions arise, but I also hope that more ski resorts begin to see the potential that mountain biking presents in their efforts to provide 4 season recreation. Someone mentioned it already, but places like Killington could be more viable venues for big events such as NEMBAfest. I grew up in Craftsbury, VT, and I remember we had an annual Fiddlers Contest that was pretty cool -- up until too many people showed up and trashed the place, and the town voted to shut it down. I'd hate to see KTA go that way, but private land is tricky.

  50. #50
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    You guys are thinking small, that this is just an inconvenience that some of your favorite trails are going away.
    This isn't small.
    This is nuclear bomb big.
    KT without Darling Hill may continue to live, but it will be in a radically diminished form and as a result the economic impact will be huge.
    Before KT the Burke Lyndonville area was pretty impoverished. The Burke Mountain Ski Area wasn't bringing enough tourism dollars to the area
    There was and still is little industry in the area
    KT brings an estimated $10 million to the area. Now imagine the area without that $10m influx of cash.

    Imagine you're the owner of one of the many small inns, the Wildflower, the Burke Mtn Hotel, the smoothie bar, the general store (sandwich & gifte shoppe), the gas station, the Tiki Bar complex, East Burke Sports, etc. and you see the writing on the wall: The biggest weekend of the year (NEMBAFest): gone. The spring/summer/fall mtb season: dismal. No bikes sold, no parts sold, no food sold, no rooms rented. The only sales you make are to locals and to the few tourists that dive through by accident.
    No sales = no $$$ incoming = reduced staff and all that goes along with that. It means property values that were high plummet. The home you own can't be sold because now its value is underwater.

    Those middle aged dudes with shit cardo and top of the line bikes bring the dollars that make the economy go round and round. They probably love biking as much as you do and do it as often as their work and family commitments allow. You can't be young and carefree forever. Are some of them dicks? Possibly. I would hope not but there's a dick in almost every group. The squads of 40 in matching lycra speaking french don't help either. Do I know the exact solution? No, but outreach could be a good place to start.

    There are a number of good places to ride in new england but KT is special and unfortunately becoming a victim of its own success. I'm sure that the problems are huge, especially as seen though the eyes of the people that live there. But this solution is akin to cutting off your nose because of an inflamed zit.

    I truly hope that the landowners, the KTA, the locals, etc can come together to find a solution. This is a problem that will probably need to go beyond volunteer and landowner. It may become necessary to think longer term and possibly involve municipal authorities.

    I honestly don't know the solution. But if this closure stands as it is I am willing to bet that while the locals may be happier short term with a quietier, sleepier town and local roads, they won't be happy with the long term results

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    To anyone who is more familiar and intimate with the immediate problems I do apologize if I've over simplified things. This is just my 200,000 foot altitude view of the problem. I wish everyone directly involved luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmoreman View Post
    Partly true, partly not. What KTA really has going for it, other than the relationships with so many landowners, is the ability to charge memberships/day passes. Many other places in the state do not or cannot charge people to ride there. Hordes of bikers showing up to one of those places would likely overwhelm the local trail resources with no ability to maintain them without that income stream. Just look at the numbers (from this link)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A fair point, but is there a basis to fear overwhelming hoards at any particular location? I'm not sure there are other trail systems that have the sort of Bike-Town Mothership appeal of E. Burke, so it's not as though there is a single natural successor. You could have a more even dispersal throughout the region with Canadians exploring the more northerly systems and the Boston and NYC crowds shaving hours off their drives by visiting central VT/NH trails, for example.

    Plus, more visitors means more donations and in Vermont at least, more riders potentially choosing to join local chapters of VMBA, which would have a positive impact on trail stewardship.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Historychris View Post
    A fair point, but is there a basis to fear overwhelming hoards at any particular location? I'm not sure there are other trail systems that have the sort of Bike-Town Mothership appeal of E. Burke, so it's not as though there is a single natural successor. You could have a more even dispersal throughout the region with Canadians exploring the more northerly systems and the Boston and NYC crowds shaving hours off their drives by visiting central VT/NH trails, for example.

    Plus, more visitors means more donations and in Vermont at least, more riders potentially choosing to join local chapters of VMBA, which would have a positive impact on trail stewardship.
    True. It doesn't necessarily mean they will all come to one place, but when a certain demographic has adopted a place as their go-to (the aforementioned lycra clad 20+ size groups) they will likely find another place to go to en masse.

    I hope for KTA's sake that this is something they can recover from/mend relationships, but if not and some riders choose to look elsewhere, they will discover some wonderful riding places all over New England.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Historychris View Post
    A fair point, but is there a basis to fear overwhelming hoards at any particular location? I'm not sure there are other trail systems that have the sort of Bike-Town Mothership appeal of E. Burke, so it's not as though there is a single natural successor. You could have a more even dispersal throughout the region with Canadians exploring the more northerly systems and the Boston and NYC crowds shaving hours off their drives by visiting central VT/NH trails, for example.

    Plus, more visitors means more donations and in Vermont at least, more riders potentially choosing to join local chapters of VMBA, which would have a positive impact on trail stewardship.
    KT is unique in many ways, not the least of which is it being so centrally located as far as park and ride for a day or two if you wanted and everything is within a quick bike ride from you. We have ridden many of the "IMBA Ride Centers" etc. NC, Roanoke, PA, Canaan, etc. and let me tell you, we are spoiled by having linked trails to cover mileage like this with amenities, I mean crap we did a pub crawl on our bikes as there are places to relax, grab a beer along the ride.....that doesn't exist in any of the other places we have been. THAT is some of the magic for people......sure there aren't non-stop black diamonds etc. but there is something for everyone and that whole package is what brings people to KT without needing anymore marketing etc.

    That is why it is so important to re-focus on the foundation of what this is all built on....landowner relationships, not videos marketing the lifestyle and fashion appealing to the #vanlife crowd.... trying to smash the Strava KOM on Riverwood while they rock the brown pow....

    And part of me also worries about what happens when the douchery that KT kept contained in the NEK spreads to the other emerging ride centers...... again we need to self police in some way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    And part of me also worries about what happens when the douchery that KT kept contained in the NEK spreads to the other emerging ride centers...... again we need to self police in some way.
    Since I stopped going to E Burke 6-7 years ago, I can attest that the douchery has moved to places like Stowe and Waterbury, which are now on my avoid list. The douchery follows the sanitation level of trails, build easy flow trails and they will come. Keep them natural and narrow and peaceful they will be.

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    The douchery exists when you have too many people in not enough space. To me, the gong show is a manifestation of a need not being met for those looking to ride in the region. (Edit: I know there is lots of riding in VT, but there is an overall experience that KT offers that people are after)

    We have a ton of riders in BC, but also a lot of terrain to support it. The only time out here I have ever felt close to the same sense of overcrowding as I experienced at KT last Labor Day weekend was when most of the trail network was snowed in, and everybody in the region descended on one snow-free riding spot.

    The answer is more trails and more networks to spread the load.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    Since I stopped going to E Burke 6-7 years ago, I can attest that the douchery has moved to places like Stowe and Waterbury, which are now on my avoid list. The douchery follows the sanitation level of trails, build easy flow trails and they will come. Keep them natural and narrow and peaceful they will be.
    Stowe and Waterbury have definite douche factor of recent. Sill love those trails but they're getting a bit overrun with people. That being said, there are plenty of narrow, less traveled trails around central/northern VT that aren't mapped or known very well.

    One thing that always blew me away was how people mindlessly flock to the same few riding spots in VT when there are so many better trails networks around if you do a little homework and are willing to explore a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Stowe and Waterbury have definite douche factor of recent. Sill love those trails but they're getting a bit overrun with people. That being said, there are plenty of narrow, less traveled trails around central/northern VT that aren't mapped or known very well.

    One thing that always blew me away was how people mindlessly flock to the same few riding spots in VT when there are so many better trails networks around if you do a little homework and are willing to explore a bit.
    My point exactly! Wanting to avoid Le douchery, I was able to discover many places that offers quality trails and peace and quiet. Slate Valley and Northfield comes to mind.

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    What Ipe said. A few years ago the operator of KT estimated that they brought $4.5M into the Vermont economy. Assuming most of that is local to Burke and Lyndon, that is an enormous economic hit if KT shuts down or even sees a marked decline.
    Burke Mountain and Jay peak are for sale, and if either shuts down I'd say that would spell the end of the northeast kingdom as a destination.

    The landowners may see this is a win, they get a respite from those annoying mountain bikers, but I bet none of those land owners rely on the local tourism economy to make a living. (Quick check, it looks like two are retired and one is a general contractor that builds bridges).
    I understand that people move to/live in places like Caledonia county for the quiet but they should also be aware of how everyone else in their neighborhood makes a living. Tourism is the driving industry up there and without it, Burke, Lyndon, Lyndonville just look like another aging, slowly failing cities that won't exist 40-50 years from now.

    Does KTA have the right to their land? nope, and I don't know the full story, but it seems like KT may have had enough money to pay for some sort of behavior enforcement program to prevent this from continuing to happen.

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    It's clear that KT is over-populated, and overcrowding brings out the worst in all of us. There are things that KTA has apparently done to try to deal with these issues and more that they could do. But, what has been done to make the landowners more willing to put up with the crap?

    I don't know the specifics there. Do they get any benefit other than seeing the town economy boom? In nearby states, landowners who open their property to planned recreation qualify for "current use" status which reduces their real estate taxes. In Vermont, only active agricultural and forestry use qualifies the land for this program. Expanding the program to recreational use not only gives these landowners a monetary incentive to deal with the users, but would open up vast acreage throughout the state for the creation of alternative destinations, and take some pressure off KT. To a lesser degree, just forbidding the (no trespassing) posting of "current use" land would likely expand the bike-able terrain throughout the state.

    Vermonters, please tell your legislators that "current use" improvements could be boosting the outdoor recreation economy, offsetting the complaints that it helps too many large landowners who don't need our help.

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    Dave Packie has been preaching for years "don't sell out your resource". KTA has been doing exactly that for far too long. Personally I'm not sure MTB advocacy groups should be marketing trails on land owned by someone else.

    I was at an MTB workshop put on by The US Forest Service last spring and CJ was one of the panelists for a group discussion. He expressed concern about the situation and said something to the effect that if they had known 25 years ago what things would look like today they may have had second thoughts. CJ and the trail crews have done a killer job building and improving the trails there, which is what kept me coming back.

    The one glaring deficiency of the KTA model is they don't have permanent trail easements (at least not that I am aware of). So they can invest money in improving trails like Riverwood or the three T trails and have the rug pulled out from under themselves with little warning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Personally I'm not sure MTB advocacy groups should be marketing trails on land owned by someone else.
    That is it! Marketing and investing time and large sum of money on land you do not own is ludicrous. Hope we get to read Dave's point of view on this situation. He's always a good read, agree or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    That is it! Marketing and investing time and large sum of money on land you do not own is ludicrous. Hope we get to read Dave's point of view on this situation. He's always a good read, agree or not.
    And you can't get two more disparate positions on trail building and advocacy than KT's approach and Dave's......lol

    Again, to many, this was always a reality on the horizon and no matter how often or who called "Iceberg!!! Dead Ahead".......here we are.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I was at an MTB workshop put on by The US Forest Service last spring and CJ was one of the panelists for a group discussion. He expressed concern about the situation and said something to the effect that if they had known 25 years ago what things would look like today they may have had second thoughts. CJ and the trail crews have done a killer job building and improving the trails there, which is what kept me coming back.
    Bingo!

    I said this earlier in the thread. One of the reasons CJ was asked about planning and knowing what they know now was to dispel the idea that others in the region should look to KT for the go-to model.

    Basically, if you want those numbers then know that up front and plan for it. Otherwise plan for whatever you are shooting for.

    As I said above, I think there are some great reasons KT come to prominence, and its stayed that way for those reasons plus this brand that was born.

    This is a great case study in showing how successful a place like KT can be, but also cautions that a lot needs to go into it before it can that big. Lots of big questions to ask before dirt is moved.

    I sure hope other spots don't get this brand and go through this cycle without it being more planned out. If we as a community want places like this they need to be well-thought out and intentional.

    I agree, kudos to CJ and all for doing a stellar job playing catch up. No one could've seen those numbers 25 years ago or expect MTB to become what it has, hard to plan for. But now we know better.
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    The town of Burke is in a very tough spot. Unlike Jay Peak, The receiver still won't let the Burke Mountain area go up for sale because the ski area project hasn't created enough jobs to satisfy the EB-5 requirements. Diminished KT ridership is going to really hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbikeski View Post
    It's clear that KT is over-populated, and overcrowding brings out the worst in all of us. There are things that KTA has apparently done to try to deal with these issues and more that they could do. But, what has been done to make the landowners more willing to put up with the crap?

    I don't know the specifics there. Do they get any benefit other than seeing the town economy boom? In nearby states, landowners who open their property to planned recreation qualify for "current use" status which reduces their real estate taxes. In Vermont, only active agricultural and forestry use qualifies the land for this program. Expanding the program to recreational use not only gives these landowners a monetary incentive to deal with the users, but would open up vast acreage throughout the state for the creation of alternative destinations, and take some pressure off KT. To a lesser degree, just forbidding the (no trespassing) posting of "current use" land would likely expand the bike-able terrain throughout the state.

    Vermonters, please tell your legislators that "current use" improvements could be boosting the outdoor recreation economy, offsetting the complaints that it helps too many large landowners who don't need our help.
    Very good point although I'm pretty sure VT current use does not have the tax incentives that neighboring states offer.

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    I'm sure the public 'outing' of the landowners name(s0 was a move in the right direction...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowridge View Post
    I'm sure the public 'outing' of the landowners name(s0 was a move in the right direction...
    How would that not get out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    How would that not get out?

    And let's be clear here, none of this is the fault of the landowners whatsoever. Anyone blaming them, or having any ill thoughts towards them is woefully misguided.
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    Just to get it on record......not that it isn't abundantly clear on this thread what my position is but here are some things to think about:

    KTA literally invites people onto other people's land and charges them a fee. They MARKET using other people's land.

    The uniqueness of KT for 25 Friggin' YEARS has been that there have been 100 contiguous landowners willing to allow this relationship to exist for the greater good. Think about the balance of indebtedness in this structure?

    The entire foundation of KT and KTA is built on the relationship with the landowners and the community. Let that sink in for a second......without a few key landowners there is no real KT trail system. As we saw what 3 of 100 can do to the system.

    The organization the community and larger user community entrust as stewards of the trail system are really primarily the stewards of those key 100 relationships.

    Look carefully at the existing full time positions at the current version KTA, for an organization whose entire business and existence relies on those relationships there is NO ONE DEDICATED TO COMMUNITY OR LANDOWNER RELATIONS!!!!! 1-2 PEOPLE DEDICATED TO "EVENTS"....which is NEMBAFest, WinterBike and maybe some of the smaller Liv events but I doubt they have anything much to do with those.

    They have focused a boatload of time inviting more and more and more people onto other people's land over ensuring the relationships are sound and continued growth is what the community wants.

    This was envisioned and built as a multi-use trail system. When we started riding there back in the day we ran into horseback riders, runners, hikers etc. Imagine having bridges and trails built on your property without first checking with you? Imagine those bridges and features are not horse friendly? Imagine you bought your 180 acres to enjoy with your horses and now not being able to do so?

    Do you all really think this was a single incident?

    There has been and is an overcrowding and behavioral issue of the guests KTA has continued to invite and grow year after year. When your invited guests start mistreating the local community and landowners, it is the responsibility of the hosts to take proactive action. Those hosts are KTA.

    That doesn't mean the other portion doesn't fall on riders to not be dicks. It really isn't hard to NOT be a douche when enjoying a weekend of fresh air and trails. If you want to be a competitive narrow minded prick where everything is about you......enter a race.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Just to get it on record......not that it isn't abundantly clear on this thread what my position is but here are some things to think about:

    KTA literally invites people onto other people's land and charges them a fee. They MARKET using other people's land.

    The uniqueness of KT for 25 Friggin' YEARS has been that there have been 100 contiguous landowners willing to allow this relationship to exist for the greater good. Think about the balance of indebtedness in this structure?

    The entire foundation of KT and KTA is built on the relationship with the landowners and the community. Let that sink in for a second......without a few key landowners there is no real KT trail system. As we saw what 3 of 100 can do to the system.

    The organization the community and larger user community entrust as stewards of the trail system are really primarily the stewards of those key 100 relationships.

    Look carefully at the existing full time positions at the current version KTA, for an organization whose entire business and existence relies on those relationships there is NO ONE DEDICATED TO COMMUNITY OR LANDOWNER RELATIONS!!!!! 1-2 PEOPLE DEDICATED TO "EVENTS"....which is NEMBAFest, WinterBike and maybe some of the smaller Liv events but I doubt they have anything much to do with those.

    They have focused a boatload of time inviting more and more and more people onto other people's land over ensuring the relationships are sound and continued growth is what the community wants.

    This was envisioned and built as a multi-use trail system. When we started riding there back in the day we ran into horseback riders, runners, hikers etc. Imagine having bridges and trails built on your property without first checking with you? Imagine those bridges and features are not horse friendly? Imagine you bought your 180 acres to enjoy with your horses and now not being able to do so?

    Do you all really think this was a single incident?

    There has been and is an overcrowding and behavioral issue of the guests KTA has continued to invite and grow year after year. When your invited guests start mistreating the local community and landowners, it is the responsibility of the hosts to take proactive action. Those hosts are KTA.

    That doesn't mean the other portion doesn't fall on riders to not be dicks. It really isn't hard to be a douche when enjoying a weekend of fresh air and trails. If you want to be a competitive narrow minded prick where everything is about you......enter a race.....
    Well said.

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    [QUOTE=River19. If you want to be a competitive narrow minded prick where everything is about you......enter a race.....[/QUOTE]

    This sums up most of the issues I ever had there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Just to get it on record......not that it isn't abundantly clear on this thread what my position is but here are some things to think about:

    KTA literally invites people onto other people's land and charges them a fee. They MARKET using other people's land.

    The uniqueness of KT for 25 Friggin' YEARS has been that there have been 100 contiguous landowners willing to allow this relationship to exist for the greater good. Think about the balance of indebtedness in this structure?

    The entire foundation of KT and KTA is built on the relationship with the landowners and the community. Let that sink in for a second......without a few key landowners there is no real KT trail system. As we saw what 3 of 100 can do to the system.

    The organization the community and larger user community entrust as stewards of the trail system are really primarily the stewards of those key 100 relationships.

    Look carefully at the existing full time positions at the current version KTA, for an organization whose entire business and existence relies on those relationships there is NO ONE DEDICATED TO COMMUNITY OR LANDOWNER RELATIONS!!!!! 1-2 PEOPLE DEDICATED TO "EVENTS"....which is NEMBAFest, WinterBike and maybe some of the smaller Liv events but I doubt they have anything much to do with those.

    They have focused a boatload of time inviting more and more and more people onto other people's land over ensuring the relationships are sound and continued growth is what the community wants.

    This was envisioned and built as a multi-use trail system. When we started riding there back in the day we ran into horseback riders, runners, hikers etc. Imagine having bridges and trails built on your property without first checking with you? Imagine those bridges and features are not horse friendly? Imagine you bought your 180 acres to enjoy with your horses and now not being able to do so?

    Do you all really think this was a single incident?

    There has been and is an overcrowding and behavioral issue of the guests KTA has continued to invite and grow year after year. When your invited guests start mistreating the local community and landowners, it is the responsibility of the hosts to take proactive action. Those hosts are KTA.

    That doesn't mean the other portion doesn't fall on riders to not be dicks. It really isn't hard to NOT be a douche when enjoying a weekend of fresh air and trails. If you want to be a competitive narrow minded prick where everything is about you......enter a race.....
    River19, I appreciate your well formed and written posts on this matter. My wife and I have met you and yours on the trails in the past (mostly matching Pivots).

    I have numerous stories of on-trail conflicts with large groups of riders in matching kit. Last year we witnessed the most disgusting display of unnecessary SUV shuttling right in front of the Inn at Mountain View. A "team" of mixed ages, kids included, pour out of 4 giant SUVs with hip hop music going full blast and enough F-bombs to send Tipper Gore into convulsions. Rather than pay the $5 to park at the farm lot, they block the entrance to unload. It was as far from the Vermont riding scene I've known and loved as one can get.

    Not to say this is just a Quebecois (city-centric mentality) issue, but it's a large part in my experience, and I don't believe it's too late for KTA to start more aggressive education and enforcement program for riders...in dual languages, in addition your suggestion of hiring a team of dedicated relationship directors or community ambassadors. I'd gladly pay twice my season's pass price for that to happen.

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    The only way KTA can enforce rules and prevent people from acting like total sh!theads is to have more of a presence on the trail network. Posting rules and expectations on the back of the trail map just isn't cutting it. People are buying their ticket and having a free for all and this obviously isn't working.

    Much like larger ski resorts, KT should have a team of volunteer, seasonal "ambassadors" to be present on the trails, interact with guests and just be visible. They won't be the trail police, but people will most likely act more like humans if they frequently see KTA staff around the trails.

    Give each volunteer and their families an official KTA jersey, free seasons passes and some other perks and it just might help.

    If KTA is going to market aggressively and bring such a huge number of people to other people's land, it should be their responsibility to help manage the crowds much a like ski resort does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    The only way KTA can enforce rules and prevent people from acting like total sh!theads is to have more of a presence on the trail network. Posting rules and expectations on the back of the trail map just isn't cutting it. People are buying their ticket and having a free for all and this obviously isn't working.

    Much like larger ski resorts, KT should have a team of volunteer, seasonal "ambassadors" to be present on the trails, interact with guests and just be visible. They won't be the trail police, but people will most likely act more like humans if they frequently see KTA staff around the trails.

    Give each volunteer and their families an official KTA jersey, free seasons passes and some other perks and it just might help.

    If KTA is going to market aggressively and bring such a huge number of people to other people's land, it should be their responsibility to help manage the crowds much a like ski resort does.
    Totally agree.

    Whether they want to take that role or not, as hosts and energetic marketers of bringing people onto other people's land and charging a fee.....KTA like it or not shoulder that burden.

    Agree on the ski model. It works.

    This isn't hard, it has been solved for elsewhere.

    To get a pass, annual or day, an ID must be presented and the name is associated with that bar-coded pass #. You get your pass yanked by a Trail Patrol, no KT for a year. Just like when you are a dick on a ski mountain.

    Illegally park your rig or trailer or setup a friggin' campsite taking up multiple spots in a KT negotiated parking area, same deal.....driver pass gets yanked.

    Which brings us to enforcing getting a damn pass in the first place. We encounter many without passes of any kind. We have even asked people in casual conversation.....they felt $15 for Dad was good enough but Mother and 2-3 teens ride for free per Dad.

    Side note, I know we are walking a fine line on the behavioral issues and quirks of our Northern neighbors, but lest any of you forget my thread from years ago regarding this very topic that lead to some conversations with the head of the "sandwich sponsored" group of riders that travel in hoards.......clearly progress has not been made all these years later.

    A few things to think about "who" is primarily responsible for the following:

    - Shuttling to the tops of more downhill sections in large groups and parking on town roads to unload 4-8 people and gear like locals don't need to drive the roads as well.....
    - Bringing trailers into crowded parking lots.....think Sundays when people are too cheap to pay for an extra night at the campground so they bring their rig and trailer, park it lengthwise in the downtown lots of which a 60' rig takes up ~7 legit parking spots for other users.
    - Setting up "camp" downtown in the parking lots like $15/person entitles you to a section of river front, parking lot, etc.
    - Ignoring any and all signage in either language.
    - Ignoring the rules about large groups and not gathering said groups at each trail intersection.
    - Passing Men Women and Children aggressively and silently on the trails like it is a race consisting of mutes
    - I have literally been asked by multiple folks from north how they can circumvent the climb in East Haven and what roads they can use to shuttle and park at the top......seriously. Earn your turns like the rest of us dirtbags.

    The list goes on.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    The douchery follows the sanitation level of trails, build easy flow trails and they will come. Keep them natural and narrow and peaceful they will be.
    1000x this.

    A major portion of the people that regularly mob KT won't bother travelling to other places ride more challenging trails. Place has always held a big attraction for the 'lowest common denominator' demographic; big miles and nice views with a very low bar as far as required skill and effort.
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    Another issue with the trail crowding is that all riders begin to take on a New York City sidewalk mentality of defending their space. I know I have started to feel like I go into that zone of look forward only and find my line through the hoard when trying to wait out what feels like a never ending river of spandex. At some points I have run out of friendly energy and go dark.
    This is why I'm making my own trails behind my house

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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    The only way KTA can enforce rules and prevent people from acting like total sh!theads is to have more of a presence on the trail network. Posting rules and expectations on the back of the trail map just isn't cutting it. People are buying their ticket and having a free for all and this obviously isn't working.

    Much like larger ski resorts, KT should have a team of volunteer, seasonal "ambassadors" to be present on the trails, interact with guests and just be visible. They won't be the trail police, but people will most likely act more like humans if they frequently see KTA staff around the trails.

    Give each volunteer and their families an official KTA jersey, free seasons passes and some other perks and it just might help.

    If KTA is going to market aggressively and bring such a huge number of people to other people's land, it should be their responsibility to help manage the crowds much a like ski resort does.
    I've seen trail ambassadors out on Darling Hill before, but not for many, many years. Is it coincidental that the issues I've experienced out on the trails have been in the years since then? I don't know, but I suspect the absence of anyone quasi official out on the trails hasn't helped any. If KT is to survive, which with this hole on Darling Hill is doubtful, a serious presence needs to be out there, every weekend.

    While it SHOULD be completely unnecessary, it might not hurt to post a bunch of signs saying something along the lines of:

    DON'T be a D!CK!
    PLEASE be nice to EVERYONE
    ALWAYS yield to horses
    KEEP your group size to 6 or fewer
    REMEMBER - Don't be a D!CK

    Oh, be sure to make the signs in French and English
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    Mob mentality applies to mtb unfortunately.

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    If only we saw this coming .....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    If only we saw this coming .....
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to DaveVt again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    In the future the KTA could triple the price for a day pass. This would fund more patrollers who could pull tickets, no questions asked, for anyone being dick. Would this price people out? Yes, but that would get the trail traffic and town traffic down to a potentially more manageable level.

    Want to ride but you can't afford it? No problem, here a shovel, trash bag, rake, paint brush, pooper scooper, butter churn, whatever. You're going to do 2 hours or so of hard labor to earn your day pass. Now you've got a stake in the trails too.
    Where have I heard that before? Lol. Easy solution in a capitalist economy. Supply vs. Demand. Make a visit 10x more expensive for out of state visitors. If 1/10 of the people visit...win. If 1/5th still visit, 80 percent reduction in negative impacts, while doubling revenue for the KTA. Vt residents enjoy a MUCH lower rate.

    That basic idea should be applied to all tourist activity in Vt. Make it WAY more expensive to visit to incentive-ize becoming a resident. Many many of our issue in this state looking forward revolve around too many tourists, not enough residents.

    Everyone recreating outside on publicly available lands needs to buy insurance in the form of a recreation pass....just like hunting and fishing. Residents rate, and out-of-state rates. ALL funds go towards stewardship, and search and rescue efforts if needed.

    A 25 dollar tax on every car coming into the state that is not registered in Vt. Once a year auto pass. All funds to support mass transit that functions all over the state.

    CAP the number of tourists in areas over-run, derive the number from the area population, let the local towns and

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    My point exactly! Wanting to avoid Le douchery, I was able to discover many places that offers quality trails and peace and quiet. Slate Valley and Northfield comes to mind.
    STFU about Northfield. We don't want that cancer here. Our climbing and technical riding will protect us from the masses hopefuly.

    Slate Valley for sure, they are actively trying to become the kingdom trails. Building out parking lots all over their network ect. The problem is marketing and advertising, and yes, engineering trails to become a parity of MTBing.

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    Dave, always an interesting take from you.

    Side note - I posted a link to the original Article with no commentary/opinion in the "Eastern Canada" forum about 36 hours ago. Granted they don't get the same level of traffic in that forum as we do, but to date 151 "views" with not a single comment. Take that however you want.....

    What I can say is KTA, that group is where a large portion of your volume is coming from and by many observations from other riders, local community and some landowners also where your behavioral challenges are also coming from. Yet 151 people read at least the headline and didn't care enough to comment.
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    Scotty O has the solution. Supply v Demand. We, as residents, need to make it WAY more expensive to visit Vermont.

    10x the cost, 1/10th the visits....win.

    All cars coming into the state pay a once a year auto pass. 50 bucks. All $ devoted to development and support of mass transit that works for all of Vt.

    Recreation pass. Everyone, residents and visitors pay once a year. Just like Hunting and Fishing. Much more expensive for out-of-state players. All $ goes towards access and stewardship, and search and rescue when needed.

    A cap on the number of tourists in any given area or town as decided by the residents.

    Eliminate the State Department of Tourism and Marketing. I think enough people know about Vermont, or let private enterprise pay for their own advertising. To use tax dollars to sell our backyards out to an ever increasing number of tourist lead to where the KTA now finds it's self. Waterbury as well. Other areas hot on their heels.

    Folks thinking the revenue is the most important thing need to read more about the future of services that tourism supports, and unpack where that money really goes. Much of it out of state, or to a small handful of people who are generally well off as compared to the surrounding population. We don't have to guess where an ever-increasing number of tourists lead for any location. This is not my opinion. I've been stating the facts for a while now, but the proponents like to make it about me. It's really about protecting Vt communities from wealth extraction riding on the back of pollution, just like everywhere on the globe that has gone down this path for their quality of life resources and economic future.

    If places like the KT are such an economic BOOM for EBurke and the surrounding area, where's the resources? With enough fore-sight and financial support this could have been averted for sure. Sadly, the economics are bullshit and the KTA's lack of ability to have paid folks working on these issue out in front, instead of some volunteers meeting 6 times a year with purely reactionary actions, or no actions at all belies the truth. Extraction, pollution, destruction of culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    STFU about Northfield. We don't want that cancer here. Our climbing and technical riding will protect us from the masses hopefuly.
    Then I'd suggest deleting your personal Northfield thread. All kidding aside, I told some friends about your trails and they came back saying they couldn't see anything on Trailfork, I said they needed to navigate with a hand drawn map, too complicated was the answer. Keep it like that and you'll be safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Slate Valley for sure, they are actively trying to become the kingdom trails. Building out parking lots all over their network ect. The problem is marketing and advertising, and yes, engineering trails to become a parity of MTBing.
    Probably is their goal indeed. And when it become a shit show like many other places, I'll just try to find the hidden gem once again.

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    I feel like it’s pretty rare in 2019 to see such a passionate and vibrant discussion remaining civil like this one.
    Well done mtbr...so far.

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    I see it like this. I am not a VT resident yet but was in the past. I don't mind pay to play.
    I buy my KTA season pass every year which I think is a bargain at $75. If I ride anywhere else that looks for a donation or payment, I pay. I know what it take to make a maintain the trails I enjoy. I am not out to screw anyone. I pay for my riding and camping. Buy most of my food up there to support the local communities.
    With the all the trail building up north maybe some of Le traffic will slow down a bit but it seems like they all like to get kitted up and race at KTA since if is smooth and fast.

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    So how the hell does this announcement just happen the other day with no warning from kta? Are they really that deaf to the landowners concerns or were they daring them to do this? Either way it's really piss poor.

    That said, I drove through the night on a Friday in the summer of '17. I thought a weekday would have somewhat light trail traffic. I was very wrong. It was an experience but not something I want to do again. Since that day the media coverage has been relentless. I can't imagine how bad it's gotten for the landowners the last 2 summers.

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    Green Woodlands will become an absolute shit show in the coming years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    I feel like it’s pretty rare in 2019 to see such a passionate and vibrant discussion remaining civil like this one.
    Well done mtbr...so far.
    Doing our level best I think to stay there.

    Agree, it has been a passionate but fruitful and honest discussion of the issues we all have known and seen for years.

    I think it is also good to have a documented discussion that just flat out calls a spade a spade.....perhaps KTA should spend some more time "listening" to people vs. pushing their "marketing" noise on everyone. Perhaps they should huddle by the laptop and read the 400+ comments on their FB post, and not just take the "we love you KTA" comments to heart, but the ones that hit closer to home and the truth of the issues. Maybe log into this thread and just read......
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzaboom View Post
    Green Woodlands will become an absolute shit show in the coming years.
    Next on the shut-down list.
    They should go put rocks back into the trails ASAP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    Then I'd suggest deleting your personal Northfield thread. All kidding aside, I told some friends about your trails and they came back saying they couldn't see anything on Trailfork, I said they needed to navigate with a hand drawn map, too complicated was the answer. Keep it like that and you'll be safe.



    Probably is their goal indeed. And when it become a shit show like many other places, I'll just try to find the hidden gem once again.
    Lol. I got that map deleted. MTB really is diverging like skiing did. There will hopefully be "Riding Areas" like there are "Ski Areas" which would help manage some of these issues, or at least channel them to places already built out for traffic like Killington, Bolton, Smuggs, Stratton, ect. Everything else can then be left as Back Country mountain biking and the obscurity, challenge, and local control can protect them going forward.

  93. #93
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    soon as I cash my billion dollar check I am buying all that land and shutting it all down. riding by VT residents only and direct guests. no foreigners w/o local chaperones.

    [just trying to sort out the billion dollar check part...]



    anyhow, that is what you get. it suuuuucks. do something nice, and random turds will eventually make you rethink everything nice you ever did.
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    "...riding by VT residents only and direct guests. no foreigners w/o local chaperones."
    Funny, this is how Atlantic Salmon fishing is regulated in Qc, and N.B. I've been many times and it's always wonderful. Uncrowded, clean, organized. $100 a day and up non-residents. Residents only need a provincial fishing license. In New Brunswick non-residents are required to have a guide. These trips are some of my most cherished memories with my Pop. They are not an "every weekend" type of experience. The locals value their resources far too much to sell it so cheap. The rivers are well cared for, the fish are protected. Numbers are low, resources high. Total number of users tracked, limited ect. Things like that incentive-ize residency. From a wider view of many issues facing Vt., residence is what we need. It has to be worth it to live here, vs treat the state like a cheap date.

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    If trail closures stick, losing a key swath of trail in the center of the network should reduce the number visitors, which most agree seems to be necessary. Businesses rely on volume.....will be interesting to see how reduced volume affects them

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    "...riding by VT residents only and direct guests. no foreigners w/o local chaperones."
    Funny, this is how Atlantic Salmon fishing is regulated in Qc, and N.B. I've been many times and it's always wonderful. Uncrowded, clean, organized. $100 a day and up non-residents. Residents only need a provincial fishing license. In New Brunswick non-residents are required to have a guide. These trips are some of my most cherished memories with my Pop. They are not an "every weekend" type of experience. The locals value their resources far too much to sell it so cheap. The rivers are well cared for, the fish are protected. Numbers are low, resources high. Total number of users tracked, limited ect. Things like that incentive-ize residency. From a wider view of many issues facing Vt., residence is what we need. It has to be worth it to live here, vs treat the state like a cheap date.
    The tax burden on residents to make this work would make your stomach turn.

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    Even with ingress and egress from the Resort to KT having shifted a few times in the past 10 years, once those Monster Energy signs went up I quickly stopped going. Whomever - be it from Key Biscayne Florida or Saint J - drew upon this as a way to sustain visibility for trails et.al was clearly out of there freaking mind.
    Monster hedged upon Rock Art; to concede addressing a Court 'things' were agreed upon in F&B.
    GMCR chose off-shore placement for Vermont's Coffee, but not before giving just enough control to the Coca Cola Co. who wanted to purchase Monster only to then have their own jolt in the can segment.

    Which sounds pornographic and made it easier for the past 5 years riding with a Condom inside my Wallet and an Umbrella in the trunk of my Sedan. Never know when someone wants to screw with you in the Rain.

    Everyone now with a slight cross to their eyes - regardless of skill level and bicycle-type - Mountain Bike is a hardly-contained clutter of marketing within a barely-defined apparatus. The soil that has been designated as something to allow growth and expanded outdoor freedom as of late - especially in Jay and in E. Burke - at the end of your basic schoolteacher's day has only catered to a scheme, hosted a fraud. And, cloaked the entire Vermont Economy in subterfuge. A complete set-up.

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    Add to things, reading articles like this where KTA leadership is celebrating the recent 50% growth in riders from 2016 to 2018......holy hell that is insane.

    So basically, the new regime and "Marketing" efforts voluntarily crammed more people than they could ever plan to handle into a community already at a breaking point, combined with lack of any real plan to help police or control the massive invasion they brought in. Perfect. Is there any doubt who should be held accountable for the current mess that is KT?

    Did any of us from the area look up at any point in 2015 and say...."You know, this place could use like 50% more people in the village and on the trails.".......

    When I look at things like this, and their marketing videos dripping with lifestyle wannabe posing from the Marketing "team" it makes my blood boil knowing that behind the scenes they knew they had upset core landowners.

    Oye vey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    The tax burden on residents to make this work would make your stomach turn.
    ....and enter the Current Use program and subsidized property taxes for folks who can afford more than 25 acres...another issue with vt affordability and school funding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Add to things, reading articles like this where KTA leadership is celebrating the recent 50% growth in riders from 2016 to 2018......holy hell that is insane.

    So basically, the new regime and "Marketing" efforts voluntarily crammed more people than they could ever plan to handle into a community already at a breaking point, combined with lack of any real plan to help police or control the massive invasion they brought in. Perfect. Is there any doubt who should be held accountable for the current mess that is KT?

    Did any of us from the area look up at any point in 2015 and say...."You know, this place could use like 50% more people in the village and on the trails.".......

    When I look at things like this, and their marketing videos dripping with lifestyle wannabe posing from the Marketing "team" it makes my blood boil knowing that behind the scenes they knew they had upset core landowners.

    Oye vey.

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    Just like Vail did to Stowe, not that Stowe wasn't already squarely fuct by tourist for decades....more is the answer. For the KTA. For the VT dept of Tourism and Marketing. The answer to the issue of over use....spread it around as if there is infinite space, trails, ect. In a piece of marketing earlier this year, disguised as journalism, the head of the VT Tourism exlaimed the only problem with tourism is there isn't enough of it. Surely, this group is not done with their work until every swimming hole, bike trail, glade, pond, crag, trout stream, and peak is choked with humans and clogged by traffic. So short-sighted and self-promoting.

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    Maybe a limit on the number of passes that can be distributed on a daily basis for certain sections in addition to the yearly passes. Pass for darling hill. Pass for non darling hill. Logistically, KTA would have to shoulder a ton but would be a nice way to show landowners effort to curb overcrowding

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    No good

    This story will repeat itself throughout the years to come. The growth of mtb'ing is explosive every where. Unfortunately, the current generation of mtbr's did not suffer through the land access challenges of the '80's and '90's. Most were not even born. They take the existing trails for granted.

    Tough lesson to learn.

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    This story will repeat itself throughout the years to come. The growth of mtb'ing is explosive every where. Unfortunately, the current generation of mtbr's did not suffer through the land access challenges of the '80's and '90's. Most were not even born. They take the existing trails for granted.

    Tough lesson to learn.
    QFT.
    Don't market your (or other people's) back yard. Don't chase state grants tethered to marketing from the department of Tourism. Be highly skeptical of Economic Impact Evaluations. Build what you and your community wants with volunteer labor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Build what you and your community wants with volunteer labor.
    No dig. No ride.

    With ya there bro.
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    The problem is that northern New England is already tied to tourism economically. Industry is gone. Unless I guess if you live next to the Darn Tough factory. Most, if not all, the people who live in this region are somehow tied to the tourism economy, or out of state money of some sort. Whether that be mountain biking spots, ski resorts, colleges etc. I don't see how we put the tooth paste back in the tube in that regard.

    There has also got to be a better way to go about it than the way KT handled their business over the last decade. Zero sum games are never the answer.

  106. #106
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    This is right on..I was thinking all of those things. Those few landowners can ruin the whole economy in Burke. In a way I truly understand, but have they thought of he consequences? Maybe they will cool off and things will work out. Fingers crossed .

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post

    2) We cannot rely on private land for trail access. New England is a unique region of the country, but we have tons of public land, much of it with recreation as a main tenet. A lot of public land is way underutilized for trails in the region. KT definitely shows the huge demand, and success, of a great trail center. We need our public lands to step up and provide more of this.

    One could take 2 a step further and argue us as riders really need to be effectively asking for, and helping to implement, these high-quality destination trail systems.
    This! Our state and public lands are where the opportunity lies, much like Pisgah National Forest. The Green Mountain National Forest is huge and bursting with potential. Same with places like Camels Hump State Forest. Vermont's most populous county is on the border yet there is what, 1 or 2 trailheads for all of these residents to go to, and those are already slammed with Canadians and flatlanders. Time to take the pressure off private landowners and redirect it to the people that hold the keys to the land that our taxes go towards. We allowed ski resorts to plow these mountainsides decades ago, but can't get permission to put a single 16'' wide trail through them. We are starting to see the rangers and USFS come around in places like Rochester, VT but I don't think enough is being done in this arena.

  108. #108
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    I've ridden the Pisgah region and it was amazing. In the time I was there I was taken back by how the Forest Service seemed to make the forest available to the users. Here in the northeast the contrast is like night and day. As I understand it the Forest Service here would be happy if no one besides hikers were in THEIR forests. Actually, I think they'd be even happier of no one were in THEIR forests except them....

    All that said, lets not go on a tangent. KT is the emergency here and the Burke Lyndonville area is in for a world of economic hurt if people can't get their acts together to find an amicable solution.
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    I understand the whole charge the outsider, but I'm not down with stigmatizing groups of people just they because they have a certain license plate. I grew up in VT -- in Craftsbury, Derby, and Derby Line -- and my parents worked for their entire careers in VT and still own property in Newport. I'd rather live in VT, but for various reasons I live in Massachusetts. I don't think that I should have to effectively pay 10x extra to come home and ride my bike. I'm sure other people also have deep connections to the state. I believe there are other solutions to problems than the "keep the aliens out" approach. I've seen the charge the tourists extra policy at work in Thailand, and it sucks. It doesn't help anybody. It's possible to develop in sustainable ways, and it's possible to have tourism and recreation without getting completely out of hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xtopher whyte View Post
    I understand the whole charge the outsider, but I'm not down with stigmatizing groups of people just they because they have a certain license plate. I grew up in VT -- in Craftsbury, Derby, and Derby Line -- and my parents worked for their entire careers in VT and still own property in Newport. I'd rather live in VT, but for various reasons I live in Massachusetts. I don't think that I should have to effectively pay 10x extra to come home and ride my bike. I'm sure other people also have deep connections to the state. I believe there are other solutions to problems than the "keep the aliens out" approach. I've seen the charge the tourists extra policy at work in Thailand, and it sucks. It doesn't help anybody. It's possible to develop in sustainable ways, and it's possible to have tourism and recreation without getting completely out of hand.
    Agreed wholeheartedly. Vermont, is unique, gorgeous, fun. But there are neighboring states that COULD(IMHO currently do not) offer many of the same recreational amenties that people from all over the world, currently enjoy.

  111. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ipe View Post
    I've ridden the Pisgah region and it was amazing. In the time I was there I was taken back by how the Forest Service seemed to make the forest available to the users. Here in the northeast the contrast is like night and day. As I understand it the Forest Service here would be happy if no one besides hikers were in THEIR forests. Actually, I think they'd be even happier of no one were in THEIR forests except them....
    1) the Pisgah NF wasn't always such. There has been a lot of hard work by riders.
    2) I would typically agree, trust me the northeast has a rich storied recreation history/culture that revolves around hiking. But the WMNF was desperately trying to create more mountain bike trail recently, they wanted more MTB! But the community, the riders, said no.

    Many in this forum clearly would side with the locals who didn't want that to happen. But don't think the USFS doesn't want trails, they just have specific steps and checkboxes folks have to hit.

    The WMNF was very interested and very cognizant that they didn't provide for MTB the way they did for hikers, but the community said no and I doubt the WMNF wants to try again.

    I know many would celebrate this as a win for locals, but clearly the 60ish miles of high quality trail the WMNF was considering would've been helpful to the region.

    While I 100% feel for Dave and similar folks views and opinions, I don't think the answer is clam up and not ask for money and locals only "no dig no ride". This isn't a MTB problem, its a people problem. I still find lots of rake-n-ride, rugged, unused, solitude giving, challenging, and hidden trail throughout New England. But like Dave I like that so I seek it out, it will always be out there I doubt we will loose that. I'm from and I know of many communities where you can't get permission or support for trails.

    The MTB as soccer boat has left the dock, trails are big. We should be happy in a lot of ways, change never is easy and brings issues, but I'm excited for the future. Without getting sappy or political, people just suck and need to be reminded of how to act decent towards others and nature. Tough uphill battle, but not worth giving up.
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  112. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzaboom View Post
    The problem is that northern New England is already tied to tourism economically. Industry is gone. .Unless I guess if you live next to the Darn Tough factory. I don't see how we put the tooth paste back in the tube in that regard.
    How is Darn Tough able to thrive in Vt? There are so many opportunities for production of goods in state, or with regional partners. It won't happen without incentive. Agricultural products, Hemp products, textiles. While the manufacturing of old was dirty as hell and created a lot of problems the state is still dealing with (dead-beat dams, dirt lakes, ect) Small and medium scale production of goods could easily have a place in New England without returning to the dark ages.

    I train martial arts. Until recently there was not 1 single company that made uniforms (Gi) in the USA. It took a retired Navy Seal who is also a black belt to realize and fix this problem. He found an old loom in Lewiston Maine, he found the old codger that used to work on it. He built a small factory. He developed the product as a martial arts Gi made in the USA from dirt to shirt. OriginMaine.com Now they make Gi, Boots, jeans, and are growing. It takes people with vision, not defeatest attitudes. It works. They are more expensive that the Gi coming from India and the Middle East, but I'll never buy another brand again. I worked in a small factory making tortillas for a few years. They use local and regional organic corn. We milled and produced agricultural products. They grew rapidly and moved to a larger space in Burlington. I would be managing production there if the commute and my home life were more reasonable. It can totally work in Vermont and New England, and in consideration of the pollution associated with the global supply, manufacture, and retail chain, local production and consumption is not only doable, but will only be gaining a competitive edge as the world begins to put a price on carbon.

    Greed killed US and New England manufacturing on the back of cheap fossil fuels. Industries not willing to support labor. Nothing more. Turning the State and Region into out door dysney land is a Fail IMO. Our open spaces are not a product, they are our environment, our church, our therapy. The Vt landscape is much more than a product for residents. It needs to be treated as such.

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokee300 View Post
    Agreed wholeheartedly. Vermont, is unique, gorgeous, fun. But there are neighboring states that COULD(IMHO currently do not) offer many of the same recreational amenties that people from all over the world, currently enjoy.
    Please do so. I'm from New Jersey. When I go home and Trout Fish, I pay a lot more than my resident family does....and I do it because I don't pay any taxes in the state. The system works, is on-line already it would just have to be slightly altered. It could be live very quickly. The concept of tax payers and residents having access to things non-residents pay for is not radical.

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    I don't think there is any going back with KT. The place is already overrun with tourists who clearly don't give a damn about the area or the fact that it's a privilege to ride on private land. I bet that the same mindless tourists will continued to ride KT and the closed Darling Hill area will just force riders on the other areas of the network and simply make it worse. I also predict that the same idiots will most likely poach the Darling Hill trails as the theme there lately is that "rules don't apply to me because I'm an entitled tourist."

    DaveVT has remarked that excessive tourism can easily ruin a place like KT and here we are.

    The best way to forward is for other land managers/trail networks to learn from how screwy KT is. Taking trails off Trailforks, not printing maps and not making it so easy to find trails is a good place to start.

    I spent a good chunk of this riding season exploring trails around VT that aren't on Trailforks, aren't mapped, aren't signed and aren't well traveled. I got lost, did some bushwhacking but found amazing trails that blew my mind. Easily some of the most rewarding riding I've done since moving here. It took effort, some exploring, a lot of time but it was much better than mindlessly following a map. This is how mountain biking was when I started riding in the 90s and, while technology has made riding better in many ways, its also made it too accessible.

    Point is, land managers should stop making it so easy painfully easy to find good trails. Bring some adventure and challenge back to mountain biking and don't pursue these "Disneyland" riding areas that feel like a resort.
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  115. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Please do so. I'm from New Jersey. When I go home and Trout Fish, I pay a lot more than my resident family does....and I do it because I don't pay any taxes in the state. The system works, is on-line already it would just have to be slightly altered. It could be live very quickly. The concept of tax payers and residents having access to things non-residents pay for is not radical.
    What I was alluding to is your previous mention of a border tax on non-resident vehicles. A different fee structure for residents vs non residents based on individual state run facilities/activities is a very reasonable idea.

  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Please do so. I'm from New Jersey. When I go home and Trout Fish, I pay a lot more than my resident family does....and I do it because I don't pay any taxes in the state. The system works, is on-line already it would just have to be slightly altered. It could be live very quickly. The concept of tax payers and residents having access to things non-residents pay for is not radical.
    As another side note, we should also remember in VT not only do us technical "non-res" pay more for our hunting and fishing licenses etc. ( which is fine by me for F&G) but we also pay higher property taxes to the lovely state of VT.


    But none of this is really immediately impacting KT as much as their flawed leadership focus and poor stewardship of the trail system.
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    My No Dig, No Ride ethic does not imply that you can't ride here if you don't work here. It implies that if you are a rider, you need to also be a trail worker....somewhere. Local work on local networks because of the logistics. Paying Tom Steussy's salary with VMBA membership has been going on for a long time now. The result is marketing and use, degraded trails everywhere a Kiosk goes in. Parking lots. Articles in State-produced marketing material disguised as journalism in Vt Sports. It's extraction, plain a simple. 100 thousand a mile trail in Little river and Montpelier. It's ****ing offensive.

    I'll add, when you are a local steward, you realize how dynamic a trail is, how profound a change a 2x, 4x, and 10x increase and traffic can bring, and how much time and effort it takes to attempt to match those increases in use with increased engagement. You become a different trail user. You stop taking trail for granted and instead, become conscious of every foot of trail you ride. You become exactly what the KTA is telling us we need to be as a user group. For a decade plus, the myth has been, "More users, more support." Nothing VMBA has promised has materialized, except a massive increase in use and a loss of quality trail experiences.

    Act 250 should definitely come into play everywhere MTB has been developed as an economic driver. The impacts clearly fall into what that statue addresses. Marketing is the distinction. If you advertise, you 're a business. Membership to VMBA brings VMBA managed trails into jurisdiction. State-wide, VMBA has to re-visit spots like Perry Hill. HTF/Fellowship areas(Mud Pond/Saxon's)/Millstone. Despite engaged locals and some of our best crew in the state, they're just blown up. There is no level of trail building that can sustain high commercial use short of Gravity Logic tactics. Resort-centric riding for most visitors really is a great answer. Protect everything else by not marketing, and where needed limiting numbers...as decided by the local trail riders, who should all be volunteers.

    From NRB website. Act 250, Vermont's land use and development control law, considers a development's effect on:

    town & regional plans
    necessary wildlife habitat
    town & regional growth
    primary agricultural soils
    municipalities & governmental services
    historic & archeological sites
    energy & water conservation
    air & water quality
    streams & shorelines
    educational facilities
    public investments
    endangered species
    soil erosion
    utilities
    waste disposal
    water supplies
    wetlands
    floodways
    forest soils
    transportation
    aesthetics
    natural areas
    earth resources

  118. #118
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    https://www.kingdomtrails.org/trail-network-updates

    Extracted this piece of the statement

    This is a privilege, not a right, that our organization, community, and trail users cherish for its recreational opportunities, social and health benefits and economic boost. We must always show them the utmost respect, exemplify ideal trail etiquette, and gratitude for this gift.

  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    I don't think there is any going back with KT. The place is already overrun with tourists who clearly don't give a damn about the area or the fact that it's a privilege to ride on private land. I bet that the same mindless tourists will continued to ride KT and the closed Darling Hill area will just force riders on the other areas of the network and simply make it worse. I also predict that the same idiots will most likely poach the Darling Hill trails as the theme there lately is that "rules don't apply to me because I'm an entitled tourist."

    DaveVT has remarked that excessive tourism can easily ruin a place like KT and here we are.

    The best way to forward is for other land managers/trail networks to learn from how screwy KT is. Taking trails off Trailforks, not printing maps and not making it so easy to find trails is a good place to start.

    I spent a good chunk of this riding season exploring trails around VT that aren't on Trailforks, aren't mapped, aren't signed and aren't well traveled. I got lost, did some bushwhacking but found amazing trails that blew my mind. Easily some of the most rewarding riding I've done since moving here. It took effort, some exploring, a lot of time but it was much better than mindlessly following a map. This is how mountain biking was when I started riding in the 90s and, while technology has made riding better in many ways, its also made it too accessible.

    Point is, land managers should stop making it so easy painfully easy to find good trails. Bring some adventure and challenge back to mountain biking and don't pursue these "Disneyland" riding areas that feel like a resort.
    I believe I agree with most of your thought process here. I think there needs to be a balance.......the existence of "Ride Centers" is not a VT creation as they exist all over the world and throughout the country. They keep order through effective management and provide a place to "contain" the folks that want to be catered to like a ski mountain/resort. Without these centers, those folks might wander out to the less traveled under the radar places even more than they do now and cause all sorts of predictable issues.

    That is where I agree with Dave's consistent criticism of the "marketing" groups that blow up the smaller joints in the name of filling out their maps and tourist guides to pillage and plunder the state. While I believe those orgs have positive intent, they have also turned a deaf ear to people on the other side of the philosophical fence and much like KTA, if you invite a boatload of people into someone else's place to party, you are morally and ethically on the hook to clean up the mess they leave.

    There needs to be a balance of easily accessible trail systems, as big picture people on bikes enjoying the woods is a good thing from a health perspective BUT not every friggin' trail in a state needs to be on Trailforks, Strava, VMBA's map, etc.
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    It appears that most see the core issue here as overcrowding. What KTA has shown is that even in a remote corner of Vermont, if you build a large network of trails (even on private property) with enough amenities for users, "they will come". There are large metro areas within 4 hours driving distance. Anyone who has visited a ski hill on a weekend knows the mountains can charge whatever they want, and they'll still fill the parking lots. I honestly don't believe charging ski hill prices for a day pass would keep high earning city folk from Montreal, Boston, Burlington, or NYC from making the trip.

    I've attended planning/comment meetings on multi-use trail development in the Adirondacks (public land). Some of the most compelling arguments I heard for expanding opportunities in these remote towns was from local politicians. These towns are literally dying and look to recreation/tourism for salvation. What KTA has built is seen as the model for doing it right. The problem in NY is that for every remote, dying town, there are three well organized, well funded, hiking organizations looking to clamp down on any expansion of activity beyond hiking and horse back riding. The state land is at their mercy. It doesn't have to be that way for Vermont. I feel Vermont (government) is getting a bit of a free ride on the backs of the land owners and KTA. They get to reap the rewards of tourism income (taxes) without much effort.

    And it's not just KT, most of the trails I frequent in Vermont are on private land (Millstone, Green Mt., Grafton back in the day) or town land (Pine Hill). My wife and I once pulled into a VT state run campground with bikes on the roof for a weekend of camping and we're explicitly told on check in "there is no mountain biking in any Vermont State Park." Right. Makes sense.

  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    It appears that most see the core issue here as overcrowding. What KTA has shown is that even in a remote corner of Vermont, if you build a large network of trails (even on private property) with enough amenities for users, "they will come". There are large metro areas within 4 hours driving distance. Anyone who has visited a ski hill on a weekend knows the mountains can charge whatever they want, and they'll still fill the parking lots. I honestly don't believe charging ski hill prices for a day pass would keep high earning city folk from Montreal, Boston, Burlington, or NYC from making the trip.
    Exactly.

    What they have also shown and what they are now the preeminent case study for is what happens when an organization ignores all the signs of overcrowding, the readily available evidence of community tension and growing frustration among long time users/customers and landowners and doubles down on their "growth strategy".

    Looking at that NorthStar article from just a couple months ago and how proud they are of themselves for growing traffic by 50% from 2016 to 2018....... I am still beside myself at how they can possibly think that was a "good" thing when they were aware of all the feedback.

    I was thinking back to just 2016 as it wasn't that long ago, and I can't possibly fathom anyone sitting on Darling Hill or in East Burke village and thinking...."you know, this place could use even more people".

    Think about it..... they are taking credit for cramming 5 more people in for every 10 that was there in 2016. 500 more for every 1000 that were there in town....... They just became the poster child for misguided strategies.

    Now, if in the "real world" of for profit entities for which many of us work, if a leader doubles down on a strategy that jeopardizes the long term viability or existence of the company while simultaneously losing a significant chunk of business/asset etc. the future of that leader and staff is very clear. It plays out every month, quarter, year throughout the world.

    What will KTA's Board do? What will the community and remaining landowners require and demand of KTA? The current press release by the "Marketing Dept" is pure crap and predictable. They had to release that. I sure as hell hope behind closed doors they don't believe their marketing fluff and are in a war room right now planning out drastic changes to how they operate for 2020 outside of just trail changes.
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    I’m not a fan of the idea that mountain biking has become “too" accessible. That sounds like an attitude that favors discouraging people from discovering and enjoying a great sport. The growth needs to be managed on the infrastructural side, not with rider-purity tests and nouveau poll taxes.

    It would also be helpful to ease off on calling out-of-state visitors “mindless idiots” who don’t care about the areas they visit and who come only to “pillage and plunder." Most people don’t drive four hours to spend time enjoying places they don’t care about, and spending money on lodging, food, and in local bike shops is not piracy.

    The way forward for effective resource management in a growing sport isn’t to demonize people who don’t enjoy mountain biking in exactly the same way you do. It’s an argument akin to that of a petulant adolescent who just disowned his favorite band because it achieved some unacceptable level of general popularity. Maybe think about bigger-picture solutions like supporting universal health care so that people who want to can move to rural areas and survive on the low wages and seasonal work while contributing to their region with their trail labor, involvement in local politics, and commitment to their communities. Advocate for directing tax dollars to support the Forest Service so they have the staff and resources they need to better provide and manage recreational opportunities.

    This has been an enjoyable and informative threat for the most part; I've learned a lot about KT's model and its shortcomings as well as much about the cosmos of laws impacting VT land use, but can we knock it off with the creepy declarations about who “deserves” access to trails?

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    Well said Historychris. Especially the infrastructure point.

    If the sport's numbers continue to grow, most decent networks are going to have the same issue. But I think geography and population density (within driving distance) plays a large part in how fast we've gotten here.

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    A lot of good discussion on this thread, I hope members of KTA are able to pull some useful info and perspectives from this in their efforts to manage the trail network going forward.

    Growth is the fundamental problem here, and the lack of proactively managing this is what led to the landowners saying enough is enough. I don't think it's trying to label bad riders by age group, city accent, or dollar level of bike being ridden. You are always going to have a$$holes in a crowd, be it mountain biking, skiing, whatever. The key differences are that skiing, for example, has over the years established infrastructure and an active monitoring/enforcement system to handle large volumes of participants and the challenges associated with that.

    Successful ski resorts have multiple parking lots and shuttles in place, they have active ski patrol, trails are constantly being managed and monitored, they have adequate food and restroom facilities, they have access roads to move people in and out of an area without impacting local traffic, etc. The issue is KTA has not proactively kept up with the increase in volume, and the lack of managing all the above led to this point. In order to stop the bleeding, and yes it's still bleeding, KTA needs to take a drastic change in direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottaw View Post
    A lot of good discussion on this thread, I hope members of KTA are able to pull some useful info and perspectives from this in their efforts to manage the trail network going forward.

    Growth is the fundamental problem here, and the lack of proactively managing this is what led to the landowners saying enough is enough. I don't think it's trying to label bad riders by age group, city accent, or dollar level of bike being ridden. You are always going to have a$$holes in a crowd, be it mountain biking, skiing, whatever. The key differences are that skiing, for example, has over the years established infrastructure and an active monitoring/enforcement system to handle large volumes of participants and the challenges associated with that.

    Successful ski resorts have multiple parking lots and shuttles in place, they have active ski patrol, trails are constantly being managed and monitored, they have adequate food and restroom facilities, they have access roads to move people in and out of an area without impacting local traffic, etc. The issue is KTA has not proactively kept up with the increase in volume, and the lack of managing all the above led to this point. In order to stop the bleeding, and yes it's still bleeding, KTA needs to take a drastic change in direction.
    Yessir.

    Feels like there is a large consensus that feels the same way and have a pulse on what is actually going on in KT every weekend for the past few years.
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    What I'm wondering is what is the town position/views on this matter?

    How are they possibly responsible for any of this? Is there a town official appointed onto the KTA board?

    For example, how come it is possible to vanlife all week-end in the Tikki bar's parking lot?

    So many questions...

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    We have driven 8-9 hrs for the past 11 years to go to Kingdom. WE certainly do not take the area for granted, and have spent thousands of dollars in food and lodging. Please do not lump all of the people from out of state, as "coming to pillage your land". We have been courteous to other trail users, live by "leave no trace", and are good human beings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Francine View Post
    We have driven 8-9 hrs for the past 11 years to go to Kingdom. WE certainly do not take the area for granted, and have spent thousands of dollars in food and lodging. Please do not lump all of the people from out of state, as "coming to pillage your land". We have been courteous to other trail users, live by "leave no trace", and are good human beings.
    As I believe I was the original one to use that terminology, I'll clarify the context.

    There has been a long running dialog over the past several years around the newer MTB groups with memberships and how they operate basically as a marketing agent but have habit of claiming trail systems to be under their purview potentially against the actual trail builder's desire. What ends up happening is some more private low volume, low impact trail systems then end up on the organization's "map" or guide for tourists or traveling riders and the trail systems end up with an unwanted level of traffic and all that comes with it.

    That dynamic is what I referring to specifically with regards to using the "pillage and plunder" terminology. I am not passing judgement on traveling bikers as we also travel around to other states and ride centers to ride and are sensitive to that perception.

    I hope that at least clarifies the context, not that you have to agree with that point of view, at the end of the day it is just that, a single point of view.
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    I don't think the KTA generates the financial resources to manage like a ski area. As it is $12/hour for 20 seasonal trail builders, and a bunch of volunteers. Last time I talked to them (John), maybe last year or the year before, he said 8 full time employees. Who is going to do all this monitoring, shuttling, ect? At the time there numbers were 100,000 a season. 100,000 visitors in a town of 5,000ppl, 100 miles of trails, for 8 jobs that might sustain residence. 90,000 ppl travel an average of 250 miles each way, 10,000 local visits. 25,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide just for travel. What about waste management and sewage? So many negative feed backs, so much marketing spin. Reality is it's really not something that uplifts the host community.

    I've not said any specific group was to blame, although I have noticed the demographics of MTB has changed since price point has climbed and skill and fitness requirements have declined. Too many people from anywhere is the problem. I love going to QC. I know plenty of Vermont-born that are disrespectful trail users. It's just critical mass. Maximum visitation has to be a derivative of resident population.

  130. #130
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    it just happens, especially when nembafest runs there, pedros fest or whatever the heck it's called. word gets out globally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    There has been a long running dialog over the past several years around the newer MTB groups with memberships and how they operate basically as a marketing agent but have habit of claiming trail systems to be under their purview potentially against the actual trail builder's desire. What ends up happening is some more private low volume, low impact trail systems then end up on the organization's "map" or guide for tourists or traveling riders and the trail systems end up with an unwanted level of traffic and all that comes with it.
    This is precisely something we ran into locally some years ago; a handful of riders who wanted to have some nice local trails to ride went out and got the permissions (in typical N.E. style of some private lands, some public lands, some 'official', some 'wink and a nod') and built a nice little network of trails. Some local development/tourism board types and business owners wanted to start promoting them, we said we would rather go out and erase them from existence than deal with the 'tourist' effect and how it would just heap tons of work on us volunteers with zero benefits to offset that, and also unavoidably lead to conflicts with the landowners who were generous enough to let us, as neighbors, recreate on their lands as well as other local trail user groups.

    For those that want to create more 'Disneyland' MTB experiences, I would hope they would have some respect for the people that have created existing trails and go ahead and start their own visions from blank slates rather than co-opt systems that people have already spent many years creating with a completely different vision. Not everyone thinks MTB trails should mainly be about $$$$$$.
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    The new winter map is now online including huge gaps in the now restricted land areas. It looks like they're promoting the "White school" area this year as an alternative to all the lost trails. Strangely, trails like Knob, Culvert Cut, Sugar Hill and Maxilla are open but only accessible at the very southern end.

    https://www.kingdomtrails.org/updated-map

    It looks like the snow-mobile trail (Vast?) has been disrupted as well.

    I am saddened by this outcome. Been riding there winters and summers for over a decade. Don't know what else to say or do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    1)

    2) I would typically agree, trust me the northeast has a rich storied recreation history/culture that revolves around hiking. But the WMNF was desperately trying to create more mountain bike trail recently, they wanted more MTB! But the community, the riders, said no.

    Many in this forum clearly would side with the locals who didn't want that to happen. But don't think the USFS doesn't want trails, they just have specific steps and checkboxes folks have to hit.

    The WMNF was very interested and very cognizant that they didn't provide for MTB the way they did for hikers, but the community said no and I doubt the WMNF wants to try again.

    I know many would celebrate this as a win for locals, but clearly the 60ish miles of high quality trail the WMNF was considering would've been helpful to the region.
    What would be stopping all the people who want a destination-style trail network in the WMNF from getting together and making it happen? I see so many people commenting on the KT closures also mentioning that they have the time to put tons of windshield hours to get there; maybe take some of that time and put it towards working with the FS and actually getting out there and doing the work to build their vision?

    I'm curious what it is standing in the way of that. You seem to have a strong interest in developing more of that sort of thing in New England; maybe you could be one to rally the troops and get a bunch of people organized to make it happen. Or is it too much of a stretch to think enough riders would be willing to give up some of their play time to actually work on a trail system?

    You'd think with the amount of people that show up at KT, someone could at least pull together enough of a team from that pool to do something similar on public land without just pushing all the work and responsibility onto the locals.
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  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    ...
    But the WMNF was desperately trying to create more mountain bike trail recently, they wanted more MTB! But the community, the riders, said no.

    ...
    The WMNF was very interested and very cognizant that they didn't provide for MTB the way they did for hikers, but the community said no and I doubt the WMNF wants to try again.

    I know many would celebrate this as a win for locals, but clearly the 60ish miles of high quality trail the WMNF was considering would've been helpful to the region...
    Steve, where was all this happening? We have been working with the Saco District of the WMNF for 20+ years and that story does NOT apply to the Mt. Washington Valley.

    The Forest Service in our part of the northeast has been embracing MTB use and expansion. But as Steve says there is a (long) process involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    "there is no mountain biking in any Vermont State Park."
    That was the case until 5 years ago, but no longer. In 2014, the Mt. Ascutney State Park helped STAB build Swoops and Loops, 3.5 miles of novice-friendly, repurposed double track and flowy singletrack as an amenity to their under-utilized campground. Next summer we will complete the 5.5 miles of mostly singletrack linking it to the 35 miles of Ascutney Trails on the other side of the mountain, thanks in part to Forest Parks and Recreation's four years of RTP grants. It will also link to a few miles of gentle terrain in the adjacent Weathersfield town forest.

    In the 13 years that we’ve had this public network (mostly municipal or state land), the ridership has grown steadily, but you still rarely meet more than a rider or two. It’s unlikely to rival KT, because much of the terrain is more challenging and there is no “brown sidewalk.” (A skiing analogy would be Mad River Glen vs. Okemo.). The infrastructure from the old ski area can handle a lot more, and the town has seen benefit from the influx, but the question is “how many is too many?”

    When the town of West Windsor took over the defunct ski area in 2015, and added it to the existing town forest, a conservation easement was placed on the entire 1,600 acres, which included most of the Ascutney Trails. Part of that easement requires monitoring of the traffic and making sure that it doesn’t reach the point of degrading the experience. The challenge is to determine where that point is in time to avoid it.

  136. #136
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    Like others, I wish to apologize on behalf of all mountain bikers for the few of us who have created this dilemma. I spent two weekends of summer 2019 at Kingdom Trails. Were some of the trails a bit crowded for my taste? Yes? Were some groups substantially over the 6-person limit? Yes. But, I still had a wonderful visit. The trails are fantastic, the MTB community is great fun, and the local community is welcoming. I'll be back, even if Kingdom Trails loses some of my favorite trails. I hope that many of us can continue to support this place that we love. See you at Winterfest!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    What would be stopping all the people who want a destination-style trail network in the WMNF from getting together and making it happen?

    I'm curious what it is standing in the way of that. You seem to have a strong interest in developing more of that sort of thing in New England; maybe you could be one to rally the troops and get a bunch of people organized to make it happen.
    Not sure whats stopping them, there wasn't a ton of media around the project. Why am I not spearheading it? I have other projects I'm more involved in, I didn't want to step on locals toes (I agree there needs to be support). And like you and others, I want to help the place(s) I call home, so my focus is there.

    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Steve, where was all this happening? We have been working with the Saco District of the WMNF for 20+ years and that story does NOT apply to the Mt. Washington Valley.

    The Forest Service in our part of the northeast has been embracing MTB use and expansion. But as Steve says there is a (long) process involved.
    Smarts Brook project in the Pemi. Saco has been great from what I know and I hear the Androscoggin is talking to groups like CCC. Trail development never fast, public land actions never fast, Feds especially.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbikeski View Post
    That was the case until 5 years ago, but no longer. In 2014, the Mt. Ascutney State Park helped STAB build Swoops and Loops, 3.5 miles of novice-friendly, repurposed double track and flowy singletrack as an amenity to their under-utilized campground.

    Part of that easement requires monitoring of the traffic and making sure that it doesn’t reach the point of degrading the experience. The challenge is to determine where that point is in time to avoid it.
    Doesn't Little River in Waterbury have some too MTB trail too?

    To your second point Jim, I've long seen we need more good research and data on trails and their impacts so we can effectively plan for this stuff. I'd love to see more info develop around comfortable carrying capacity for visitor experience and environmental impact.
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  138. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbikeski View Post
    That was the case until 5 years ago, but no longer. In 2014, the Mt. Ascutney State Park helped STAB build Swoops and Loops, 3.5 miles of novice-friendly, repurposed double track and flowy singletrack as an amenity to their under-utilized campground. Next summer we will complete the 5.5 miles of mostly singletrack linking it to the 35 miles of Ascutney Trails on the other side of the mountain, thanks in part to Forest Parks and Recreation's four years of RTP grants. It will also link to a few miles of gentle terrain in the adjacent Weathersfield town forest.

    In the 13 years that we’ve had this public network (mostly municipal or state land), the ridership has grown steadily, but you still rarely meet more than a rider or two. It’s unlikely to rival KT, because much of the terrain is more challenging and there is no “brown sidewalk.” (A skiing analogy would be Mad River Glen vs. Okemo.). The infrastructure from the old ski area can handle a lot more, and the town has seen benefit from the influx, but the question is “how many is too many?”

    When the town of West Windsor took over the defunct ski area in 2015, and added it to the existing town forest, a conservation easement was placed on the entire 1,600 acres, which included most of the Ascutney Trails. Part of that easement requires monitoring of the traffic and making sure that it doesn’t reach the point of degrading the experience. The challenge is to determine where that point is in time to avoid it.
    I ride Ascutney every year too! I think it could be another KT with the appropriate work. Thanks for making that place wonderful!

    Whenever I visit, I stay in the Ascutney campground and make a point of riding the trail right there across the street. But the really cool trails are over in Windsor.

    It does indeed remind of an early East Burke with the market at the center of town. The Windsor Market owner just rebuilt that market too.

  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    What would be stopping all the people who want a destination-style trail network in the WMNF from getting together and making it happen? I see so many people commenting on the KT closures also mentioning that they have the time to put tons of windshield hours to get there; maybe take some of that time and put it towards working with the FS and actually getting out there and doing the work to build their vision?

    I'm curious what it is standing in the way of that. You seem to have a strong interest in developing more of that sort of thing in New England; maybe you could be one to rally the troops and get a bunch of people organized to make it happen. Or is it too much of a stretch to think enough riders would be willing to give up some of their play time to actually work on a trail system?

    You'd think with the amount of people that show up at KT, someone could at least pull together enough of a team from that pool to do something similar on public land without just pushing all the work and responsibility onto the locals.
    Dennis, the new WM NEMBA crew is doing some really good things with the WMNF, State of NH and town of Conway. The White Mountain Trail Collective is raising $300k +/- for trail projects in the MWV over the next 2 years. The place is already blowing up and I am hopeful the marketing will not exceed the infrastructure.

  140. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    ....and enter the Current Use program and subsidized property taxes for folks who can afford more than 25 acres...another issue with vt affordability and school funding.
    Without Current Use rules, large parcels would become cut up small parcels and you can say good bye to green space. You can’t have it both ways bro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Dennis, the new WM NEMBA crew is doing some really good things with the WMNF, State of NH and town of Conway. The White Mountain Trail Collective is raising $300k +/- for trail projects in the MWV over the next 2 years. The place is already blowing up and I am hopeful the marketing will not exceed the infrastructure.
    I have nothing but faith in you guys Rob.
    You know how to make it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    This is precisely something we ran into locally some years ago; a handful of riders who wanted to have some nice local trails to ride went out and got the permissions (in typical N.E. style of some private lands, some public lands, some 'official', some 'wink and a nod') and built a nice little network of trails. Some local development/tourism board types and business owners wanted to start promoting them, we said we would rather go out and erase them from existence than deal with the 'tourist' effect and how it would just heap tons of work on us volunteers with zero benefits to offset that, and also unavoidably lead to conflicts with the landowners who were generous enough to let us, as neighbors, recreate on their lands as well as other local trail user groups.

    For those that want to create more 'Disneyland' MTB experiences, I would hope they would have some respect for the people that have created existing trails and go ahead and start their own visions from blank slates rather than co-opt systems that people have already spent many years creating with a completely different vision. Not everyone thinks MTB trails should mainly be about $$$$$$.
    This is where I currently sit. After a decade building with little help, suddenly some local couple with a Marketing degrees decides the town can monetize the trails. Locally, our "Golden age" is ending quickly. Great while it lasted. Maybe this debacle can be used as proof that what I am suggesting as the new reality is not really what we want. There is so much sunshine blown up everyone's butt through Marketing in the form of "News"...it's tough for a guy who is best at building trail to be effective in the meetings that take over and monetize our life in Vermont as a product.

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    The Smarts Brook situation Steve posted about is a shame. Those are my home trails and it is an amazing place to ride if you know your way around and you like old school rugged trails. To me, the plan that was set forth would have been awesome for that system if implemented correctly. I didn't see it ever turning into KT.

    Unfortunately a handful of locals were very vocal in their opposition. The prevailing notion was that these trails they cut illegally on national land were "theirs." Some in this group went so far as to sabotage large swaths of trail to the point of being dangerous. It seemed like they were intentionally trying to hurt people. In one case a log ramp/gap jump, that had been in place for years around a blind corner at the bottom of a fast downhill, was destroyed. Almost killed myself one morning locking up the brakes and plowing into the wrecked feature. These people also went out and put up signs on trails in an attempt to frame the local NEMBA chapter as acting in bad faith with the FS.

    It truly got disgusting. And the kicker is these curmudgeons don't even ride "their" trails anymore. It was all about spite. I

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzaboom View Post
    The Smarts Brook situation Steve posted about is a shame. Those are my home trails and it is an amazing place to ride if you know your way around and you like old school rugged trails. To me, the plan that was set forth would have been awesome for that system if implemented correctly. I didn't see it ever turning into KT.

    Unfortunately a handful of locals were very vocal in their opposition. The prevailing notion was that these trails they cut illegally on national land were "theirs." Some in this group went so far as to sabotage large swaths of trail to the point of being dangerous. It seemed like they were intentionally trying to hurt people. In one case a log ramp/gap jump, that had been in place for years around a blind corner at the bottom of a fast downhill, was destroyed. Almost killed myself one morning locking up the brakes and plowing into the wrecked feature. These people also went out and put up signs on trails in an attempt to frame the local NEMBA chapter as acting in bad faith with the FS.

    It truly got disgusting. And the kicker is these curmudgeons don't even ride "their" trails anymore. It was all about spite. I
    Thanks for the low-down.

    Sounds like it could be high time to get rolling with new blood.
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    As another aside, Fat Bike trails opened this weekend and we got out both yesterday and today. It is what it is. Different and kinda sad.

    They had to really change up the winter groomed trails and are working on doing more with the White School area which we rode today. The whole "Heaven's Bench to Ridge" loop is dead as there was a quieter 4th landowner that pulled out as well as the land is for sale. That effectively killed that section of trail as well and the inability to ride VAST to connect Darling Hill East trails makes for really odd riding loops.

    Again it is what it is. Or was what it was I guess......
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    The whole "Heaven's Bench to Ridge" loop is dead as there was a quieter 4th landowner that pulled out as well as the land is for sale.
    KTA should buy the land for sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    KTA should buy the land for sale.

    It has a house on it and it really only has that one section of trail I believe.

    Given the fact that whole area of trails is now on an island......not sure it would be worth it. After riding the trails this weekend "as is" and looking at the map for a long while, it is really "not so flowy" from the perspective of making a good loop etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    As another aside, Fat Bike trails opened this weekend and we got out both yesterday and today. It is what it is. Different and kinda sad.

    They had to really change up the winter groomed trails and are working on doing more with the White School area which we rode today. The whole "Heaven's Bench to Ridge" loop is dead as there was a quieter 4th landowner that pulled out as well as the land is for sale. That effectively killed that section of trail as well and the inability to ride VAST to connect Darling Hill East trails makes for really odd riding loops.

    Again it is what it is. Or was what it was I guess......
    Yeah, I was up there myself to take care of some business. Rode the new partially groomed sections and some of the ungroomed. Kind of small compared to what they had last year. If they could throw Wares Davis and Good n You in there it might not be a bad little loop. Still think there gonna need some more to keep it interesting. Fortunately, I really like XC skiing and snowboarding so I won't ever get bored up there in the winter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozz View Post
    I'll go left field with this, but the ebike revolution will not help the matter.
    Someone always has to take a shot at eMTBs. Physician, heal thyself. The vast majority of KT riders are not on eMTBs. It must be the acoustic riders who are responsible for the loss of access.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridenomatterwhat View Post
    Someone always has to take a shot at eMTBs. Physician, heal thyself. The vast majority of KT riders are not on eMTBs. It must be the acoustic riders who are responsible for the loss of access.
    I'll back you by adding that ebikes are not factored into the equation since they're not allowed on KT trails to begin with.

    But, we've had a fairly civil discussion, and largely on topic up until now. Let's not turn it into an argument over ebikes. Foul on Jozz, One retort that evens the score. Let's get back on topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridenomatterwhat View Post
    Someone always has to take a shot at eMTBs. Physician, heal thyself. The vast majority of KT riders are not on eMTBs. It must be the acoustic riders who are responsible for the loss of access.
    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    I'll back you by adding that ebikes are not factored into the equation since they're not allowed on KT trails to begin with.

    But, we've had a fairly civil discussion, and largely on topic up until now. Let's not turn it into an argument over ebikes. Foul on Jozz, One retort that evens the score. Let's get back on topic.
    I guess you both misunderstood my statement about ebikes.

    It's nothing against ebikes. Just saying that ebikes will become more accessible and thus will bring more people to the sport. That is all.

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    Back on track for a min......the whole KTA FB posting of "Oh we mistakenly deleted our post with 450 comments on it"....... Honestly they need to stop stepping in avoidable piles of poop here. Their "Marketing" folks (really a couple of the key "leaders") need to realize their users and community are not idiots. You can't mistakenly delete a FB post......you have to click on the dots, choose "Delete" and answer "Yes" to "Do you want to delete this post?".......please.

    The most interesting thing, is that each subsequent post from KTA has resulted in another pile of passionate comments mostly with the same refrain of KTA needing to get their collective crap together and figure out how to step up their management game, kill their marketing efforts and re-focus on the community and landowner relationships. They literally need to reduce volume by 50%.

    The interesting thing is a couple adjacent landowners have posted offering their land for trails as well, which on the outside is very nice and encouraging BUT I wouldn't do anything of the sort until KTA lays out a new leadership model, steering committee etc. along with a comprehensive plan that addresses the very obvious challenges they are facing.

    KTA needs to spend less time pumping up their "Events" and making high school level mistakes in PR and focusing on building out that plan. They need that plan in place in 5 months.....tick tock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Back on track for a min......the whole KTA FB posting of "Oh we mistakenly deleted our post with 450 comments on it"....... Honestly they need to stop stepping in avoidable piles of poop here.
    Agreed - and am stunned at the "bobble" in communications. SO much to discuss, so much going on - but I agree with others, developing a network like KT on private land without a formal agreement (I'd never bank on "permission" that can be taken away) is not an ideal approach. It worked until the scale of the operation outpaced the informality of permission.

    Anyhow - staying closely tuned in, am an out of stater, a responsible adult, etc, etc.... and agree 100% with the vanlife crews at Mike's. If anyone needs a snapshot of douchebaggery just hang out there at the start and end of the day and watch the show.
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    Sad. My wife and I had being going to the KT since 2005 or so. We witnessed the area go from small, humble, slightly impoverished community to a town being overrun by hammerheads running intermediate and beginner riders off trails/bridges, race teams training, people stealth/trespass camping, riding without passes and folks not even spending a dime in the local economy.
    I completely understand why the landowners pulled the plug. Who the hell would put up with scumbags being rude to you on your own land??? It is a real shame, though, that all those businesses in Burke, and even a lot in Lyndonville, are going to die. Also, property values in the area are most likely going to plummet significantly. But situations like this are bound to happen when the local economy is based on the altruism of the landowners as well as users not being a-holes. Again, I don't blame the landowners -- it is sad to say, the users screwed this up and I will never underestimate the ability of people to disappoint. Similar thing is happening at Dirtfest in Pennsylvania at Lake Raystown. Too many a-holes think it is a great idea to set Strava records on crowded trails.

    This makes me sad. We were in the planning stages of a 2 week vacation in Vermont with a visit to the KT for a few days. We preferred to ride at the KT during the week when there were less riders. We liked to spend money in Burke at the local restaurants, local stores (bike & general store), the campgrounds in St. Johnsbury or Danville and enjoying the Gifford's Ice Cream in town. We know there will be some trails left, but the magic is gone -- we understand riders are not really welcome or wanted anymore, so we will probably head south to Virginia or Pennsylvania to spend our money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allamuchy Joe View Post
    Sad. My wife and I had being going to the KT since 2005 or so. We witnessed the area go from small, humble, slightly impoverished community to a town being overrun by hammerheads running intermediate and beginner riders off trails/bridges, race teams training, people stealth/trespass camping, riding without passes and folks not even spending a dime in the local economy.
    I completely understand why the landowners pulled the plug. Who the hell would put up with scumbags being rude to you on your own land??? It is a real shame, though, that all those businesses in Burke, and even a lot in Lyndonville, are going to die. Also, property values in the area are most likely going to plummet significantly. But situations like this are bound to happen when the local economy is based on the altruism of the landowners as well as users not being a-holes. Again, I don't blame the landowners -- it is sad to say, the users screwed this up and I will never underestimate the ability of people to disappoint. Similar thing is happening at Dirtfest in Pennsylvania at Lake Raystown. Too many a-holes think it is a great idea to set Strava records on crowded trails.

    This makes me sad. We were in the planning stages of a 2 week vacation in Vermont with a visit to the KT for a few days. We preferred to ride at the KT during the week when there were less riders. We liked to spend money in Burke at the local restaurants, local stores (bike & general store), the campgrounds in St. Johnsbury or Danville and enjoying the Gifford's Ice Cream in town. We know there will be some trails left, but the magic is gone -- we understand riders are not really welcome or wanted anymore, so we will probably head south to Virginia or Pennsylvania to spend our money.
    AJ, you'll miss out on some amazing riding if you pass up a chance to spend two weeks in New England. Come to central Vermont and you'll be within an hour's drive of an incredibly varied array of trail systems, five downhill parks, and a ton of great small communities with lots going on off-trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Historychris View Post
    AJ, you'll miss out on some amazing riding if you pass up a chance to spend two weeks in New England. Come to central Vermont and you'll be within an hour's drive of an incredibly varied array of trail systems, five downhill parks, and a ton of great small communities with lots going on off-trail.
    Yeah, maybe in a couple of years, but the wound is too fresh now. We went to our first NEMBAfest this past year, rode KT without the crowds during the week and rode some other places in VT (Stowe, Millstone, Pine Hill Park). But the Crown Jewel was always KT for us. We had a great time, and were looking forward to that again.
    Instead, we are actively planning a West Virginia, Virginia and PA camping/biking trip for this coming summer.
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    Concerning KTA's management, I have a few thoughts. I agree that KTA has a key responsibility in this for the reasons already stated but I'll also play devil's advocate.

    There are two other thoughts that both revolve around what we saw with the Victory property. First, this seems to be the second instance of a minority of landowners taking action against the bike community and the local economy whether their reasons are validated or not (I don't know). It is their property and ultimately their choice (baring leans, etc.).

    Now, in KTA's defense, I believe you could argue that they were taking action to mitigate overcrowding while offering a more challenging option by incorporating Victory. Victory would have thinned crowds and created a family area and a enduro-centric area. This would have helped things immensely. Marketing and the draw of the Enduro races could have played a key role in the expansion but it back fired instead. KTA, I don't think anticipated what happened at Victory. They had plans in place to include the network but it seems that a reluctant, boisterous few, with the help of the local act 250 Coordinator, stallworted plans to include Victory with connecting trails and bolstered infrastructure (bike lanes).

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    Just earlier today, I was thinking about how the addition of Victory could offset the loss on Darling hill. I was only mildly aware there were some legal hurdles on Victory. Looking into it more... wowzers. What a sh:t show!

    I've ridden out on Kirby road but never realized what a horrible situation that was.

    Even if the 250 Act is lifted by action in Montpelier, is that a community that will ever embrace mountain biking?


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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    Just earlier today, I was thinking about how the addition of Victory could offset the loss on Darling hill. I was only mildly aware there were some legal hurdles on Victory. Looking into it more... wowzers. What a sh:t show!

    I've ridden out on Kirby road but never realized what a horrible situation that was.

    Even if the 250 Act is lifted by action in Montpelier, is that a community that will ever embrace mountain biking?


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    The 60 or so people in Victory don't even embrace themselves. Read all the articles on that crap show, Hatfields vs. McCoys......I've hunted and fished that area for 20 or so years and it has always been a place where people went to not be bothered by other people. To literally not be found. I knew MTB was in for an issue there of some sort when I was almost run off the road by an Escalade with 4 bikes hammering down KM Rd. past Flower's place.

    To a certain extent, inviting MTBers from South and North is like inviting the wolf into the hen house to look around.....without supervision and controls, it goes to crap really quickly.

    And no, the Van Halen trails can't offset what was Darling Hill. That was the heart, the start and the soul of KT. While KT will "go on", and new trails will be built the fact this version of KTA leadership was clueless to how people in the NEK are wired and where their energy should be focused makes it clear to many of us they are really at a cross roads.
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    I wonder what the impact will be when the EWS rolls into town in August. I've never been to an EWS race but I can imagine it's like a traveling circus. Granted the race will be held on Burke Mt. property, but the downtown area will be overrun for sure.

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    Over on RideMonkey they are saying a horseback rider was assaulted on their own property.
    Any truth to this?

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    ^no official reason was pubicly stated... but banning bikes, and allowing everyone else, that might be the reason
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    Quote Originally Posted by sikocycles View Post
    Over on RideMonkey they are saying a horseback rider was assaulted on their own property.
    Any truth to this?
    I believe there were conflicts with equestrian pursuits and negative interactions between horse riders and MTBers as the cherry on top of a sundae of long festering issues. BUT I would stop short of using the word "assault" without a true handle on the real facts first hand.

    Suffice to say while there may be an incident that is the proverbial straw that broke the camels back, there has been rising tension and increased volume of conflict in general over the past couple years as KTA enthusiastically crammed 50% more volume into the trail system and community.
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    All of these opinions are great but they wont move the ball forward, there are some good ideas here but what seems lacking is a plan and vision for moving forward.

    There needs to be a new economic business proposition for KT to fly. There wont be some miracle "hold hands and work it out" solution any time soon. In order to move things forward you have to come up with a plan and invite a reaction, you cant figure it out in a meeting with 500 people expressing their opinions.

    So here goes: In 2017 based on the financials above in this thread, there were probably 100K in visitors who resulted in about 905K in revenues, or $9.05 per person. The other revenues were from retail and donations. I cannot tell what they mean by contributions vs services but those are the big revenue lines. So they were probably collecting from less than 1/2 of the people who came either because they were season pass holders or were just not paying to use trails.

    So moving forward, raise the price to aim to collect say $35 per day per person. Figure out the math to fair price the seasons passes and also subsidize the socialist Vermonters who don't seem to think they need to pay (sorry, NH Humor:-). This would be necessary politically.

    If KT was to collect $35 per day times the supposed 140K users who visited last year, it would come to $4.9 MILLION or 5 times the 2017 budget.

    Set up a structure to pay participating land owners who have trails at 65% of revenues. The other 35% would go to operations. If there are 150 miles of trails currently, each landowner would get $21,233 of income for every mile of trail they have on their land. That would absolutely be motivating and fair pay the landowners for any stress and aggravation. Want to see trails get built quickly? This would do it and spread riders out and accommodate for growth.

    This would also TRIPLE KTs current operating budget from $648K to $1.7M, so it would allow for patrols, and more trail building, better planning, community relations, etc. Be able to hire top talent to run the system and avoid situations like what has happened.

    The second part of a plan would be to plan very deliberately for growth and spread the system way out - look at Moab. Moab is 6 or 7 main trail systems spread across roughly 30 miles north to south. Each system has its own parking and bathrooms.

    Also, forget multiuse trails. They don't work. Hikers hate bikers, bikers hate horse riders, even old XC dudes like me hate e-bikes and the shuttling full face crowd. Moab works because there are trail systems for hikers, bikers, 4 wheelers, etc, ALL SEPARATE. With a good plan, you can keep trail users separate.

    Most importantly, you could continue to grow the system which allows for growing mountain biking and also reduce impact to individual landowners, and spread the crowds out across more terrain, while at the same time creating a really unique destination for riding.

    The core problem with KT is landowners are not compensated for the hassle of their charity, and others like business owners and air BNB people are profiting. Under a different economic model everyone could potentially win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Endosch2 View Post
    All of these opinions are great but they wont move the ball forward, there are some good ideas here but what seems lacking is a plan and vision for moving forward.

    There needs to be a new economic business proposition for KT to fly. There wont be some miracle "hold hands and work it out" solution any time soon. In order to move things forward you have to come up with a plan and invite a reaction, you cant figure it out in a meeting with 500 people expressing their opinions.

    So here goes: In 2017 based on the financials above in this thread, there were probably 100K in visitors who resulted in about 905K in revenues, or $9.05 per person. The other revenues were from retail and donations. I cannot tell what they mean by contributions vs services but those are the big revenue lines. So they were probably collecting from less than 1/2 of the people who came either because they were season pass holders or were just not paying to use trails.

    So moving forward, raise the price to aim to collect say $35 per day per person. Figure out the math to fair price the seasons passes and also subsidize the socialist Vermonters who don't seem to think they need to pay (sorry, NH Humor:-). This would be necessary politically.

    If KT was to collect $35 per day times the supposed 140K users who visited last year, it would come to $4.9 MILLION or 5 times the 2017 budget.

    Set up a structure to pay participating land owners who have trails at 65% of revenues. The other 35% would go to operations. If there are 150 miles of trails currently, each landowner would get $21,233 of income for every mile of trail they have on their land. That would absolutely be motivating and fair pay the landowners for any stress and aggravation. Want to see trails get built quickly? This would do it and spread riders out and accommodate for growth.

    This would also TRIPLE KTs current operating budget from $648K to $1.7M, so it would allow for patrols, and more trail building, better planning, community relations, etc. Be able to hire top talent to run the system and avoid situations like what has happened.

    The second part of a plan would be to plan very deliberately for growth and spread the system way out - look at Moab. Moab is 6 or 7 main trail systems spread across roughly 30 miles north to south. Each system has its own parking and bathrooms.

    Also, forget multiuse trails. They don't work. Hikers hate bikers, bikers hate horse riders, even old XC dudes like me hate e-bikes and the shuttling full face crowd. Moab works because there are trail systems for hikers, bikers, 4 wheelers, etc, ALL SEPARATE. With a good plan, you can keep trail users separate.

    Most importantly, you could continue to grow the system which allows for growing mountain biking and also reduce impact to individual landowners, and spread the crowds out across more terrain, while at the same time creating a really unique destination for riding.

    The core problem with KT is landowners are not compensated for the hassle of their charity, and others like business owners and air BNB people are profiting. Under a different economic model everyone could potentially win.
    Solid Ideas here, at least conversation starters. While I think the math is a little optimistic, even if they were to double their income while NOT increasing rider volume, or even better grow the revenue but from less people by finally raising some pass prices. Of course with price increase and the loss of Darling Hill there will be some riders who just won't come to KT again, which helps that decrease in rider volume.

    While I'm not sure how the VT Act 250 laws will play if landowners are compensated it is time KTA throws all sorts of ideas against the wall. To your point, time for a paradigm shift. This is the first little eruption of this volcano, learn from it; "staying the course" and just hoping East Haven etc will spread things out enough (it won't) will just lead to another eruption, but bigger.

    Like I said before and in other places, KTA has <5 months to come up with a comprehensive plan......tick tock.....
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    Owners getting compensated also exposes them to liability under the Landowner Liability Act. Monetizing MTBing makes it commercial use, so assuming enough land is involved, which there is at KT, even considering it's status as part of the VT trail system, makes Act 250 applicable. It is expensive to go through Act 250, and it affects future sale and development of people's land. If host landowner are suddenly required to go through the permitting process, it could trigger more pull-outs, hut that is just pure speculation. I'm still super interested in hearing from the NRB on Victory, because it will be very hard to explain how VHT is required to permit but KTA is not.

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    ....removed....had a point but it's been covered already
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    100% agree they need to be more specific. If we dont know what the actual issue was (couple of bad events, riders cutting across fields, bad trail etiquette, etc) we cant know how to better self police ourselves. I have also heard it was due to logging conflicts and insurance issues - which would mean it had nothing to do with the riders in the first place.

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    Good to see that forum set up. They/we have to start somewhere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 802spokestoke View Post
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    Certainly a good start. I may go just based on sheer curiosity of what the landowners have to say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Certainly a good start. I may go just based on sheer curiosity of what the landowners have to say.

    I'll be there unless something from work blows up. Wife might be there as well since she has logged thousands of miles up there as well as I have. Heck I'll be there in a few hours....lol
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    [REMOVED POST - Did not pertain to KT]
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    Latest from the local paper:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020
    NORTHEAST KINGDOM
    Burke Resident Pitches Cyclist ‘Code Of Conduct’
    Proposal Brought To Select Board For Kingdom Trails Riders
    BY AMY ASH NIXON
    Staff Writer
    BURKE — A Burke resident has proposed a cyclist code of conduct to be implemented in town.
    Valerie Desmarais presented her idea at a meeting this week for the Burke Select Board.
    Desmarais said in an interview after the meeting that she reached out to Kingdom Trail Association’s (KTA) Executive Director Abby Long in May about a proposed conduct of conduct because of concerns on the trails, which are all on private lands.
    "I had purchased a trail pass for a friend and I was blown away that all I had to do was walk in
    the office and hand over my money and that was it … I thought it was very telling as a part of the free-for-all that we are experiencing now in Burke," said Desmarais, adding she thinks a set of simple rules that trail pass users agree to would help with concerns.
    Desmarais said she proposed a code of conduct "about how are we sharing this space."
    "My code of conduct was to ride single file, to ride on the right side of the road, to yield to horses … and I wanted to develop a protocol around horses, and then the fourth concept of just sharing the space, showing respect, basic courtesy to those who live here, it’s not Disney World, dude," said Desmarais. She mentioned riders sometimes expect others including horseback riders, to move over so they can ride five abreast together on trails.
    Desmarais said, "I thought it sounded really simple to do this."
    She said Long, the KTA director, spoke about the nonprofit seeking a grant to work on some issues about concerns with the very busy trails network the nonprofit oversees on 97 private lands.
    "We kept going back and forth about a time when we could have a coffee and just talk about it a little more, and then when the situation erupted with the landowners," with three landowners on Darling Hill Road banning cyclists from their properties, Desmarais said she reached out again.
    Desmarais said, "So I said this is a perfect time for you to grab the momentum and say this is what we’re going to do. I don’t need to own the cyclist’s code of conduct. I told her I was going to go to the Select Board and ask them for their support, that’s the back story."
    She said she invited Long to join the meeting.
    Long told Desmarais that "It can’t just be a cyclist conduct because they are multi-use trails. I said good, then call them Kingdom Trails Code of Conduct."
    "Anyway, I did bring it to the Select Board," said Desmarais of Monday’s meeting, where she presented the idea. "I’m on the Planning Commission for the Town of Burke," she said, "I feel the town needs to have more say in what’s going on, that there needs to be a master plan about how this works and for the people who come here to enjoy the splendor that’s here. We don’t need to invent anything, all this stuff is done — we just need to avail ourselves to the best use of the resources and for the inhabitants."
    Long said of Desmarais’s idea for a code to be signed by trail users, "Creating a ‘Trail User Code of Conduct’ is one of the ways we may be exploring to educate our trail users and hold them accountable for proper trail etiquette and respectful behavior when visiting our community and enjoying the trails our landowners so generously allow."
    "We are grateful to Valerie for bringing this idea to us," said Long.
    Christine Emmons, chair of the Burke Select Board, said of the idea, "Valerie Desmarais asked the Select Board to endorse a cyclist code of conduct that she has proposed that Kingdom Trails adopt and to require their users to sign and follow."
    "The Board did not act on the request," said Emmons, saying that fellow board member "Ford (Hubbard, one of the three select board members) told Valerie that he needed more time to think about it."
    Emmons said, "While I feel that there is a need for improvements with curbing undesirable conduct, I would prefer to continue to have conversations with Abby and the KT board as we all work to strike a balance moving forward."
    Desmarais said one day she was riding her 27-year-old horse and four bikers near Newark Pond were heckling her, saying such things as " … Why are you harassing us? Is your horse more important than the money we bring to your community?"
    "I don’t know what they knew about me … what I know is that they were picking on me for riding my horse on the road where I frigging live, there needs to be a protocol about horses," Desmarais said.
    Desmarais said, "As far as the land closing (on Darling Ridge, where three landowners are no longer allowing mountain bikers on the KTA trails) … there is this sort of unspoken gentrification thing that no one is talking about. I think that people feel it, but they don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t want it to be ‘us’ and ‘them,’ but to be making more trails and pushing people farther and farther out into the woods, or graveling, that’s not the answer," she said of KTA’s expansion into surrounding towns and on gravel roads.
    At the Select Board meeting Monday, Desmarais said, "There was a consensus that something needs to be done, but no one knows what it looks like. They did not formally endorse it, which I was sort of hoping for."
    "It’s all about at least having this conversation," said Desmarais. "At least let’s begin the conversation with (KTA) constituents. I’ve been at the store and watched people riding wheelies down Route 114 at 6 o’clock at night, who thinks that’s a good idea … It’s like where do you think you are?"
    Desmarais said, "There’s that feeling sometimes that anything goes … and I’m just concerned about the fragmentation, it’s a really big thing, and it’s not just about breaking up of parcels of land, it leads to a whole other cascade of events. I’m very protective of the Northeast Kingdom."
    "I want people to understand there are folks that are trying to make this work," said Desmarais.
    This comes off to me like KTA has been ignoring the input by locals on what is going on out there and that they have kind of dug their own hole here. Are they going to continue to bury their head in the sand and tell everyone that everything is fine?
    The majority of locals want KT's to succeed but within some limits.

  175. #175
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    ok that's it

    KTA collected money and maintains trails

    KTA implements no Bozo Filter of any kind

    Bozos come in and do what Bozos do.

    Landowners ain't taking any shit.

    don't blame them one bit for blocking bike access.

    douche-bags with bikes, with license plates of a different color,
    coming to VT from places where apparently it's a lot friggin duller,
    to a riding spot near you, to ruin it for all.
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  176. #176
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    Having Mountain Bike as something to further-emulate the great outdoors of Vermont couldn't have anticipated this recent growth of the Bicycling model into Motorcycles having electric motors. In and of itself, the entitled air-apparent cast onto the very people who had chosen to, instead of preventing others to appreciate all things outward from their land, welcomed the larger idea of multi-use integration into their place called home.
    Conflicts such as what halted the trail access are not unique to E. Burke; Knight for all intents and purposes aimed to have the charity aspect from landowners be given recognition through charity at foundation-level of Victory
    Though I cannot blame Victory Hill et.al for wishing to instill a better sense of values amongst this the latest-generation of off road Cyclist, it was the betrayal of core riding values by the Cycling Industry which alienated non-cyclists, eroded the ability to engage in productive interactions w/ just any outside party leaving anyone who tried with all their damn to preserve the capability of two-wheels - drawn & quartered.
    Profit. Greed. Two-Faced Artists of the Con. Each and all taking shelter within such a unique and revered area as Kingdom Trails until coarse guff typifies what it is anyone or anything is to do with the the area's future.
    This is that serious, I do feel it is.. It's not spooking a Horse it's being crushed by the Cart.
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  177. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by from_the_nek View Post
    Latest from the local paper:


    This comes off to me like KTA has been ignoring the input by locals on what is going on out there and that they have kind of dug their own hole here. Are they going to continue to bury their head in the sand and tell everyone that everything is fine?
    The majority of locals want KT's to succeed but within some limits.
    This "code of conduct" seems like a non-solution to appease people that are looking for a real solution.

    Only a small fraction of riders will give a damn about the code of conduct. I'm sure it will fade into the background like the "thank a landowner" campaign.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  178. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    This "code of conduct" seems like a non-solution to appease people that are looking for a real solution.

    Only a small fraction of riders will give a damn about the code of conduct. I'm sure it will fade into the background like the "thank a landowner" campaign.
    I believe you are right in the sense that KT already has a "Rider Code of Conduct" and it is printed on the damn map, the kiosks etc. But everyone is numb to the written word, regardless of language used. A code is nothing without some level of enforcement, reinforcement and consequences if you stray too far away from it. We all know a rule or a law doesn't mean squat if it isn't enforced.

    The non-confrontational nature of KTA is their undoing at this point. I don't think people are looking for them to be militant on rules per se, but they need to adopt more of a ski mountain approach like many of us have been saying for a while now.

    I think the C. Record article is yet another data point that is a bad look for KTA. Here we have a respected and involved community member bringing forth not a complaint necessarily, but also a proposed solution for discussion and the article reads like Abby kinda blew her off. A number of times KTA's response has been that crap party line of "waiting on the grant for a study"......please. I've said it numerous times, you don't need an academic study of any type to know where to invest energy to address some of the concerns brought forth many times over the past few years. There are numerous glaring problems every Friday-Sunday from May to Mid October......just need to go outside and look.....

    As I asked recently on one of the FB threads.......who does the KTA board answer to? If they aren't working in the best interest of the landowners and community then who's interests exactly are they working for? So many people are impacted directly by their decisions and policies, or lack there of in some cases, yet it doesn't sound like anyone has a say in things. It's a non-profit.......who do they serve exactly?
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  179. #179
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    When we were kids, a community shut down a motocross track, located on one parcel at the end of the neighborhood.

    We're talking about 98 parcels. Not apples to apples, but I think the writing is on the wall.

    If the local community decides that they're fed up with the mtb community, what's to motivate non-mtb landowners from agreeing? The mtb community has really lost all credibility with KTA being at the helm. KTA's response to this woman is tasteless.

    What a shame

  180. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzaboom View Post
    The Smarts Brook situation Steve posted about is a shame. Those are my home trails and it is an amazing place to ride if you know your way around and you like old school rugged trails. To me, the plan that was set forth would have been awesome for that system if implemented correctly. I didn't see it ever turning into KT.

    Unfortunately a handful of locals were very vocal in their opposition. The prevailing notion was that these trails they cut illegally on national land were "theirs." Some in this group went so far as to sabotage large swaths of trail to the point of being dangerous. It seemed like they were intentionally trying to hurt people. In one case a log ramp/gap jump, that had been in place for years around a blind corner at the bottom of a fast downhill, was destroyed. Almost killed myself one morning locking up the brakes and plowing into the wrecked feature. These people also went out and put up signs on trails in an attempt to frame the local NEMBA chapter as acting in bad faith with the FS.

    It truly got disgusting. And the kicker is these curmudgeons don't even ride "their" trails anymore. It was all about spite. I
    Saw your post about Smarts and thought some clarification is warranted. I assure you the curmudgeons that created and maintained the network for the last 35 years are alive and well riding in Smarts. It was PEMI NEMBA Club voting to not approve of their own initiated USFS project and not the “locals” that got Smarts project shut down. PEMI NEMBA has been a case study in how not to start a bike club in your area. Taking over trails that they didn’t build or maintain, founding members making statements that “They want every car going to Burke to come here”, shutting out dissenting opinions by hiding behind selected NEMBA bylaws and telling locals had to send money to NEMBA in Massachusettes in order to have a say about the areas trails. Phil Keyes showed up at the 3rd and first open NEMBA meeting, after syphoning 3500.00 out of the locals of course, and stating that the first thing to do was to go to the local business, restaurants, resorts, Chambers of Commerce and promote the trails before slinking to the back when people started to object. Opposing Locals said mean things like “Be careful what you wish for” and “Do we want it to look like Burke around here?”. Even PEMI NEMBA members there made statements that “They don’t build trails for the tourist industry” and that “Humans ruin things by sheer numbers”. After that discussion club officers recognizing the atmosphere of the room and quickly issued their demand about joining NEMBA in order to have a say in the trails and direction of the club. Interestingly after this meeting in 2012/2013 some Burke locals came down and rode with “the old guys”, telling them about the trouble brewing at Burke and to resist the exploiting of the bike scene for cash. Before you continue to blame the locals, how about thanking them for providing you with an awesome network of trails and respect them for standing up to people looking to exploit/ruin them. At the very least open the comment section of your “public” club FB page and let the locals have a voice.

  181. #181
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    change the kingdom trails logo from some 'crown' that by nature of the image, entices some 'greedy achievement brostastics' to a silhouette of a horse and a mounted equestrain, and a bike rider standing on the ground next to a bike...or at least make that the background image of a trail pass

    no damn fine print to read on a rulebook.
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  182. #182
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    Side note.....KTA really needs to think before they post things via their social media accounts......today they put up a post through KTA promoting one of their private businesses through the non-profit KTA account.

    I'm not saying it is flat out "wrong" but the community is watching them like a hawk and people have already made a little noise over their use of the platform they have been provided through the tenuous relationship with landowners for personal gain.

    They might want to think about sticking to trail updates and leave it at that......why give people ammunition......
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  183. #183
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    would need to be a sponsorship to be legal
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  184. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    would need to be a sponsorship to be legal

    Anyone have the over/under on whether their key "marketing" person actually paid for said Sponsorship......lol

    They literally are the worst at PR "Optics". Seriously, this is making the perfect case study for a public relations and marketing class on what not to do .......
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  185. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    Anyone have the over/under on whether their key "marketing" person actually paid for said Sponsorship......lol

    They literally are the worst at PR "Optics". Seriously, this is making the perfect case study for a public relations and marketing class on what not to do .......
    I'll admit I'm a bit biased but anyone trying to market trails should take a look BikeNWA/OzTrails. Those guys are utter geniuses at it.

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  186. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerjt07 View Post
    I'll admit I'm a bit biased but anyone trying to market trails should take a look BikeNWA/OzTrails. Those guys are utter geniuses at it.
    These geniuses had $75 million (and counting) spread out over an area significantly larger than all of Caledonia County. This is like comparing watermelons with grapes.

  187. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    These geniuses had $75 million (and counting) spread out over an area significantly larger than all of Caledonia County. This is like comparing watermelons with grapes.
    I'm not sure which direction you think the watermelons and grapes is skewed in? Not trying to be difficult but actually trying to have a real conversation about it.

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  188. #188
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    I am one of those " cyclists from away", "with different colored license plates" and can easily say while on the trails, that I cannot tell who is native to Burke and who is an alien.
    I can say that douche bag riders are from Burke, Canada, Maine, Mass, New Hampshire and other areas.
    We choose to ride responsibly, yield to up hill riders and horse riders (those things scare the crap out of me) and have great respect for the landowners who allow us to use their property.
    Multi-use trails? Riders with an entitlement mentality? Over use and crowded system?
    I cannot remember a time when I have seen horse riders or hikers at KTA. The focus of KTA has been mountain bikers and mountain bikers only, alienating all other user groups.

    Too many people in too small a place.
    On a side note, this problem has led us to discover Saxon Hill, Catamount, Craftsbury and other small riding spots. Hopefully we don't "love them to death."

  189. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    Multi-use trails? Riders with an entitlement mentality? Over use and crowded system?
    I cannot remember a time when I have seen horse riders or hikers at KTA. The focus of KTA has been mountain bikers and mountain bikers only, alienating all other user groups.
    The grounding for this area is nearly all private land and the backstory of Kingdom Trails - it's never been open for debate.
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  190. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    Multi-use trails? Riders with an entitlement mentality? Over use and crowded system?
    I cannot remember a time when I have seen horse riders or hikers at KTA. The focus of KTA has been mountain bikers and mountain bikers only, alienating all other user groups.
    The grounding for this area is nearly all private land and the backstory of Kingdom Trails - it has never been open for debate.
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  191. #191
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    Trio Of Darling Hill Landowners Won’t Allow KTA Mountain Bikers

    I hate to be that guy, but...

    All it takes is one guy who says “I’ve commuted to work on those trails for the last XYZ years...” in a courtroom.

    And then, poof, you’ve got yourself an easement. Yes, it’s a bit more complex than that but also not that complicated. The private landowners won’t win in court if someone sued them.


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  192. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I hate to be that guy, but...

    All it takes is one guy who says “I’ve commuted to work on those trails for the last XYZ years...” in a courtroom.

    And then, poof, you’ve got yourself an easement. Yes, it’s a bit more complex than that but also not that complicated. The private landowners won’t win in court if someone sued them.


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    You've not ridden there we assume - that's the least 'commutable' part of the network.

    Try to avoid turning this thread into a haven for tactic and mounting of potential for working deals. Everything about this is speculative until the 11th of February.
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  193. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I hate to be that guy, but...

    All it takes is one guy who says “I’ve commuted to work on those trails for the last XYZ years...” in a courtroom.

    And then, poof, you’ve got yourself an easement. Yes, it’s a bit more complex than that but also not that complicated. The private landowners won’t win in court if someone sued them.


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    Not so. Adverse possession must be adverse: without the landowner's consent. The land owners here gave consent.

  194. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haint View Post
    You've not ridden there we assume - that's the least 'commutable' part of the network.

    Try to avoid turning this thread into a haven for tactic and mounting of potential for working deals. Everything about this is speculative until the 11th of February.
    I have.

    But replace “commuted” with any word that implies respectable use of the trails in question, and it works the same way in court.


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  195. #195
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    The solution is to be honest about industrial-level tourism. As Scott O. said, and I have been for a longer than anyone cares to listen , supply v demand. Demand is high....to the point of degradation on many level. We need to make it much more expensive to visit here, and much more affordable to live here. Residents, not customers, that's what we need big picture.

    CAP the number of tourists. Make it expensive to bring your car into the state. Require the purchase of back country insurance for everyone recreating in Vermont on open to the public trail systems or back country as part of an annual fishing license, with out-of-state visitors paying significantly more, and use those funds to support trail access and up-keep issues.

    VMBA et al begging Vermont and the Fed Gubment for grants is beyond stupid. The state is broke. The economics for recreational tourism are so cherry-picked and manipulated it's basically a scam.

    It's a simple solution, but no one wants to confront the entrenched social elite self-promoters blowing sunshine up everyone's ass about how great everything is, throwing words like community and health around when really it's about jobs for a few people, and ego stroking for those longing to be on some panel at some Back Country Commodification forum, or have their footy shown at the annual Vermont Mountain Bike circle jerk party. Cancel Culture folks. Created consent through carefully cultivated Social Media networks and Marketing Material disguised as journalism in Vt Sports, and local TV and Radio news.

  196. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I have.

    But replace “commuted” with any word that implies respectable use of the trails in question, and it works the same way in court.


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    There is a goal here of working with the landowners and their land, not pigeon holing someone into submission. This is hardly constructive.
    Cringeworthy, yes. Helpful in the foreseeable future, no.
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  197. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT1 View Post
    Not so. Adverse possession must be adverse: without the landowner's consent. The land owners here gave consent.
    Adverse possession and an easement are not the same thing.

    No one is trying to gain permanent possession (adverse possession) of their property here. Presumably, stakeholders only want to maintain the right to cross a private landholder's property (easement).

    The fact that they gave consent previously actually helps with an easement case.

    That said, I understand that maintaining a positive relationship with landowners is a must here. If you want to continue to improve and build trails on private land, you probably don't want the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads based on your past actions. Hopefully this will be resolved in a positive manner for all stakeholders.
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  198. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Adverse possession and an easement are not the same thing.
    The use, whether a basis for further use or possession/ownership must be adverse to have legal impact. Permission granted without consideration can be withdrawn without consideration.

    Of course, it could be that my several decades as a law professor have led me astray.

  199. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    These geniuses had $75 million (and counting) spread out over an area significantly larger than all of Caledonia County. This is like comparing watermelons with grapes.
    The money spent on those trails should have gone to employees. Instead we all pay for those trails through support of the working poor that are forced into Walmart employment because our economic abandonment the working man in the decoupling of labor and value. That project, and the way the MTB community at large, and the industry it's self pay homage to them really speaks most clearly to the disconnect MTB suffers from, and is a further intensification of the disconnect currently devouring the KTA. Despite the glaring juxtaposition of a 75 million dollar trail system and fine art museum located in the midst of some of the harshest poverty in the East, no one dare question the disconnect. Folks drive in in their $100,000 vans with 30 thousand dollars of bike sticking off the back like the nickles they spend in Appalachia are going to replace their Main Street businesses, their lost industry or pay for their child's education. Nope. Scam. Tourism is what happens to your area when you loose a war. Literally. Where you see it becoming a significant part of the economy is where labor lost theirs decades ago.

    Tourism, and the associated service industry jobs are economic enslavement, and wealth extraction on the back of exploited labor, destruction of culture, and the environment.

  200. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT1 View Post
    The use, whether a basis for further use or possession/ownership must be adverse to have legal impact. Permission granted without consideration can be withdrawn without consideration.

    Of course, it could be that my several decades as a law professor have led me astray.
    Just so we're clear:

    Do we know for certain that no consideration was exchanged? If it was (i.e., "You can build/ride/maintain trail if you cut down these three old trees."), that argument goes out the window, no?
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