MILTON — This fall, mountain bikers will be able to shred the hills of Bombardier Park.
During its June 21 meeting, the Milton Selectboard approved the creation of a beginner-level mountain bike trail network. The trails, two-miles in length, will be located in the Bombardier Park Natural Area.
“Hopefully you will agree this would be an asset to Milton, and we can go ahead with building those trails this summer,” Recreation Director Jenna Tucker said during her presentation to the board.
The project approval comes about three months after Milton High School students, with the help of Recreation Commissioner Ryan Bushey, told the Selectboard there is student support for designated mountain bike trails.
When will the trails be completed?
Work creating the trail network will commence this month and continue throughout the summer. Sept. 30 is the target opening date, though the trails will still have limited signage at that time.
Professional signage will be created by mid-November, and a grand opening event will be planned for spring 2022.
Who is involved?
The project’s steering group will be made up of Tucker, Bushey, Assistant Recreation Director Ben Nappi and community volunteers Shannon King and Jay Mitiguy.
The trails will be volunteer-built, giving students — like those in the Milton High School Mountain Bike Club — the opportunity to participate.
Will these trails impact the environment?
The trails will be “rake and ride,” or hand-built with no machinery, and therefore have little environmental impact.
The proposed area in the Bombardier Natural Area was walked by Milton Tree Warden Kris Dulmer and Conservation Commissioner Bonnie Pease. Both gave the project the green light.
Brock Freyer, Vermont wetlands specialist, provided trail-building guidelines to Milton Recreation.
How much will the project cost?
According to the proposal, the start-up cost could be as low as $0, because of the community members who will volunteer their time and tools.
Adding professional signage to the trails this fall will cost approximately $500. Funds will come from the Milton Recreation budget or grants.
Will more trails be built in the future?
Tucker said this two-mile network could be just the beginning of mountain bike recreation in Milton. Some volunteers are interested in building a pump track, or a circuit of dirt rollers, in the future.
“We're going to just start with this, and then see what we can do,” Tucker said.
Milton Recreation is currently conducting a Natural Resource Inventory and Recreation Assessment along the Lamoille Riverwalk, which according to the study could be another trail site.
“Potentially that could be another spot for a little bit more intermediate-level mountain biking,” Tucker said.
Selectboard Clerk Chris Taylor and member John Fitzgeragld were especially enthusiastic and supportive of the project.
“Let’s get this tackled and then think bigger,” Taylor said.