September Meeting on 9/6

The next WNYMBA meeting will be Wed. September 6.  As usual, ride at Sprague first and then meet at Colden Country Inn @ 8:30.

See you there!

Some boring stuff: An overview of WNYMBA's Permits with the local land managers

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Ever wonder how WNYMBA gets trails built in the county forests and state parks and forests? You may be most familiar with the volunteer work days that gets the picks in the ground and the singletrack on the ground. But it starts way before that. Even before the planning and marking stages. It all starts with WNYMBA’s agreements with the land managers.

Land managers – we are talking Erie County Parks Department, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and NYS State Parks – only allow work on their properties with the proper permissions. You can imagine why. For example, I think most of us would be pretty upset if an ATV group decided to ride in a bunch of new trails through Sprague Brook park.

Getting permission is not the most glamorous part of WNYMBA’s activities. So there’s not a lot about it on the website or facebook. But with this post, we thought we would post up our permits.

Closest to home, we work with Erie County Parks (technically, Erie County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry). We have had a series of permits with Erie County. Our latest dates from late 2013 and can be read at this link. This permit, called a “Revocable License” allows us to work at Hunters Creek and Sprague Brook, currently the only two parks allowing mountain bike use. However, the permit is clear to point out that “WNYMBA may neither develop extensions to existing Trails listed on Exhibit "A", nor create additional Trails, without obtaining prior written consent of the Commissioner.” Fortunately, we have been able to develop good trail proposals and get some great new trails on the ground.

For the state forests, NYSDEC requires a “Volunteer Stewardship Agreement” or VSA. A copy of our current VSA, for the period 2014 – 2019 is at this link. This is the latest in a series of permits WNYMBA has held with NYSDEC. Among other things, this VSA allows WNYMBA to “Design, build and maintain sustainable single track mountain bike trail under direction of DEC Forestry staff. All new trail features, segments and improvements must be approved by a land manager.

Finally, we do work on state parks, including Allegany and Darien Lakes. The State Parks Dept. (OPRHP) issues permits (called Temporary Revocable Permits or TRPs) on a project-specific basis. For example, the TRP for the stone tower construction at Allegany State Park is at this link.

It’s very important that trail work performed on local parks be performed in cooperation with the managing agencies. WNYMBA has been on top of this for quite a while, and the results have been fantastic.

42nd Parallel Ride

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Well, it's been almost a year, but finally I am posting an article about this.  What prompted me is that Dirt Rag has finally posted the article I co-wrote with Anthony Suncan (our IMBA regional rep) that was published in the dead-trees vesrion of the rag last year.  Here's the link:  http://dirtragmag.com/access-the-42nd-parallel/

All the details are in the article, but in a nutshell, I wanted to do a ride almost entirely on dirt from Ellicottville to Jakes Rocks.  Partly just because we can, and partly to build awareness of three of the missing links in the route, all of which are in various stages of fruition.

First, I would note this was not an official WNYMBA event, but a group ride of about a dozen friends.  I know that may sound elitest, but there was method in the madness.  Any event in state forests and state parks over 20 people needs permits, insurance, etc. and that's a lot of work.  Secondly, part of the route traverses private property.  Everything was 100% legit as we either got explicit permission for that day, or else it was on private timber or oil&gas roads that are non-posted.  Non-posted is one thing, but bringing a publicly-advertised ride on them is another.  And last but certainly not least, there were only about a dozen people on the ride, all which I knew and were good riders, and still we had a hell of a time keeping people together and minimizing the number of wrong turns!

But as for the ride: it was awesome and we do hope to do portions of this again as a publicly announced ride.

The three sections that we are hoping to get more dirt to replace pavement are as follows:

  1. Stone Tower Trail: The first actually wouldn't replace pavement, but we did ride right past the trailhead.  This is the new trail that we started building in Allegany State Park and hopefully will soon be getting funding for the first four miles to be constructed similarly to Jakes Rocks.  Stay tuned!
  2. Cain Hollow Trail:  This is another authorized trail in Allegany, yet to be built.  As I wrote in the article, after 41 miles of riding the first day, we had been on dirt the entire time except the pavement to the start of Eagle, and then crossing the Allegheny in Salamanca.  At that point, there is a planned singeltrack descent into the Cain Hollow campground.  INfo on this and the Stone Tower Trail is here: http://wnymba.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=477:allegany-state-park-planning-process&catid=55&Itemid=399
  3. Tracy Ridge Trails:  We have been working with the National Forest Service to get trails at Tracy ridge (home to bears - read the article!).  Hopefully these will be opened soon.  More info: http://wnymba.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=820:forest-service-environmental-assessment-on-proposed-opening-12-5-miles-of-trails-at-tracy-ridge-find-no-significant-impact&catid=41&Itemid=393

In summary, we have some of the best riding in the country in our area.  Get out and ride!

Buffalo Outer Harbor Off-Road Cycling News - June 2017

WNYMBA issued the press release printed below last week to update on progress on the Outer Harbor.  There has been a lot of progress on the new biking area, but at the request of EDHDC, we have been quiet about it.  They have now allowed us to go public on the progress being made.  And it's not a moment too soon because they have been getting push back from folks who haven't been encumbered by a request to be quiet.  But the good news is this project is going forward in accordance with the revised master plan (http://eriecanalharbor.com/outer-harbor/PDF/Outer_Harbor_Blueprint.pdf), and ECHDC is, at WNYMBA's suggestion, going forward and retaining a bike-park specific consultant to provide design assistance and construction should start next year.

 

Here is the text of our press release:

 

June 15, 2017
WNYMBA STATEMENT - BUFFALO OUTER HARBOR OFF-ROAD CYCLING AREA
Construction Begins 1st Quarter 2018

Almost two years to the day after an initial approach to ECHDC (Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation), WNYMBA (Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association) is pleased to announce that an off-road cycling park at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor has been included in the overall Outer Harbor Project Plan. The design will be completed by this fall, with a construction start on the project just over the horizon. The cycling park will provide beginner-friendly facilities, including a pump track and narrow trails, together with varying degrees of skill-building features.

WNYMBA’s first proposal to ECHDC in mid-2015 offered to install volunteer-built, single track, off-road cycling trails in the Bell Slip area of the Outer Harbor, an area of the Lake Erie waterfront long unused in Buffalo’s history. That idea ultimately grew, dovetailing superbly with ECHDC’s overall plan of expanded use for the entire Outer Harbor. With the support of Board Members Sam Hoyt and Robert Gioia and Staff members Steve Rinalli and Chris Catanzaro, WNYMBA’s proposals were submitted and modified over time and in September of 2015, the concept of a family-oriented off-road cycling area was formally integrated into the Master Plan for the long-vacant Outer Harbor area and presented to the public in an open Board Meeting by ECHDC President Tom Dee.

“It’s been a rewarding process,” said Jon Sundquist, WNYMBA’s President. “Since our earliest beginnings in 1992, we’ve established a great record of trail-building and land stewardship with both Erie County and the New York State DEC, but we’d never been in a position of competing for resources, as we have in this case. This project was never about building trails for the very experienced WNYMBA riders. Our intention from Day 1 was to help build an urban riding area where kids and families could ride their bikes and learn about nature in an easy and safe, off-road setting.”

Along the way, ECHDC worked to balance input from competing user groups, including one that incorrectly presented the cycling project as a disruptive, speed-oriented, mountain bike theme park, designed to adversely impact the environment. WNYMBA’s position throughout, was to assist ECHDC whenever possible, to emphasize that this component of the blueprint would be both environmentally friendly and one that would enable families and children to enjoy a new kind of cycling in the Outer Harbor area.

Incorporating information taken from several presentations by WNYMBA during the past two-year period, ECHDC this month issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) to experienced trail-building firms for the design of an off-road cycling area in the Bell Slip area of the Outer Harbor. A final design plan will be selected by August 25th, 2017 and the successful design consultant will be a sub-consultant to ECHDC’s prime design firm for the Outer Harbor, TWMLA. Construction will begin in the first-quarter of 2018.

WNYMBA congratulates ECHDC on an excellent job of balancing all the various interests involved in the Outer Harbor and for working hard to offer yet one more opportunity to the families and children of Western New York. More information on WNYMBA, the region’s premier off-road cycling club, is available at “wnymba.org.”

Please report trail conditions

mud n rutsAs we put it on our maps, we have said a general rule of thumb of when to hit the trails is "Tax Time" (April 15), sometimes earlier, sometimes later.  As I type this, I hear the rain come down outside again.  Unfortunately, this year sounds like it may be a "sometimes later" year.  Right now, the Erie Co. parks aren't ready to go, and there are reports of very wet conditions in E-ville.

Next week's forecast is looking better, but we will have to see.  In the meantime, please report conditions at our "Trails Dry?" reporting page.  Yes, right now, there are no recent posts and no posts from last year.  But that is because out website got hacked last May and the latest backup was from February or March.  So all the 2016 reports were lost.  And after May, it was so dry, there was no need to report.

It's super important to let the trails dry in the spring before heading out.  Because of the way the soils are, way more damage can occur when ridden during this period than, say, after an August rain storm.  They need to harden up and then they will be good to go for the year.

In the meantime, satisfy your trails jonesing by attending one of our many trail work days this spring, and while out there, file a report on the web site.

Thanks!

Our insurance company has "strongly suggested" that we tell you that Mountain Biking can be dangerous. If you're visiting this site it's very likely that you're already aware that if you insist on having a good time by riding your mountain bike, eventually you will almost certainly fall down and collect any number of boo-boos, dings and injuries, serious or otherwise, but we have to tell you anyway.

Mountain Biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk of bodily injury and even death. Mountain biking should only be undertaken if you have a complete awareness of these risks. You can reduce the level of risk by wearing a helmet and by riding within your own skill level.