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


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.

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.