Group hopes officials will hop onto mountain bike trail idea

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Karen Wilson, right, discusses a proposed mountain biking trail in Rumford with Penacook Area Community Trails members Allie Burke and Todd Papianou. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — A group of mountain biking enthusiasts is looking to develop a local trail, but those plans will require the use of town-owned land.

Led by Karen Wilson, Penacook Area Community Trails, or PACT, is on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

The town-owned land is behind the Marden’s store at River Valley Crossing Plaza on Route 2.

Wilson said the Penacook Loop Trail will be a 2.5-to-3-mile, purpose-built mountain biking trail that would serve the growing trail user community in the Rumford region.

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Wilson said riders have been asking to gain access and permission to build a true biking trail on town property.

“We believe this trail project will serve as a launch pad for future trail development in the community,” she said, “and allow us to explore connecting this trail to the broader area and possibly to two other major parcels of land that are close by and open to trail development.”

Jim Rinaldo, a member of the mountain biking committee, noted the town-owned parcel is 83.85 acres, and that developing mountain bike trails on it “is probably the best use you could have for it.”

He said that some areas had already been flagged or scouted as permission was granted to start building a mountain bike trail five years ago, but those plans were canceled due to concerns about sustainability.

“We decided as a group that it would good for us to look at that piece of property because there’s already infrastructure there to make it accessible,” Wilson said. “There’s a town-owned boat launch on the other side of Route 2, which has parking facilities, bathrooms and a picnic area.

“There’s already a kiosk there, so you add to the kiosk and it would accessible to just cross Route 2 to get to the trails.”

At a recent meeting with committee members, Wilson said: “There’s some access issues with the airport, but if you can get some access through the airport area, it links right to the top of Falls Hill. And from the top of Falls Hill, you can cross the bridge on the South Rumford Road, go up the power lines and the town owns another big piece of land on both sides of the power line corridor on the Wyman Hill Road. And Nicols Brothers Logging owns another piece of land that abuts that. And Nicols Brothers has told us we could build trails on their property.”

She said there is potential, once there is something behind Marden’s, to also connect it to other networks, keeping it in the downtown area so it feeds the economy in Rumford positively.

Wilson said that to date, landowners who have property abutting the town parcels have been positive, and will likely grant permission to use their land after they see where the planned trails are and how their properties would be impacted.

She said the code enforcement officer has said the trail system would not require permits.

In addition to seeking permission to use town-owned land, Wilson said PACT is looking to apply through the town for a federal Recreational Trails Project grant.

PACT has also obtained sponsorships from The Fitch Co., Nicols Brothers Logging Inc., Adley’s Auto, Sherwin-Williams and a private citizen.

“We are continuing to look for local sponsors,” Wilson said, “and will look for other grant opportunities.”

She said PACT is also putting together a proposal for the Mahoosuc Pathways board of directors to accept PACT as one of the projects it will help plan, manage, fund and provide with nonprofit status. PACT organizers hope to make a presentation to the Mahoosuc Pathways board at its June 27 meeting.

Donors can deliver checks after June 27 to Allie Burke at the River Valley Community Partnership. Checks can be made out to Mahoosuc Pathways with “PACT” in the memo area of the check.

“Once we get further into the project, we will investigate online crowdfunding,” Wilson said.

For this summer, Wilson said PACT is looking to do the flagging and design of the trail layout, then use volunteers to clear the corridor, clear the duff layer and prepare for the trail-building process, which would likely not happen until the summer of 2019.

RUMFORD — A group of mountain biking enthusiasts is looking to develop a mountain biking trail, but will require the use of town-owned land to do so.

Led by Karen Wilson, Penacook Area Community Trails (PACT) is on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

The town-owned land is located behind the Marden’s in River Valley Crossing Plaza on Route 2.

She said the Penacook Loop Trail will be a 2.5- to 3-mile purpose built mountain bike trail that will serve the growing trail user community in the greater Rumford region.

Wilson said riders in this area have been asking to gain access and permission to build a true bike trail on town property.

“We believe this trail project will serve as a launch pad for future trail development in the community, and allow us to explore connecting this trail to the broader area and possibly to two other major parcels of land that are close by and open to trail development,” she said

Jim Rinaldo, a member of the mountain biking committee, noted the town-owned parcel is 83.85 acres, and that developing mountain bike trails on it “is probably the best use you could have for it.”

He said that some the area had already been flagged or scouted as permission was granted to start building a mountain bike trail five years ago, but those plans were cancelled due to concerns about sustainability.

Wilson said, “We decided as a group that it would good for us to look at that piece of property because there’s already infrastructure there to make it accessible. There’s a town-owned boat launch on the other side of Route 2, which has parking facilities, bathrooms and a picnic area.

There’s already a kiosk there, so you add to the kiosk and it would accessible to just cross Route 2 to get to the trails.”

In a recent meeting with committee members, Wilson said, “There’s some access issues with the airport but if you can get some access through the airport area, it links right to the top of Falls Hill, and from the top of Falls Hill, you can cross the bridge on the South Rumford Road, go up the power lines, and the town owns another big piece of land on both sides of the power line corridor on the Wyman Hill Road, and Nicols Bros. Logging owns another piece of land that abuts that. And Nicols Bros. has told us we could build trails on their property.”

She said there is potential, once you have something going behind Marden’s, to also connect it to other networks, and keeping it in the downtown area so that it feeds the economic situation in Rumford positively.

Wilson said that to date, landowners who have property abutting the town parcels have been positive, and will likely grant permission to use their land after they see where the planned trails are, and how their properties would be impacted.

She said the code enforcement officer has been contacted, and this trail system does not require permits.

In addition to seeking permission to use town-owned land, Wilson said they are looking to apply through the town for a federal Recreational Trails Project (RTP) grant.

To date, they have also have also attained sponsorships from The Fitch Company, Nicols Brothers Logging, Adley’s Auto, Sherwin Williams and from a private citizen.

“We are continuing to look for local sponsors, and will look for other grant opportunities,” said Wilson.

She said PACT is also putting together a proposal for the Mahoosuc Pathways board of directors to accept PACT as one of the projects they will help plan, manage, fund and provide with nonprofit status. They hope to make a presentation to the Mahoosuc Pathways board at their June 27 meeting.

Donors can deliver checks to Allie Burke at the River Valley Community Partnership. Checks can be made out to Mahoosuc Pathways with PACT in the memo area of the check, after June 27. “Once we get further into the project, we will investigate online crowdfunding,” said Wilson.

For this summer, Wilson said PACT is looking to do the flagging and design of the trail layout, then use volunteers to clear the corridor, clear the duff layer and prepare for the trail-building process, which would likely not happen until the summer of 2019.

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