BETHEL — For those who don’t participate in outdoor activities during the chilly months, winter can seem long, cold and miserable.

To combat the winter blues, Mahoosuc Pathways in Bethel is getting people outside and active.

In November 2016, after learning the Nordic ski center at the Bethel Inn Resort was not going to open that winter because the manager was leaving, local skiers, business owners and nonprofits rallied to create a plan to keep the center going.

In three weeks, Mahoosuc Pathways, with help from the Bethel Outing Club and the Bethel Inn Resort, managed to purchase equipment and arrange for volunteers to operate the center under its new name, Bethel Village Trails.

The center rents equipment and has partnered with School Administrative District 44 and the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Bryant Pond to offer students opportunities to get outside and enjoy the trails.

The trail system extends along Paradise Road in Bethel and connects with Gould Academy’s campus and its Pine Hill Trails. 

Advertisement

In winter, the trails can be used for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking, a relatively new winter activity. The bikes are equipped with wide tires with low pressure, which allows the bike to float across surfaces it would normally sink into, such as snow or sand.

In the summer, the trails are used for running, walking and mountain biking.

Mahoosuc Pathways maintains the trails.

“For the ski trails, we use two snowmobiles that pull a variety of implements such as a Ginzugroomer, which leaves a nice corduroy surface for skate skiing, and sets tracks for classic skiing,” said Sarah Weafer, project manager for Mahoosuc Pathways.

“We also use a Bombardier and Piston Bully, which are large grooming machines that can move snow to level the trails, till up the snow, leave a corduroy surface, and set tracks,” she said. “For the fat bike trails, we use a snowmobile to pull a fat bike groomer made by Wild Cat Groomers. This leaves a nice smooth surface that is about two and a half feet wide.”

In addition to maintaining the trails, Mahoosuc Pathways is also adding to them. This year, two new trails were added, as well as 6 kilometers of fat bike trails. It plans to add 5 kilometers of mountain biking trails this summer.

Advertisement

The organization will hold its first fat bike race Feb. 10.

For more information on the Bethel Village Trails project and the upcoming race, visit www.mahoosucpathways.org.

[email protected]

Mahoosuc Pathways partnered with the Bethel Inn, the Bethel Outing Club, Gould Academy, SAD 44 and the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Bryant Pond to create a trail system in Bethel for winter and summer activities. (Mahoosuc Pathways photo)

A map shows the Nordic trails available in Bethel, thanks to Mahoosuc Pathways. (Mahoosuc Pathways photo)

A map shows the snowshoe and fat bike trail in Bethel. (Mahoosuc Pathways photo)


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: