Well its a late start again this season but our club has been hard at it maintaining accesses and creating some new ones!
12.23.21 we went out for 21hrs to get all the trails packed. Unfortunately we did not go north on ITS 87 of the Austin Stream Bridge at the Deadwater road, as there was no definitive answer to where we were going, and no solid back up plan. The storm back then causing us to go out produced only about 4" in town, but 8" to 10" in places out of town near Deadwater and Iron Gate Rd areas.
Locals riding the trails early reported a positive outcome from our efforts! A nice rock hard base was formed, setting us up nice for upcoming weather good or bad. Unfortunately, we did not get the upcoming storms we were hoping for but mild temps, and light rain, with some flurries mixed in here and there. Suprisingly, out trail system held up quite well. North of the Deadwater rd as of last night did receive another 2" of snow to help out, but no new additional accumlation were found inside 10mi from town.
So everyone wants to know....."Are the trails open?" Well, yes I suppose they are....HOWEVER only the Kingsbury club has connected as of last night up by Austin Pond to access the Breakneck ridge system as we did 2 or 3 years ago.
Good News/Bad News:
Well it looks like the only Wind Tower access we will have this year is that of tower 1-9 near Mahoney Hill or ITS 84. Dues to several logging opertaions scattered througout the winter, we just dont see a window in which we will be able to access the towers by Kingsbury. The good news is, it does appear this has not affected the Iron Gate Rd loop, AND this season it appears we will be able to cross Rt 16 at the Townline/JW Pinkerton Rd to access ITS 87. Townline Rd is only to be used for the first mile coming from Rt 16 and should otherwise nope be ridden to not abuse the priviledge we have been given back for this winter. In the works for next season, we are attemping to get permission and funds will be set aside to build a bypass along side Townline Rd from Rt 16 so that we will only ahve a crossing for future years where they will be hauling and plowing it.
Yes, the railroad bed was plowed for about 500' on 12.24.21 by an abutting landowner. The trail is open, and leftover snowbanks have been removed. We have also signed the trail notifiying riders of an Active Construction Ahead site, so please use caution. Please leave it at that, be respetful, and be thankful that it is open for now.
Railbed is in great shape considering.
ITS 87 north:
Poleline on the edge of town has a nasty water hole before starting up the hill that we just cannot keep full due to the lack of snow. From there to Rt16 crossing the trail is in great shape and freshened up Sat. Once crossing Rt16 it is a little boney with ledge for the next 3 mi or so. The rest of the trail to Heald Pond has a new wooded section dumping you out right at the bridge, a short section that needs some brushing we haven't used for 15yrs, and 2 poleline sections mostly on top of swamp mats with some wet areas and water bars that haven't been covered up yet due to lack of snow. Heald Pond rd to where we meet the Forks is in great shape.
Palmer Pond Rd:
By far our best trail currently with good coverage all the way to Austin Pond where we meet the Forks. FYI....Austin Pond has been open to ice fishing this year. We have had trucks already tearing up the groomed trail which we hope will not be a continuing issue all winter. We have plowed a sizable bank up where trucks are accessing our trail, signing it hoping others will respect our efforts. Kingsbury as I mentioned earlier also connected here last night but neither of us signed it for that trail option, but we will soon. Freshened up last night.
Mostly on gravel roads and railbed, this trail is in good shape with decent coverage even in the new wooded sectio, starting 2 or so miles from the rail bed when traveling east toward Athens. This section is the ATV trail and part of a piece we used many years ago, that avoids the Pat Cassidy Rd which is being plowed for the winter. Freshening up today.
Jack Pine Connector:
From the top of Mahoney Hill to ITS 87 with trail is in good shape and has good coverage but it a little thin crossing the powerline.
Sunshine Connector to Withee Pond:
This road had a lot of damage prewinter last season most of which was repaired prior to the start of this season, making this trail great again! However after repairs a truck punched one set of tires through a small bridge 3mi from Mahoney Hill. Due to lack of time, swamp pads were placed over it narrowing the trail to 12', but it is marked well and there was enough snow to ramp both sides well avoiding an abrupt bump.
Iron Gate Road:
As of 12.23 this trail had great coverage and was in great shape. We will freshen this up this evening as well.
All and all, the trails are rideable but it is still early season conditoins, producing a variety of hazards, mostly loose and exposed rocks. Riders should use extreme caution if venturing our trails before we get more snow, and expect to ride around, but really go anywhere. High rates of speed are highly NOT recommended yet due to lack of snow!
Ride right, and ride safe!