Mad River Riders are joining other members of the Vermont Trails Alliance in keeping trails closed. Trails are often closed during April to allow them to dry out, but this closure is broader than that and is aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Mad River Riders is encouraging people to use the dirt roads to stay safe and active during the pandemic, while maintaining social distancing, avoiding parking lots and trailhead areas.
Here is an excerpt from the Mad River Riders April 4 newsletter, quoting the statement of the members of the Vermont Trails Alliance:
"The Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, members of the Vermont Trails Alliance, the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, the Green Mountain Club and the Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation have evaluated the current status of our recreational trail systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Scott’s executive order. Together we have agreed that:
“The primary directive from the governor is to protect the public health and safety of Vermonters. We are in the middle of a health emergency, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19 we must stay at home as much as possible.
“It is spring mud season, trail conditions are poor and trail use has always been discouraged during this time of year. In addition, trail work and maintenance is not an essential or critical activity . . . and is, therefore, prohibited.
If our trails cannot be prepared for safe public use and properly maintained, they should not be used for recreation.
“Trail usage would create unnecessary risk of injury at a time when our sole focus should be on supporting Vermont's efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus with all available medical resources and not diverting them to emergency response actions.”
Here are some suggested dirt roads for people to enjoy while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
Waitsfield Common Road
Park at the corner of East Warren Road and the Common. It starts with a flat section.
Tremblay Road to North Road/Pony Farm Road. Park at the Pines Rest Area. Go up Tremblay and turn left on North Road. This route is relatively flat, features beautiful views, a covered bridge and generally slow traffic. North Road turns into Pony Farm Road as it crosses the Moretown line and ends at RT 100B in Moretown Village.
The Sidewalk: Park at the Waitsfield School. The Waitsfield village sidewalk stretches from the school to the RT 17/100 intersection.
Plunkton-Senor-Roxbury Gap Loop: Park at corner of Plunkton and East Warren Road. Plunkton is paved now and Senor tends to dry out pretty fast.
Moretown Common Road: Park at the corner of Farnham and Common Road, off to the side. Head northeast on the Common Road and turn around at the horse farm with a view of Camel's Hump, or descend and climb back up from RT 100B.
Hill Climbs: For bigger challenges, we have a wide variety of tough climbs, including the App and Moretown Gaps, West Hill Road and Bragg Hill Road. Remember to descend slowly and keep it safe. Moretown Gap is dirt, but tends to dry out faster than Roxbury. Lincoln Gap Road is still covered in snow and closed.
The Mad River Path Association remains open and people are also directed to adhere to social distancing, avoid areas that look crowded, recreate alone or with household members, stay 6-10 feet away from others, keep dogs on a leash so others who are out won’t brush up against or pet them.