By Ariel Kent
No trail net work is free. This idea was ignited in my mind this past week by trail steward Matt Baatz of Green Mountain Trails. No trail network is free and here’s why: trail networks that are open to the public (without an entrance fee) have to be maintained. Maintained by someone or many. These people volunteer their time and, as many of us know, there is never enough time. Though a person’s time may not be spent making money, it’s still valuable time.
The word “free” can be interpreted to mean that it’s of no value, and that’s simply not the case. The countless hours put in maintaining, and building these networks is done by many volunteers, passionate about the places they get to enjoy.
Most “free” networks have donation boxes or volunteer trail days listed at the trail head. Trails like the Green Mountain Trails, Perry Hill, Saxon Hill, Cady Hill and many more are all there for the public to enjoy. Next time you’re riding one of these networks stop and maybe kick a rock that’s peculiarly landed in the trail or move a small log that’s fallen. Heck, take a weekend off from riding and grab a shovel for a change. Be friendly and courteous of others on trail when riding. Use good mountain bike trail etiquette and enjoy because these trails were built on the idea that everyone should have as much fun as the people who built them.
Pine Hill Park in Rutland has volunteer trail days scheduled throughout the summer. Green Mountain Trails has them scheduled, too, but Matt Baatz is also always open to people wanting to chip in whenever they have time to spare.