We are hoping you can attend a virtual Pine Hill Partnership annual meeting on Monday, March 29th at 7pm via Zoom.
We will have a short discussion to show our accomplishments for 2020 and plans for 2021. We will also be reviewing our 2020 and 2021 budgets and will elect a slate of officers and board members.
Only folks with current memberships will be eligible to vote, but anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-4867 before 8pm.
Please RSVP by Friday, March 26th if you can attend. We will email you login instructions on the afternoon of the 29th.
We hope to see you there and send a big thank you for your support this year in our continued efforts to make these area trails so special.
Sincerely, Andrew Shinn, Joel Blumental, Dave Jenne, Claus Bartenstein, Peggy Shinn, Nate Netsch, Lindsey Johnston and Shelley Lutz—Board of Directors
Its always very gratifying when one of our visitors raves about the character of our hand-built trails — all done with a lot of volunteer time and sweat, we might add! It’s even better when they record and share it for other potential visitors too.
Niko Huber has done a great job creating a video guide to Pine Hill Park and its well worth your time to check it out. While you’re at it maybe hit his subscribe button. It looks like he’s planning to do more videos of other mountain biking venues soon!
Thanks for a great job Niko. We hope to see you back in the park soon !
As late as the first week of Oct., a few summer resident birds could still be found in the park, including yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Eastern phoebe, and wood ducks. Day temperatures could be considered generally cold. And an occasional garter snake could be seen slithering among the leaf litter. The forest seemed alive with chipmunks scurrying about searching for, and storing, their winter food supply of acorns and other available nuts and seeds.
By mid-October, the forest floor was covered in a thick layer of colorful leaves, a layer which would persist throughout the fall and winter months. Eastern newts could still be seen swimming in Rocky and Muddy ponds.
By the first week of November, the seasonal birds had left, the hundreds of migrating waterfowl had left both ponds, the forest had become very quiet, trees were bare of leaves for the most part, and both Rocky and Muddy ponds were still open water, with newts seen swimming along the shoreline.
At the end of the first week of November, a thin layer of ice had formed over a few small areas on the edges of the ponds. On a Nov. 9th walk, I saw only one crow, but plenty of gray squirrels and chipmunks scurrying about. On a Nov. 17th hike, I had noticed that most of the oak trees had finally dropped their last leaves, an inch of snow was on the ground, gray squirrels and chipmunks were continuing their collecting of food, both ponds were covered with about 2 inches of ice, and not a single bird was heard or seen.
Two days before Christmas, temperatures in the low 50s were recorded, causing a major snow melt, but both ponds were now covered with thick ice. On Dec. 28th, Dave and Shelley participated in the annual Audubon Christmas bird count, observing tufted titmouse, mallard, crow, red-tailed hawk, raven, black-caped chickadee, downy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, American goldfinch, hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, and Eastern bluebird.
On Jan. 12th, bluebirds were seen at a birdhouse near the park trailhead. Hopefully, they’ll be nesting in one of those houses in the spring. But because of the proximity to people, that very well may not happen. On this day I saw common resident bird species including downy, hairy, and pileated woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees and dark-eyed juncos. Both ponds were covered in a few inches of water caused by recent heavy rains, and temperatures in the 60s! Snow was almost completely gone from the forest floor.
The third week of Jan. found the forest floor covered in about 4 inches of snow, with temperatures near single digits. Many places could be seen where white-tailed deer had been digging up the snow in search of acorns and other nuts.
The first week of Feb. found the lower trails forest floor still bare, but the higher trails all had about an inch of snow covering the ground. The forest was still relatively quiet, but I did observe gray squirrels mating. A RED squirrel, an only occasional sight, was seen in the hemlock forest near Muddy Pond, and tufted titmouse birds were singing, signs that spring was not far away.
By mid-Feb., about 6” of snow was on the ground, many animal tracks were seen throughout the forest including white-tailed deer, coyote, fox, squirrels and chipmunks, many squirrels were scurrying about, snow fleas were observed for the first time, and cardinals were singing.
On Feb. 23rd, while sitting on the edge of Rocky Pond, I could hear rumbles, moans, and groans coming from the pond as ice was moving and cracking underneath the snow covered surface. All streams and ponds frozen over.
March 8th was a gorgeous day. Squirrels and chipmunks could be seen active throughout the park, snow was gone on the lower trails with snow found only in protected, isolated areas throughout the upper trails, Rocky Pond had a few spots of open water, spiders were seen crawling about, and streams were starting to run.
By mid-March, snow was gone from most of the park with just a few patches of snow found only in small protected areas. Both Rocky and Muddy Ponds had some small open patches of water along the perimeter with Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks and hooded mergansers found there. Eastern newts were seen in large numbers along the shores in these open areas. Hairy woodpeckers were heard all throughout the park drumming.
All 50 American chestnut trees survived the winter, but 2 of the trees have small spots on their bark which show outer bark degradation. Whether this is the dreaded blight or not is too early to tell at this time according to a VT State Forester who looked at a picture of the spots I had taken for him to examine.
Shelley observed bluebirds leaving and entering one of the bird houses near the trailhead. We can only hope they decide to nest in one of the houses this spring.
That’s it for this issue. Please stay on the trails and enjoy your walks through the beautiful trails of Pine Hill Park.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Board of Directors voted today to cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting.
While we are very disappointed in not being able to see you all and tell you about our plans for next year, we are hoping to see you on the trails (at the appropriate social distance, of course) as we all enjoy what the Pine Hill trails have to give to help us to get through the challenging times ahead. For now, look to the web site and social media for updates and plans as we move ahead.
Thank you for your continued support of Pine Hill Partnership. Stay healthy and we’ll meet again soon.
Sincerely, Andrew Shinn, Joel Blumental, Dave Jenne, Claus Bartenstein, Peggy Shinn, and Shelley Lutz—Board of Directors
February 9, 2020 UPDATE: Nate N has been out a couple of days in a row grooming. He’s set some really great tracks for folks to enjoy. Please consider a donation to Tinman or Pine Hill Partnership to help defray the cost of operating the snowdog. If temps rise about freezing please stay off groomed trails as it really does make a mess of them. Thank you your hard working volunteers.
February 6, 2020 UPDATE: Trails were groomed Thursday 2/6 thanks to volunteer Nate N. We are hoping to groom again after this next batch of snow on Friday 2/7. The grooming map is below. Please leave a donation in Tinman to help defray the cost of running the Snowdog. Thanks your volunteers of Pine Hill Partnership.
January 20, 2020 UPDATE: More grooming has taken place thanks to Nate N. We are trying to lay a good base down for Cold Rolled Rutland fat bike festival on Sunday, February 2nd. Walkers, runners and fat bikes (4″ or wider tire please) if you like the groomed trails please consider making a contribution to the Snowdog fund using our donation page. https://pinehillpark.org/volunteer/
January 17, 2020 UPDATE: We have snow! Thanks to Nate F we have some groomed trails as of Thursday, January 16th. Are you enjoying the groomed trails for walking, running or riding your fat bike? Please consider giving Pine Hill Partnership a donation to help pay for the Snowdog. https://pinehillpark.org/membership/
January 11, 2020 UPDATE: Please no bikes of any kind, prefer foot traffic to stay on pedestrian only trails. It’s warm, wet and trails are extremely fragile today. Please wait before getting out into the park until a solid 24 hour freeze happens. The volunteers thank you.
A few folks enjoying the freshly groomed trails today December 19, 2019.
We are back to winter conditions. Trails received a light grooming Wednesday 12/18/19. Hopefully we continue to stay cold and get more snow. This is an all volunteer effort please consider making a contribution to Pine Hill Partnership to help pay for the Snowdog and the maintenance that goes with running machinery.
Well, we’re on hold now as all the snow is basically gone 12/10/19. Please do not ride if temps are above 25 degrees as it really can rut up some trails that have a western or southern exposure to the sun.
Mother Nature gave us a gift of a little more snow than we expected yesterday and this morning (Sat. Dec 7) we are out grooming.
Assuming there are no mechanical or other unforeseen issues, the trails marked on the map below should be groomed sometime on Saturday. If you happen to see Nate, our trail groomer in your travels, be sure to say “thank you”. It’s hard work.
Pine Hill Park is unlike many other mountain bike trails systems in North America, and visitors from in- and out-of-state travel to the park to experience our unique trails. This unique character includes hand-made single-track, berms, drainages, and playful bridges through the Park’s hardwoods and quartzite boulders and ridges. Since trail-building began in 2003, trail builders have worked to maintain this unique user experience. As of 2019, Pine Hill Park’s 325 acres are almost at capacity for trails. But anyone with ideas to improve sections of trail is welcome to make a plan, then present the plan for approval to the land owner and steward.
To that end, please take a look at our Trail Building Policy page for more information on how you can help to improve the park.
Community Work Night, Tuesday, August 6th at 5pm. Bring a weed whacker, headlamp and water. It is National Night Out and we will meet at the end of Evergreen Ave. We will shuttle up to Rocky Pond to trim out the Carriage trail.
We simply can’t express how awesome our volunteer community is in words, so we submit a video and a few stills to give you a sense of the turnout and the effort that was donated to your local trail system today.
Despite a cold rainy miserable morning, we had over 50 volunteers turn up to help us spiff up the front entrance and start to apply the TLC to our trails that make Pine Hill Park such a great place to play!
Unfortunately we are still closed to bikes because of the unusually wet spring (and last fall) that has water settling on the trails in places we’ve never seen before. We had several crews out this morning working on cleaning drainages, and making some temporary measures to get us open just as soon as possible.
We’re so thankful for everyone who turned out to help the trails today. You are awesome individuals, and should feel PROUD !
We had great Annual meeting on Monday, March 25th. A group of 50+ members and general public heard first hand about our accomplishments this past year and about some of our plans for 2019.
We also revealed the initial results of the user surveys and trail counter data collected between April 2018 and March 2019. Our conservative estimates are that the visitors to the Park contribute over $1.3 million to the Rutland area economy!
A discussion session led to lots of great ideas. Hopefully we can move forward with some of the great suggestions and enthusiasm that were present in the room!
We want to thank the following business and organizations that donated items for our raffle: MTBVT, Alpine Bike Works, Basin Ski Shop, First Stop Ski Shop and Killington Bike Park.
2018 was a great year on the trails. Please join us at our annual meeting to enjoy light dinner fare, a short recap of our projects and an introduction to our plans for 2019.
The meeting will start at 6pm, Monday, March 25th, at the Godnick Center at 1 Deer St. Rutland, VT.
We will have some excellent food including vegetarian fare to be consumed before the presentation. The meeting will begin with a short, required, business meeting. There will be a quick review of the 2018 accomplishments in the park and surrounding trails. We have a few guest speakers from surrounding trail systems giving us an update on their 2019 plans. Pine Hill Partnership will have some cool raffle prizes to give raffle off. Tickets are $5 each sold at the door. Afterwards, we plan to have an extended question and answer period and hope you will contribute ideas and suggestions that can be incorporated into the future Pine Hill Park trail projects, the Pine Hill Partnership organization itself, and surrounding trail networks.
As our organization grows, we are looking for a more diversified group to serve on a couple of committees. In particular, we have a fundraising project for 2019 and would like to make a concerted effort to increase our paid membership rolls. We are hoping some folks can join us on this project.
We are also looking for additional board members. The board generally meets six to eight times a year and we are looking for people with a range of interests. Some people might have a passion for trail work while others might have a focus on growing Pine Hill Partnership membership or on strategic planning. If you are interested in being a board member, please fill in the form below and include your qualifications and reasons why you would like to become actively involved in the Partnership so that we may share it with the membership before the annual meeting.
If you shop online and use Amazon please consider using www.smile.amazon.com. Amazon will make quarterly contributions to Pine Hill Partnership if you enter us as the non-profit.
Hope to see you there and big thanks for your support this year in our continued efforts to make these area trails so special.
Andrew Shinn, Joel Blumenthal, Dave Jenne, Claus Bartenstein, Peggy Shinn and Shelley Lutz