We are reaching our limits of trails in Pine Hill Park. We currently have 17 miles. With Milk Run, Bone Spur and Maximum Capacity all adding about another mile and a half we will have reached our limit for density of trails inside Pine Hill Park.
This is a rough map of where Milk Run is completed in 2018, 2019. 2020 we hope to break open the rest of Milk Run with a VT Youth Conservation Corp crew in July. They are a paid crew so we are trying to raise money to cover this expense.
Bone Spur will be a pretty bony section off Milk Run.
Maximum Capacity will branch off Milk Run and head towards Intersection 20. We hope to have a mini halfpipe on this trail if all goes well.
If you are able to donate money to help defray the cost of a VYCC crew it would be greatly appreciated. We are applying for multiple grants-we have been turned by a couple and are patiently waiting to hear on other applications. https://pinehillpark.org/donate-2/
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 !
We have three scheduled community work nights coming up.
Tuesday, June 2nd
Wednesday, June 10th
Thursday, June 18th
Meet at Giorgetti parking lot 5pm. We will be working on the section of Milk Run that is broken open but needs finish work. We’re digging dirt and moving some rocks. We will practice social distancing while working in the woods.
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
UPDATE MAY 2nd: We are open for bikes if you are driving less than 10 miles.
Please keep your social distance from others, step off the trail for others to pass. Studies are now show hiking, riding spacing should be 15′ or more as droplets be suspended for quite sometime.
We have not changed the heading on TrailHUB because as soon as we do an email blast will go out to over 14,000 followers. We do not need that information to get blasted out there.
We are all volunteers that work in the park. Please leave a donation in Tinman or make a donation via our webpage or snail mail. We are trying to raise money to bring a VYCC crew in to help replace our large volunteer groups this year that won’t be working in the park due to COVID-19 restrictions. https://pinehillpark.org/volunteer/
DOGS MUST BE LEASHED at all times. Animal control officer is patrolling the park.
UPDATE APRIL 24th: Trails are in good shape to ride. Carriage Trail is wet out past the powerline heading to Proctor. The big outer loop on Redfield trails is wet too. We would prefer folks not to ride those trails.
Please remember to keep your social distance from others, step way off to the sides of the trails . Studies are now show hiking, riding spacing should be 15′ or more as droplets be suspended for quite sometime.
DOGS MUST BE LEASHED please!
We will not be posting this on social media or updating TrailHUB. TrailHUB will still show closed to the right of your screen and it will stay that way for a little while.
UPDATE APRIL 10th: Trails are in good shape. It is currently snowing and it is slowly sticking to the ground so not sure what conditions will be like first thing Saturday 4/11. Please remember to keep your social distance from others, step way off to the sides of the trails . Studies are now show hiking, riding spacing should be 15′ or more as droplets be suspended for quite sometime. DOGS MUST BE LEASHED please! Please read March 27th update on why TrailHUB is not updated. Thank you.
UPDATE APRIL 4th: Trails are in good shape. We are asking folks to respect the social distancing and encourage all users to keep 6′ apart. DOGS MUST BE LEASHED at all times. Please leave a donation in Tinman for future trail work. Thank you.
UPDATE MARCH 27th: Trails are officially open for bikes. We will not be posting this on social media or updating TrailHUB. TrailHUB will still show closed to the right of your screen and it will stay that way for a little while. If the park is super wet we’re asking folks to be smart about riding. Remember your social distancing too. There are a lot of pedestrians in the park so please be courteous. Please have your dog leashed at all times. Thank you for your patience.
UPDATE MARCH 25th: Trails are drying out nicely until we picked up 4″ of snow late Monday. As of late Wednesday there is still some snow on the ground so trails are soft. We need to have the snow melt completely then a few more days to dry everything out before we open to bikes. Please be patient.
When the trails do open it will be a quiet opening. TrailHUB will still show closed. If we change from closed to open an alert will go out to about 24,000 people. Needless to say we do not need to broadcast this to 24,000 people that park trails are open.
Exit Strategy, Lichen Rock and the steep hill on Droopy will be closed until they really dry out late spring.
We are currently hoping to hold our community work day Saturday, April 25th, 9AM at the front entrance.
At this point in time we are not sure about our volunteer groups coming this summer. We know Exit Strategy needs some TLC but as of now we’re not sure how it will be repaired at this point in time.
We are still hoping VYCC will be in this fall but we need to raise $15,000 for a two week crew. If you have not renewed your membership please do and we will take contributions of any amount which are tax deductible. We are applying for grants to help offset this cost but we could use your help.
Well, folks it’s that time of year with the freeze/thaw cycles. We’re asking folks not to ride any type of bike with the the weather cycles we are currently experiencing. The trails are not freezing at night.
Someone decided to ride one of those warm 50+ degree days and basically destroyed part of Escalator. Our volunteers do not need extra work by repairing the ruts left by this one person who thought the sign at the front entrance did not apply to them.
We know folks are jonesing to ride but please be patient and not create more work for the volunteers who already have enough to do this year.
Our volunteer Nate N has been out grooming the last few days. He’s been able to lay down a pretty sweet path in the woods and down around the ball field. Like what you see? Please consider a donation to the Snowdog fund. More snow in the forecast so the riding/skiing/walking should get better! If temps go above freezing please refrain from biking/walking/skiing on the groomed trails please.
February 2, 2020. What a day for a fat bike festival! Never have we seen so many smiles and high fives as we did today! Thank you MTBVT, Pine Hill Partnership and Rutland Rec for everything to make this event successful!
MTBVT and Pine Hill Partnership have combined efforts into bring a pretty exciting fat bike event to Pine Hill Park. Save the date Sunday, February 2nd, event runs from 9-4p.m. with guided rides starting at 10a.m. Lunch will be served around 12:30. Von Trapp is setting up a beer tasting tent (pending permits), we will have rest station(s) set up in the park. Tickets are available here: https://mtbvt.com/archives/26526. To read more about the event check out MTBVT blog: https://mtbvt.com/archives/26526