Thank you Rosey, Chris and Bryan for spending 3 hours on a damp Sunday morning in Pine Hill Park. Complete with mosquitoes having breakfast on them.
Bryan Sell will be leading a group ride at Pine Hill Park starting Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm, last night is August 14th. Meet at Tinman in the parking lot. This is a social/no drop ride EVERYONE is welcome! The ride will happen every other week at Pine Hill Park.
Ride Length: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
Pace: No drop and casual unless the group determines otherwise.
May stop at some locations to session a trail feature.
Après Bike: Local Brewery, pub, Muddy’s Hut, etc., if possible.
What to bring: Water and bug repellant.
On days of the Droopy Pedal XC race (June 19, July 17, Aug 21) riders will participate in the XC race which has beginner, intermediate and advanced groups-registration is with Rutland Recreation.
Intervening weeks the ride will meet at the same time of day starting Tuesday, May 29th through August 21st and will be held at other locations. Sherburne Trails, GMT, SVT which will be posted on Facebook.
Our next bunch of work days will be with RHS YES plan starting June 8th. We start at 9AM and go till about 1:30. Please email us at email@example.com for more information.
Youth Works starts Monday, June 18th and Tuesday, June 19th and is every Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 to 3pm except the week of July 4th.
Our project is working on a new trail that is a continuation of Jigsaw that was completed last year.
We can always use extra hands.
New skills course going in at the front entrance. Thanks to Bryan and Hunter!
Our work day May 12th was a success in getting Exit Strategy repaired and the front entrance seeded. Exit Strategy will open May 16th in the afternoon along with Voldemort, Lichen Rock and Droopy Pedal.
Come join in on our second community work day this Saturday, May 12th from 9am to noon. We have lots of small projects to attend too. Cleaning up Exit Strategy is one.
Our first community work day saw a lot of volunteers who did a fantastic job on the front entrance. We were also able to clean out some drainage’s on the trails. The Radio Flyer wagon was a huge success with the kids moving bark mulch.
We have a skills track going in up on the knoll behind the kiosk. Hunter was there helping his dad lay the track out. This will be a great addition to the park we can’t wait to see the finished product because it sounds awesome!
Update: 5/2/18: Green Mountain Power did a great job in repairing the corner on Underdog they had to drive over to replace a power pole. A little caution advised as dirt is soft in the banked corner.
Update: 5/1/18: Caution on Underdog today May 1st. Green Mountain Power is installing a new power pole and will be in the park. Come to the community work day on May 12th to help repair the corner on Underdog they will drive over.
Update: 4/26/18: Trails are open today. Remember our community work day on Saturday 4/28 at 9AM, meet at the front entrance.
Update: 4/24/18: Please no bikes. We are waiting for the rain event to pass by then we will reevaluate the trails. This rut was left by an inconsiderate rider a week ago. The rut will collect water then the dirt will slough down the hill and the banked corner slowly erodes. This in turns means more work for volunteers.
Update: 4/22/18: Please no bikes. Trails are still soft. If we have a few more sunny days like yesterday trails will dry quickly. Please be patient. Thank you.
Update: 4/20/18: It is going to be a stunning spring weekend and we know everyone wants to ride their bikes. Our trails are still too soft to allow bikes. Please be kind and refrain from riding any type of bike. The volunteers would really appreciate it. We had snow again last night so trails are not drying out fast. Weather forecast looks promising for a few sunny days that hopefully will dry the trails out. We recognize some of you ‘think’ the trails are ok to ride or you’ll walk around the soft spots. Well you know those banked corners you love to rail well they are super fragile right now. Thanks again by not riding.
Update: 4/18/18: Trails are still closed to all bikes. The trails are still extremely fragile. Bike tires create ruts that water follows and creates erosion and means more work for the volunteers. Please be considerate and do not ride. We have some nice weather coming up and hopefully trails will dry out quickly. BE PATIENT! The message is the same through out the state with trails being too soft for bikes. Thank you.
Update: 4/16/18:Trails are still closed to all bikes. We have had freezing rain and sleet that covered the ground again. This needs to melt and we need some sun to dry everything out. We’ve had very high wind today so we expect a lot of blow downs. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the location of any trees you see down. The more specific on which trail and closer to which intersection would be greatly beneficial for us. Thanks.
Update: 4/14/18: Trails are still extremely fragile. PLEASE NO BIKES at this time. We are monitoring the trails daily. Thank you for not riding at this time. If you are looking for exercise you could help us out by cleaning out drainage’s.
Update: 4/13/18: PLEASE BE PATIENT! NO BIKES PLEASE. Our weather report for the weekend is not exactly conducive for drying our trails out.
Update: 4/6/18: PLEASE NO BIKES! The ground is not fully un-thawed. We have more snow on the ground now that earlier today. Trails are going to take a while to completely un-thaw and firm up. Please be patient to ride your bike. Go for a hike and clean drainage’s out or pick up all the small sticks that came down in the wind the other night. Volunteers do all the work in the park, please be kind to them by staying off the trails.
Update: 4/2/18:Please NO bikes. We still have some snow, frost on and in the ground. Until that is gone no bikes please. Looking at weather report that could be a couple of weeks. If you want some exercise take a hike and help clean out some drainage’s or pick up all the small sticks that came down in the wind the other night. That would really help especially with the rain in the forecast. A volunteer over the weekend did some serious cleaning on the drainage in the pic above.
Update: 4/1/18: Please NO skinny tires. Fat bikes are ok if it’s well below 28 degrees and NO SUN! Please, please, please be smart on riding your bike. Everyone in the state is in the same boat with freeze/thaw cycles. Trails are extremely fragile!
Update: 3/28/18: Trails are a mixed bag of frozen snow (if below freezing) and open areas that receive sun. We ask all bikes not to ride if temps are above 28, especially if the sun is out. Thanks. Sounds like early April we could have more winter like conditions.
Update: 3/12/18: Trails are primarily snow covered and will have another fresh coating of snow today/tomorrow. Rutland is in the 5-8″ range.
Update: 2/27/18: Trails are extremely tender with the freeze/thaw cycles are are experiencing. Please NO bikes of any kind when sun is out and temps are above 28 degrees. Hikers please walk though the mud and not around as it widens the trail. Voldemort is closed till late spring.
Update: 2/23/18: Major melt mid-week left us with mud, dirt, ice, slush, snow. Please NO bikes if temps are above 28 as the trails are starting to unthaw where the sun hits them all day. Please be kind to our trail system.
Update: 2/18: We had TONS of snow in early February. Skiing, snowshoeing was awesome. Now we’ve had a week of warm. About 4″ of snow 2/17- on top of firm but not super icy crust. We have had rain and warm last week so condense snow pack.
Point being conditions are all over the place for the next week to 10 days. Long range weather is saying early March could bring us a stormy pattern. We will see. It’s Vermont, wait a day if you don’t like the weather.
Fat biking is ok, studs highly recommended as of January 29, 2018. There is a lot of ice, hard packed snow, frozen dirt. If you’re hiking micro spikes really recommended and sprayed with silicone of PAM spray to keep the snow from sticking to them.
Here is the slide show presented at our Annual Dinner held last Monday (3/26). We’ve added a photo reel of some the the cool things happening in our park.
At the Annual Dinner we had some great guest speakers that told us what is going on in their neck of the woods. Minutes of the meeting are posted too. Enjoy.
2018 Photo Reel
Annual Dinner Presentation Slides
Update: Our May 12th work day starts at 9AM meet at the front entrance of the park. Projects will be clean up Exit Strategy and repair tire ruts plus clean up drainage’s on trails. We have tools and gloves for everyone bring water, bug dope and sunscreen.
2018 Community Work Days:
Saturday, April 28th at 9AM. Meet at the front entrance.
Saturday, May 12th at 9AM. Meet at the front entrance.
Will be working on the front gardens and cleaning drainage’s out.
YES plan starts June 6th and runs through June 19th. We are not sure exactly what days we will have volunteer groups.
Youth Works starts June 18th and 19th at 9:30AM at the front entrance. We work every Monday and Tuesday till the end of July. No group the week of July 4th.
Anyone is welcome to come join the fun.
We hope you enjoy Tom Estill’s exploration of the park in the winter time as much as we do.
Wild Times at Pine Hill Park
The official start of Winter in December of 2017 started off with bitterly cold temperatures and a forest covered in a few inches of snow. Both Rocky and Muddy Ponds were completely covered in ice and snow. Birch seeds lying in the snow were a common site, especially at the base of adult birch trees. Many deer, rodent and carnivore tracks could be found throughout the forest, and many spots could be seen where deer and squirrels had dug through the snow to reach acorns and other food hidden beneath the snow. On a Jan. 2nd hike, the only birds I saw or heard were a hairy woodpecker, crow, and white-breasted nuthatches. I was happy to see porcupine tracks near the power lines on the Carriage Trail leading up to the rocky cliffs. The same cliffs which were the site of active porcupine dens in previous years. While sitting quietly next to the beaver den on the East side of Rocky Pond, I was treated to the sounds of groans of grunts of active beavers inside the den.
One day, during the second week of January, a warm front moved through the area bringing with it showers and temperatures high enough to melt most of the snow. During the night, the rain ended relatively abruptly followed by sub-zero temperatures which froze the water on the ground forming a layer of ice on the ground and a layer of shallow snow on top of the ice. The whole forest was covered in this ice/snow layer. Still, many gray squirrel food caches could be seen dug up in the snow/ice where squirrels were retrieving some of their food stores. On Jan. 14th, the only birds seen on my walk were a small flock of black-capped chickadees. Many rabbit, fox, deer and gray squirrel tracks could be seen.
Jan. 20th was a beautiful day with clear skies and temperatures in the low 40s. Typical winter birds seen included hairy woodpecker, tufted titmouse, pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, and white-breasted nuthatch. It was also the first time this season I had seen SNOW FLEAS at the base of many trees. Always a sign to me that the worst of winter was behind us. I came across coyote and deer tracks next to each other and decided to follow them. The tracks led me to a deer carcass. The deer was only partially eaten, so I knew the coyote and other scavengers would be back to finish eating at a later time.
The first week of Feb. found 4” of snow on the ground. White-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, pileated woodpecker, and golden-crowned kinglets were the only birds seen. Both the kinglet and red squirrels were seen at Muddy Pond, which is one of the few places in the park where both those species can be occasionally found. Rodent, deer, coyote and fox tracks a common sight.
On Feb. 11th, 15”of snow was on the ground. Lots of deer and squirrel tracks, and uncovered food caches could be seen throughout park, and the only birds seen were white-breasted nuthatch, crow, and a small flock of common redpoll near the trailhead parking lot. Many signs of active pileated woodpeckers around lower trails.
The third week of Feb. found the area undergoing a warming trend with temperatures reaching 70 degrees F on Feb. 21st. Consequently, many bare ground areas could be found throughout the park. Many streams had flowing water, and Rocky and Muddy Ponds, though completely covered in ice, both had a thin layer of water covering the ice. Even saw a few small midges flying about. Saw a gray squirrel sticking its head out of an old abandoned pileated woodpecker hole, a most endearing sight.
On Feb. 24th, temperatures were back in the low 40s. More and more bare ground was appearing throughout the forest, with only north-facing slopes containing any appreciable amount of snow. Cardinal and tufted-titmouse could both be heard singing. Many gray squirrels seen running throughout the forest. And small areas of open water could be seen along the edges of both beaver dens on Rocky Pond.
The first week of March found a few inches of snow on the ground dropped by a nor’easter which came through the area. Bare spots of ground could be found where that ground was exposed to lots of sunlight. Dark-eyed junco, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, and crow were seen. Both ponds were showing open water in spots around their perimeters.
On March 4th, an otter was seen at Muddy Pond.
3 nor’easters came through the area in March. By mid-March, cold temperatures had returned, both ponds were once again completely frozen over, and there was an average of 8” of snow on the ground. On March 18th, a few days before the official start of spring, birds seen included crow, black-capped chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet, brown creeper and white-breasted nuthatch.
Bobcat were once again photographed in the park. The exact time and location is being kept secret in order to insure their privacy and protection.
That’s it for this season summary. Please stay on the trails and enjoy your wildlife viewing and experiences at Pine Hill Park.
For more of Tom’s reports, check out this page
Date for our annual dinner is Monday, March 26th at 6pm. Come join us for a light fare of soup and chili. We will hold short business meeting then move onto future plans for the park.
Do you have a skill set that you might be willing to volunteer to help Pine Hill Partnership out?? We have all kinds of small projects that do not involve shoveling dirt.
Come bring your ideas!
Hope to see you there!
Update: 3/12/18: More snow coming today/tomorrow. Rutland is in the 5-8″ range so skiing, snowshoeing will be good. Maxiglide is recommended for waxless based skis.
Fat biking, snowshoeing, XC skiing are fantastic right now in the park, Redfield trails and the Carriage Trail.
Snowshoes can be rented at the front desk at the Giorgetti building.
Enjoy Tom Estill’s fall report on park critter activity!
Wild Times at Pine Hill Park Fall Summary, 2017
The first day of Fall, 2017 found the forest very DRY and quiet. Acorns were falling, 2 beavers were seen swimming at Rocky Pond, a few gray tree frogs were calling, the only bird seen was a pileated woodpecker, and gray squirrels and Eastern chipmunk were busy collecting acorns.
A few days later, a near record high temp. was recorded on Sept. 23rd and the 24th. More birds were seen including pileated, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, numerous blue jays,
black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, red-eyed vireo, and magnolia warbler. At Muddy Pond could be found about 2 dozen Canada geese, one osprey, a small flock of wood ducks, a belted kingfisher and painted turtles basking on a log. 2 LARGE black snakes were seen at Rocky Pond and white admiral and painted lady butterflies could be seen flying about.
At the end of Sept., I was still watering the American Chestnut seedlings on a regular basis due to the lack of any substantial rainfall. The forest was quiet, with Gray squirrels and Eastern chipmunks still actively collecting acorns.
The first week of Oct. found the forest wildlife typical for this time of year, but also some unusual sightings. There were about 200 Canada geese and a half dozen wood ducks at Muddy Pond, black-capped chickadees, blue jays and white-breasted nuthatches commonly seen, and my first wooly bear caterpillar of the season. Acorns were still falling. And I was surprised to see an Eastern garter snake up near Rocky Pond. Fall foliage was a bit of a disappointment this year. We had a dry, warm summer and early fall, with only one night reaching those cold temperatures which play such an important role in the fall foliage.
Mid-October found the number of falling acorns drastically reduced. A small flock of hermit thrushes and another small flock of white-throated sparrows were seen along with a larger flock of yellow-rumped warblers. They were flying through the forest ahead of the first major cold front moving into the area from the North.
The third week of October found acorns still falling, fall foliage was at its peak, but not near as impressive as years past, about 150 Canada geese were seen at Muddy Pond, and the population of forest birds was now taking on the typical numbers and species you usually find in the forest during the winter months. Once again, I was surprised to see an 8 inch garter snake on Crusher Road.
The beginning of November finally found cold temperatures descending upon the land. Fall foliage had come to an end, trees along the 3 lower Giorgetti trails had lost almost all their
leaves, robins could be seen migrating through the forest in large numbers, Canada geese were flying overhead, and tufted titmouse were now flying in small flocks, typical of what you would find in winter.
On Nov. 11th, temperatures reached the low 20s, black-capped chickadees(some of which were very curious and would fly right up to me) were flying in flocks, and a few spots along the shoreline of Rocky Pond were covered with a thin layer of ice. The whole perimeter of Muddy Pond was also covered in a thin layer of ice. I was particularly impressed with the “acorn fall” this year. Since first visiting the forest in 2012, never have I seen so many acorns on the ground. Should be a good year for deer, squirrels and chipmunks.
The last week of November found the forest covered in a thick layer of fallen leaves. Most trees have lost their leaves and only a few birds would be seen on my walks. Both ponds were covered with a thin layer of ice, with the exception of the very center of the ponds. Many trees along the shores of Rocky Pond showed recent beaver activity. It’s hard to believe the increase in size of the East side beaver den on Rocky Pond. This time last year, it was a small pile of a few small branches. Now, it’s massive.
By the second week of December, loose associations of tufted titmouse and black-capped chickadees could be found throughout the forest, and both ponds were completely covered over in a thin layer of ice. Water level at Rocky Pond is the lowest I’ve seen it for a long time.
Beaver dams are intact, so I know it’s just been the lack of precipitation which had contributed to the low level.
Finally got an appreciable snow mid-December. About 6 inches of snow on the ground, with MANY deer tracks throughout the forest. You could also find numerous piles of leaves where deer had been looking for acorns underneath the snow. Hairy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, tufted titmouse and crows flying overhead were a common sight. Both ponds completely covered with a now thickening layer of ice, with the exception of small open water areas near the west side beaver den on Rocky Pond, and the east side beaver den on Muddy Pond. Gray squirrels seen in the forest, but no chipmunks.
That’s it for this issue, please stay on the trails, and enjoy the Wild Times At Pine Hill Park.
Find more of Tom’s reports here.