This Old Timers Page is an attempt to capture some of the
Good-Ole-Days of Mountain Biking, Cycling and Volunteerism here in Eastern Mass.
Focus is on the 1990's up to 2015
Some of these series of Old-Timer photos below are from the Starting days of the New England Mountain Bike Association. A large group of dedicated folks attended monthly meetings for years to help form the rules and regulations of mountain bike etiquette for the parks in and around Boston.
My part in this effort was attending monthly board meetings for the Greater Boston Chapter. NEMBA was founded on the idea that other park users such as Mountain Bikers to be allowed to use the Middlesex Fells Reservation. At the time, there were other park user groups that pushed back against equal access to the park. Working with the Park Management and performing trail maintainace the other park users were Not-Providing, NEMBA was allowed to create the Mountain Bike Loop that is now in existence.
In the following 10 years we helped form most of the current activities that NEMBA performs today. Trail Work was scheduled in the 4 Greater Boston's major parks, 4 times a year. Great Brook Farm, Middlesex Fells, The Blue Hills Reservation, and the Lynn Woods. These parks were the focus of over 150 trail maintenance days in a 10 year period from 1996 to 2005 organized and executed by Greater Boston NEMBA
NOTE to All Readers: Send us your Old-Timer Photos and a Good Story Line, we will get you published here on this page:
BACKSTORY: This land is very important. It is the Headwaters for Boston's Charles River. If this land went to development, it could have severely affected the 72 mile long Charles River. Instead the former land owner wanted this property preserved, and contacted NEMBA for the first offer.
This one small piece of land was in a strategic location which happened to land-lock out all the other property owners in that area. Mostly because of the abutting wetlands, and the highway system. If this one piece was sold to a developer, the entire park currently known as Vietnam would have been a Condo Development
In 2001 GB-NEMBA (and myself) held the very first Fund Raiser at the Lynn Woods to benefit the NEMBA land purchase of 50+ acres of land in Vietnam. We only raised a few thousand dollars at that event, but it was enough to kick-off the other fund raising efforts.
Along with that fundraiser, I won an award for my Volunteer efforts in 2003 for my involvement with another volunteer group. I received a $4000 check from the GE ELFUNS for a donation to any source I chosen.
So, I chose the effort to purchase Vietnam, and donated $2000. The remaining $2000 went to the Lynn Woods Rangers Fund. At the time, all of Greater Boston NEMBA focused our efforts for almost 3 years for NEMBA to raise $500,000.00 if I remember my numbers correctly. (It was 20 years ago and I have taken some bumps to my head since then).
In this Photo, is the NEMBA Purchase Placard that was installed in October 2003, Printed on the placard are all the names of the folks + groups with Donations over $1000.00. It is nice to know it is still there and in good shape. -
Below is a close up photo of the Placard (and me) 2003
This is the 2009 Salem Woods Geo-Web Project.
Historically this entrance trail to the Salem Woods was a muddy + mucky swamp trail. It was impossible to use this trail without ruining whatever foot wear you had on.
The Strong Water Brook was the main culprit for this Mud. The brook originates in the nether-lands between Salem and Peabody near Spring Pond, travels under Highland Ave and eventually into the 150 Acre Thompson's meadow at the back end of 500 acre Salem Woods. Thompson's Meadow can be easily seen from the Commuter Rail as the train travels between Salem and Swampscott.
In the spring-time Strong Water Brook would always overrun the banks of the stream and flood the entire entrance trail. (see the standing water photos) The rest of the year, this entrance trail is surrounded on both sides by a swamp. The swamp water would keep the trail surface moist enough to be a constant Mud-Hazard throughout the year.
After 50+ trail projects at the Lynn Woods, I wanted to lend a helping hand to the park that many folks in Salem use. So, in 2008 with the authorization from the Friends of Salem Woods, and the Salem Conservation Commission, I applied for a State RTP grant.
RTP stands for Recreational Trails Program. Basically it is your gasoline tax at work. 2% of all proceeds from the Massachusetts Gasoline Tax would be set aside for trail projects like this one. The RTP Fund at that time would have about $150,000 per year in the fund to be doled out to many state wide projects.
I applied for $10,000 in RTP funds for this project, and in late 2008 we received the grant. The grant is paid off with volunteer hours. At the time the rate was $10.00 per man hour. This project drew over 30 people for the April 2009 Main Trail project day, and 3 other smaller trail days to install the wooden bridges and finish work.
There are over 40 Photos from this project. The first 12 show the issues the mud created, enough so that even Dogs would not go in the Mud. The second series of 26 photos shows the actual trail work, and the last series of photos shows the finished project.
We had many more man hours than required to satisfy the requirements of the RTP grant thanks to all the folks that showed up for this project.
Geo-Web is a series of cells (like and egg carton) that are 4 inches in depth and 4 feet wide for the material we selected for this project. The idea is raising the trail 4 inches higher than the surrounding swamp and a top coat of dirt to hide the materials underneath. The holes in the sides of the Geo-Web allow water to flow freely between the cells. The cells were filled with 1/2 inch crushed stone to allow the water to flow freely inside of the cells. Standard fabric was placed over and under the webbing to retain the rocks to prevent them from sinking into the Mud. Just simply dumping dirt on the trail to raise it 4 inches would have accomplished nothing. The dirt would eventually soak into the ground and the mud would persist.
Since 2009 this trail has stayed high and dry and this was a very successful project. Currently: Runners, Dog walkers and sometimes Mountain Bikers would use this trail without coming home with mud soaked shoes.
Thank you to all that attended and help install this trail.
Salem Woods is a small network of trails. Main loop is about 2.5 miles and is a 45 minute walk. Not really a mountain bike destination, because of the small size. If you do ride it, keep in mind it is Advanced Level riding only. Not a loop for a novice. The entrance trail is about 1/4 mile long and the entire entrance trail needed this anti-mud treatment. Salem Woods can be accessed at the back of the Salem Municipal Golf Course on Wilson Rd, Salem. Friends of Salem Woods hold regular walks through out the year.
Your Gas Tax Money at work.... Ride-On...
Dan Shuman of Salem Cycles pretending to do real work on the 2009 Salem Woods Geo-Web project
Great Brook Farm in Carlisle offered us class room space and trails to practice the training. This Patroller was helping a hiker find his way out of the park.
Trail Field Fist Aid certified included many different scenarios. In this instance the Patrollers came across an unconscious person on the trail, and explained how to handle that.
Many hours of class room time included trail rescue scenarios, basics of on-trail bike repair, knowing and sharing the rules of the parks, knowledge of Maps and the trail systems to help lost folks.
We had the International Mountain Bike Association come to our classes every year to teach us the latest in Trail Rescue techniques.
(IMBA Team in Yellow/Green)
As a group, we had a lot of fun. Had all the latest gear, and the best Patroller uniforms.
Our Red-Shirts were well known at NEMBA Events for many years.
Every year we had to do Chest Compressions and Breaths. I think it was 5 breaths for every chest compression. Over time it evolved to almost all Breaths, and almost no chest compressions.
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