Road Cycling

back Cyclists’ Access Revoked to Parts of The Kingdom Trails – Pinkbike.com

Access to parts of The Kingdom Trails in Vermont has been put in jeopardy as three major landowners have revoked access to the bike trails.

The network of trails, which is one of the biggest in the Northeast of the USA, has been established for 25 years but in December three of the landowners that control some of the private lands that the trails are built upon decided they would no longer allow cyclists to have access to the land.

The whole area that the trails are built upon is currently owned by 97 different private owners but the three that have made this decision own land which holds a number of the more popular trails which are found off of Darling Hill Rd.

A map of the trails which will be closed off to cyclists following the recent decision from the landowners which was posted to the trails Facebook page.

We fully respect their decision, as it is their private property and they have the sole right to determine the use of their land. We are beyond grateful to each of them for allowing Kingdom Trails access over the past 25 years and continuing to allow Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, jogging, and horseback riding.— Kingdom Trails

Sadly at the moment, it looks like the ban only applies to cyclists with the reasoning seeming to revolve around the increased traffic in the area and the concerns the landowners have over the safety of other users of the land.
The North Star Monthly found that the Kingdom Trails had seen a nearly 50% increase in mountain bikers from 2016 to 2018. In 2018 they saw 137,000 trail users.

Kingdom Trails understands the concerns for the pressure and stress the continued strong growth in trail use and area visits has put on landowner’s properties as well as the roads and small villages where trail access exists. While the success of the trails has brought meaningful economic benefit to the area, challenges and tension points exist around traffic, congestion and pedestrian safety of residents and visitors alike.— Kingdom Trails

This will no doubt be a huge blow to cycling in the area but there are still plenty of trails to ride in the network and Kingdom Trails are being proactive in their response to the news. As in July 2019, they received a USDA grant for a Network Feasibility and Infrastructure Study which will look at building a welcome centre for visitors, increase parking options and how they can tackle the large numbers of riders on the trails.

This study will be completed by the end of season 2020. In the meantime, we continue to strive toward mitigating congestion and creating a safe community. Kingdom Trails is working collaboratively with the Town of Burke to reconstruct East Darling Hill Rd. The project consists of new subbase, drainage and asphalt, plus a 5-foot bike lane for uphill cyclists. Additionally, KTA purchased two parcels of land adjacent to the road. This acquisition will secure a critical trail connection for KTA, ensuring that trail users will be able to have an off-road option instead of using East Darling Hill Rd for both uphill and downhill bicycle travel, avoiding a dangerous conflict between cycle and car, increasing the safety of our community and visitors, drivers and riders.

We have also worked hard to spread and disperse trail traffic through new trail development. These new trails are directed well off Darling Ridge headed to East Haven. The Flower Brook connector trail was built this summer to discourage trail users from biking along VT 114 from downtown East Burke to East Haven. KTA also works side by side with the OneBurke committee, exploring options to extend trails to the Burke Town School and possibly West Burke. A similar goal is our work with the Lyndonville Select Board, building a trail to connect to the potential new Lyndon Green Space where the old town garages currently are. These efforts would not only relieve congestion on Darling Ridge and East Burke, but broaden further economic opportunities to our neighboring towns.— Kingdom Trails

Stay up to date on the developments at Kingdom Trails here.