Here in the Upper Valley, we are very privileged to have so many great trail networks around us, offering so many great options for riding. Critical to the survival of these trail networks, however, is building a positive, respectful community of trail users. We kindly ask that anybody using UVMBA trails adheres to these guidelines for proper trail etiquette.
- Respect trail closures. Always check trail status before going out to ride. This is particularly important during the winter, when many hours of volunteer work go into grooming, and one set of ruts can ruin the base for the whole season. Status of UVMBA networks is managed through Trailforks and displayed within the Trails section of our website. Trails may be closed for many reasons, including wet conditions, hazards such as down trees, and landowner disputes. Riding closed trails risks damaging the trails themselves, injuring you, the rider, and jeopardizing relationships with landowners who graciously allow you on their property.
- Respect the existing network. Unless you are the manager of the network you’re riding, trail maintenance should be limited to small things like forming kick drains or moving fallen branches. Larger changes, like removing roots and rocks, majorly alter the nature of a trail and can also make the trail more vulnerable to damage. This sort of work should only be done with approval from the manager(s) of the network, typically as part of organized trail work days. If you see a major issue on a UVMBA trail, please report it to us through the Trailforks app. Finally, under no circumstances should you build new trails without the express permission of the landowners and/or managing parties for the trail network.
- Respect other trail users. Most of our local trails are multi-use networks, so you should be familiar with the IMBA standard for right of way. As a mountain biker, you should yield to all other users, and downhill traffic should yield to uphill traffic. Beyond this, always make sure to let other users know you are coming, and be extra cautious around animals to avoid frightening them. When passing other trail users, slowing down and giving a smile, a nod, and a “thank you” go a long way toward building a positive trail user community.
- Respect network-specific regulations. Different networks will have different rules depending on the environmental needs of the area and agreements with landowners. These rules often include regulations around E-bikes, leash policies for dogs, and use restrictions or minimum tire widths for winter trails. Before visiting a trail network, familiarize yourself with any special rules the network has. A few users disregarding this sort of policy can damage the trails or landowner relationships and ruin the riding experience for many others.
- Respect nature. Be a good steward of the land you are riding on. Pack out anything you pack in and respect any wildlife you encounter. Avoid riding when trails are wet, and if you do encounter wet spots and puddles in the trails, get off your bike and walk across. Better yet, put in a kick drain to help water flow off the trail, or, at the very least, ride straight through to avoid widening the trail. Use your best judgement when deciding if a trail is good to ride, and if you believe a trail in a UVMBA network should be closed, submit a report through Trailforks.
Together, we can make our trails a great place for all types of users to get out and enjoy nature for years to come. Thank you for being a responsible trail user and an excellent steward of this shared resource.