The Central CT Chapter had some exciting news coming into 2020 with the opportunity to build the first bike-specific trail system in the town of Rocky Hill at Dividend Pond Park. They introduced this venture to us in SingleTracks issue 163 and this December we had a chance to catch up with Luis Moreira to learn more about how this project has fared since its inception. We also learned a bit more about its future.
Though a compact 68 acres, the Dividend Pond Park includes a rich history of grist, saw, and corn mills in addition to the multi-use trails. The parcel includes 10 water powered archaeological sites going back as far as 1667 and forward to the 1900’s. The town has captured some interesting historical notes on each of these sites in the park brochure, such as the $10,000 horseshoe. This new bike specific trail was intentionally designed and built to provide a place for families and people new to the sport to ride, but the flowy nature of the trails and the advantageous contours of the land can provide a fun experience for all. In fact, Luis challenges you more advanced riders to tackle the Strava loop without braking and see how it goes.
Looking back to the beginning of this project Luis credits Glenn Vernes, Central CT Chapter President, with the insight to develop the Dividend Ponds area and add to the nearby River Highlands mileage. Glenn kicked off the project by introducing Luis to the powers that be who manage the area, and with conversations, approvals, and agreements to maintain the trails they were off and running. Or more specifically walking and flagging, and re-walking and re-flagging, and scouring google maps and contour lines to determine the best route for the eventual two miles of flow trails for part one of this endeavor. Many hours were spent strategically planning how to incorporate the elevation changes while staying within the boundaries of the approved plot of land. 2020 has been a challenging year for many, but it also provided Luis and Glenn time for building trails, refining flow, and adding little features of fun sprinkled throughout. Luis estimated that over 500 volunteer hours were spent on just this trail since the beginning, but I imagine that’s a very conservative estimate once you hear about the many 8-hour days he spent perfecting corners and clearing debris. Sometimes that debris takes the form of removing unsanctioned and dangerous features added by well-intentioned but uninformed trail users. *PSA – always check in with the trail managers before adding features to a trail*
Luis notes that while before Dividend Pond got little to no riders, now he often sees many people out there enjoying the trails with their families. He’s even spotted an enduro champion out there exploring the trails as Luis takes his regular rides making sure everything in the area is running smoothly.
Kudos to Glenn and Luis, and all the other NEMBA volunteers, for creating and maintaining this wonderful opportunity for local biking.
What are Luis and Glenn doing with all their time now that this project is cruising along? Well of course they are continuing to build and incorporate additional enhancements for this area (and others). Phase 2 of the “Div Pond” project includes a new scenic loop that follows along the river and that maybe, just maybe, will include a jump line or an advanced section.
Time will tell.
In the meantime, get out on these trails and make sure you let them know what you think!