DEAR BETA COMMUNITY,
In a recent update, we mentioned our vision to identify and implement “transformational trail projects." For BETA, “transformational” projects are those that provide access to new trails that offer high-quality experiences for all potential users; demonstrate good planning, have strong community support and are shovel-ready; utilize modern trail designs and plan for long-term stewardship; and meet the highest standards for sustainable recreational trail development in the Adirondack Park.
We are thrilled to share that work will begin this season on a new multi-use, non-motorized trail system in the Town of Keene that fits the bill, and we need your help.
Before we get into the details, we want to thank everyone who took the survey to help name the new trail system. "East Branch Community Trails" is the winner with 62% of the vote.
The East Branch Community Trails project is a community-based partnership between the Town of Keene, Essex County, Keene Youth Commission, Barkeater Trails Alliance and Peduzzi Trail Contracting. The goal is to develop a new, sustainable multi-use trail system in Keene that is professionally designed to better serve the outdoor community and to be inclusive to people of varying mobility and ages. The trails will accommodate mountain biking, hiking and other non motorized recreation, and will provide more youth-oriented biking opportunities like a pump track and bike skills area.
All partners are committed to moving the trails plan from concept to reality on a 112-acre Essex County property along Route 9N near the Keene-Jay town line. The final vision for the project includes 7 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as a pump track and skills park.
This will happen through a deliberate, phased approach that will result in usable trails this season that will anchor the system for additional build-out in the next few years.
Starting today, we are launching a special campaign, to raise an additional $25,000 to complete Phase One and lay the foundation for Phase Two. We invite trail enthusiasts, community members and visitors to make a donation.
Here are ways you can donate:
1. Donate here as an individual or family:
2. Become a BETA Community Partner and donate here as a local business or organization:
PHASE 1 (OVerview & Map BELOW)
Phase 1 of this project will bring over 2 miles of new multi-use trails to the Town of Keene. Work on Phase 1 will begin in May, 2022 (pending an APA wetlands review) and is made possible by $50,000 in funding provided by BETA's Sterling Watchorn Trail Fund and a matching donation of $25,000 from the Stewart's Shops Foundation & Dake Family. We’re seeking grassroots donations to help cover the costs of building materials for bridges, benches, signage and a kiosk at the base area.
Phase 2 will include additional multi-use singletrack trails and mountain-bike specific, downhill-oriented trails. A final build plan and budget is being developed for Phase 2, which we hope to implement in 2023. BETA is working with our partners, including the Town and County, to identify and seek state and federal grant funding to support Phase 2 of the overall project. We’re seeking grassroots donations to help provide required matching funds for these grants - your donation helps us leverage larger sources of funding for the project.
PHASE 1 OVERVIEW & MAP
Implementation of phase 1 will take place over the course of the 2022 trail season (May to October). To keep the community aspect at the forefront of the project, this shared-use trail system is designed to create new, improved and welcoming experiences for a wider variety of people. These trails will allow a diversity of users – hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners and non-motorized winter travel – to access key points of the property and serve as the backbone of the larger trail system.
The easiest trails are closest to the trailhead. There will be a 1.1 mile loop with mellow grades and wider tread widths where terrain permits with multiple locations for benches. The close proximity to parking will be ideal for quick walks or rides and be accessible to all ages and fitness levels. This trail serves as the entrance to the entire trail system and provides a great warm-up ride before the climbing trail starts up the hill.
A new singletrack-style trail will bring trail users higher up on the property, winding through open hardwood forests and passing rocky outcrops on the way to two potential vistas. For walkers, this will be a relatively easy and scenic hike to a worthy destination. For mountain bikers, this will serve as a climbing trail to access the bike specific trails planned in later phases.
A short singletrack-style loop around the high point at the top of the climb will add some variety and mileage to the trails as well as access to additional bike specific and multi-use trails in future phases.
All trails will maintain a natural character by being built sustainably and with an effort to blend with the natural landscape and to maximize the user’s experience.
We are so excited and we hope you are too. Please help us get the word out by sharing the Keene page on our website, our blog and our social media posts. None of what we do would be possible without our partners, members, friends, volunteers and our community. Every ounce of support adds up. Thank you so much.