The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) announced today that they have taken title to 47 acres of open space in Milford, Massachusetts in an area known as the Upper Charles River Headwaters. This campaign marks the first time that a mountain bike advocacy organization will purchase, own, and manage its own trail system, and the project marks the largest single investment undertaken by mountain bikers to preserve open space. NEMBA successfully raised the $210,000 needed to purchase the popular riding area two months before the option that was purchased in the fall of 2002 would run out.
“We are thrilled to have raised the money ahead of schedule,” says Executive Director Philip Keyes. “When this historic project started a year ago, we had no idea of the ground swelling of support that we’d receive from mountain bikers and the cycling industry. We believe that outdoors organizations should not only help public efforts to conserve open space, but that they should also undertake private measures to protect our landscapes from development and provide more outdoor recreational opportunities. The notion that a relatively small group such as NEMBA has the ability to preserve land has captured the imagination of individuals who would not normally donate to a land conservation project.”
Now that the deed is transferred, NEMBA plans to place a conservation restriction on the land to protect it from development and will implement its trail management plan to allow all non-motorized users free access to this popular area. NEMBA hopes that the site will become a model for the an environmentally sound trail system, a laboratory for trail building techniques, and an inspiration to other non-profit groups to preserve open space for conservation and recreation and to build their own trail systems. NEMBA will install a bronze plaque on the property to acknowledge the support of major individual and industry supporters, to be unveiled next spring.
The New England Mountain Bike Association is the largest regional non-profit advocacy organization in the US, with over 4300 members and 17 chapters throughout the New England states. For more information, visit www.nemba.org.