The Middlesex Fells are used by all types of folks. Walkers, hikers, bikers, dog walkers... It's a great resource for all kinds of activities. Mountain bikers have gotten the shorter end of the stick here- fire roads are alright, but single track would be more fun. There are plenty of trails for sharing, but groups like the Friends of the Fells have kept the good stuff for themselves. They falsely believe that biking on trails has a different (worse) impact on the environment. So for a bazillion years things have been unequal and unfair. Now the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has a new draft trail plan that brings things closer to fair. Closer to fair and equal rights, responsiblities, and expectations for all user groups.
The plan calls for better signage, more shared use trails, and a different winter closure plan among other changes. If you'd like to read the full draft plan you can get the PDF here.
The draft plan is a draft, that can and will be changed based on public comments. It's important that the DCR receives comments in support of the plan.
Want to show your support for the pro-mountain bike/pro-equal access parts of the current plan for the Fells? The fine folks at the Greater Boston chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (GB NEMBA) have made it sooo easy for you (the public comment period ends on Nov 19th, so get on it!):
I could go on about how important it is to make sure all users have equal access and participate equally in responsible trail maintenance... If you want to learn more about the good work being done by GB NEMBA in the Fells, and elsewhere check the website. It's a great resource. And, finally, here is a picture of a turtle I met in the Fells last fall: