February 29, 2004 - Blackstone Valley NEMBA Chapter Meeting

Here are the minutes of the chapter meeting:

Present at the meeting: Jeff Gallo, Dave Freed, Mitch Steinberg, Mark Lamkin, Rich Kordell, Mark Donahue, Anne Shepard.

Agenda:

Treasurer’s Report
Trail Care Events
Rides & Events
Weekly Ride Series
Harpoon MBAS Ride
Women’s Skills Clinic
Hop-Up Ride

Key Initiatives: Increase Membership, Increase Participation

Treasurer’s Report
We have approximately $6,400 in the bank.
We had about $2000 in major donation expenses last year, Vietnam, and several memorial donations.
We should look for ways to make constructive use of the funds.
Discussion re possibly shifting to an interest bearing account. We currently have a no fee account, but if we switch to an interest bearing acct and subsequently drop below the required minimum balance, the fees may likely outweigh the minimal interest earned.
Decided to leave account as-is.

Grants are available for specific projects, usually in the spring and the fall. Philip has detailed information and can help us prepare a grant application. Other chapters have used grant money to buy and equip tool trailers for example.

Weekly Ride Series

Keep the same rotation sequence as last year: HUFF.

Start after daylight savings, in early April. Probably will start at Upton, depending on trail conditions. Barbeque after rides once a month at selected locations. Jeff offered to cook, as the one cooking has to stop riding early. Will probably start the barbecues in May as the weather in April is too iffy and it gets dark earlier.

Make sure to promote the ride series as much as possible in different methods.

Jeff will notify Bill Boles to put the whole schedule in his weekly email list. (Should also suggest he include it in the SingleTracks list) Also promote via our Website, Blackstone Email list and NEMBA web forums.

It is important to make sure there is a beginner level group available for each ride. Mark D. Jeff & Anne will lead beginner groups. Mitch suggested we make sure to specifically state that No riders will be dropped in our ride descriptions, as it is helpful to clarify that, especially for new members. Bill Boles also leads a Mellow ride on Monday evenings which are really good for beginners. He did one with us in Callahan last year. We should encourage him to do more in our area. Mark D also suggested that we also offer Hammer rides specifically for faster riders. We have to be careful how we describe that, as different people have varying interpretations of a “hammer” ride, and different perceptions of their own abilities.

Possible Floater rides:

Discussion re selecting routes that are suitable for all levels and ensuring ride leaders know the area well enough to determine an enjoyable and appropriate loop. Suggestions:  West Hill Dam/Blackstone Canal (Mitch), Bolton Flats (Peter) were very good, Wrentham was not good

Communicating with members

Discussed phone trees and increasing member contact. We determined that using a phone tree for active members was too much work given the size of our membership, but we should actively use all methods of online contact (web, email, forum) to keep members informed of events and informal rides. However telephoning new members to welcome them as we did in the past is a worthwhile effort, and we should also contact expired members to encourage them to renew, (or find out if there is a reason they don’t want to). Philip can provide current lists of membership, new members and expired members.

Mark D. Also suggested that we encourage carpooling to distant events, and meeting up at events as a good means to build member camaraderie.

Trail Care

Focus on a few large projects which will motivate better volunteer participation and give them a greater feeling of accomplishment.

Callahan: Mark and Anne have been planning a cooperative project with SVT and AMC on SVT land in Callahan. The project goal is to divert water off the Pipline Trail. SVT wants to install lots of waterbars. We should assess the site and determine if rolling grade dips can be used instead. Mitch suggested that in cooperative projects like this, it is important that we present ourselves as having expertise rather than just labor and make sure to plan the project thoroughly so as to demonstrate and fully utilize that expertise. Anne will contact Philip for additional planning resources.

The Vietnam Land Management Committee, which Mitch chairs, is planning 2 Trail work days in Vietnam on May 16 and October 21. This will involve trail reclamation and other tasks. Philip and the BOD expect our chapter to be solidly committed and involved in the care and management of Vietnam, so it is very important that we participate. The VLMC is doing much of the planning for these events, and they expect to have strong turnout from other chapters as well, so the burden will certainly be shared.

Hodges: There are a number of possible projects in Hodges including the bridge that was lost last year. Rich suggested a higher priority project is re-routing a steep eroded climb. Ideally this should be done before our Harpoon ride, if not then certainly before the Bicycle Alley race in August. We also discussed alternative techniques to deal with replacing the bridge so that it will withstand changing water levels without being washed out again. Jeff also suggested improving the drainage just beyond the bridge as well.

Westboro Charm Bracelet: Dave reports that the WCLT has many ongoing projects planned which we should publicize and encourage members to attend.

Upton: Jeff has suggested building a bridge over a boggy section near Southborough road.

Possibly a fall project? Jeff will contact the land manager, John Pelzarsky.

Mark D. has a lot of lumber that could be used for a bridge.

Dave Freed has a friend, Jack Maxwell, who lives near the Hale Reservation and they are planning trail work there. Encourage Jack to become the trail rep for Hale Noanet. Discuss with Greater Boston or SEMASS about them taking over “jurisdiction” of Noanet. They will probably be more eager to take it on if Jack is already lined up as rep.

Women’s Skills Clinics

Last year's clinic was very successful. This year, Lydia, w/ Sarah Bresnick and Andy Fitzgerald. Anne will also participate. Dates March 28th, rain date April 4th. Must be early to avoid conflicts with race schedules. At Hodges. Will have truly beginner level elements, and Sarah will also provide more advanced instruction.

Tool inventory

Let’s confirm what we each have via email. Anne has a lot of tools, Mich & Dave have a few. Jeff & Dave have radios, Mitch has GPS and tent.

Big Ring Summit June 12 & 13: Rich, Mark D, Mitch and Anne will attend. Chapter will pay for the fees.

Harpoon Ride June 27th: Discussion of Douglas vs Hodges, determined that Hodges will do well. Mark D will help improve the route at Buffumville. Rich expects to have ample volunteer support from Team Bums and Team Bicycle Alley.

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