May 28, 2004 - NEMBA Vietnam FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) from the NEMBA Land Management Committee

For more detailed information on what's going on with Vietnam, click here.

For a map and directions, click here.

As most of you in the mountain bike community know, in the fall of 2003, NEMBA accomplished the incredible feat of being the first mountain bike group in history to purchase and own property by buying 47 acres in the area commonly referred to as “Vietnam.” This parcel of land has been designated for use by all traditional non-motorized vehicles.

After the land purchase, NEMBA established a Land Management Committee to focus on the area. The committee is tackling all concerns regarding this property and welcomes your suggestions.

Presently, the committee is focused on establishing short and long term goals for managing the property. See Vietnam Update for more details. The number one short term goal has been to work political issues with the Holliston and Milford Conservation Committees and establish ourselves as “good neighbors.” Among our other goals are to improve trails while respecting natural surroundings and maintaining challenging terrain. This is all designed to provide full enjoyment of our area.  Please respect this area and our neighbors in order for future riders to enjoy it for years to come. 

Listed below are answers to commonly asked questions posed to the Land Management Committee members:

Where should I park, and where are the legal access points?
NEMBA and the Land Management Committee recommend parking at Plains Park on Route 85 about ¾ mile south of Route 495 and accessing the area through the old rail bed entrance located on Route 85 approximately ½ mile north of Route 495. See map and directions.

Trespassing poses a huge long term threat, so be respectful of private property!  NEMBA is currently working with the Town of Milford on potential easements that would provide more convenient access. Along with future plans of a new “rail trail” that would lend close, ample parking, these easements are a great opportunity!

Is there a map?
A large portion of the trails enjoyed by mountain bikers in the area are not on the NEMBA property, though the NEMBA property does have some of the best trails. We are working on developing a map in conjunction with other land owners. Due to the complexity of usage issues, NEMBA cannot, at this time, put out a map outlining trails advancing through private property. Also, without signage at trail intersections, maps would not be very useful, so we are hoping to eventually come up with a map and signage strategy similar to Wompatuck.

Are you going to sanitize the existing trails to make them easier?
No, just the opposite. NEMBA wants you, the rider, to have options, not sanitization. We will attempt to restore some of the existing trails to their original singletrack condition and also add challenging options. The new riding area will be modified for all types of riders while maintaining the area’s already challenging nature. We fully intend to preserve the character of ‘Nam. No one wants to see a sterile area!

Are we going to get to build new trails?
Yes, there are new and challenging trails being planned, however it will take some time to evaluate the current trail system and understand any environmental or wetland issues. Along with new trails, existing trails will be enhanced and in some cases re-routed to create more rider options and challenges. We’re also working with the town of Milford to build some trails on their property that would connect to the NEMBA property.

However, unplanned or “renegade” trails will not be tolerated. Any unapproved trails will be restored to natural state. The Land Management Committee is open to all suggestions regarding this matter. Your input matters! You ride here. Let us hear from you.

Can we build man-made structures (e.g., bridges, stunts, etc.)?
Presently, no technical trail feature construction is allowed, however NEMBA is looking into liability issues, codes of construction standards, and what’s going on at places like Whistler in Canada to determine whether we want to create constructed trail features on our property. Unapproved construction will be taken down. Building unapproved features or trails will only hurt our chances at gaining recognition as good neighbors and could threaten further relations with conservation committees. Historical stunt areas like the Spider, Golden Gate, and Brooklyn bridge are not on the NEMBA property. 

What about motorized vehicles?
Access by motor vehicle is not allowed on NEMBA land and is also prohibited on all other land in the “Vietnam” area. There is presently a major crackdown on motorized vehicles occurring in the town of Milford. NEMBA recently purchased a number of “No motorized vehicles” signs, and you should see them installed very soon.

How much land does NEMBA own?
The NEMBA parcel is 47 acres in Milford only.  The parcel is surrounded by approximately 1000 acres extending to Holliston, Hopkinton, and private lands. 

Since the NEMBA parcel is landlocked, what happens if surrounding landowners don’t allow bike access?
We’re working closely with other land owners to establish ourselves as “good neighbors.” It’s extremely important that we be perceived in a positive light in order to continue to have access to the surrounding land.

Is there an overall management plan?
A management plan is currently being written which will cover a wide range of topics including: ecosystems, land access, future plans, etc. We hope that this management plan can also be presented to conservation committees as a blueprint for the entire area.

Why have a number of trees been cut down?
The trees that have been cut down are not on NEMBA property. The owner of that parcel is clearing the trees and then mining the stone and aggregate from the site.  There are no other future plans that we currently know about.

How was the Land Management Committee selected?
The committee was selected by the NEMBA BOD from interested NEMBA members who frequently ride Vietnam and live within a reasonably close distance. Collectively, the group represents a variety of riding styles and brings a range of experience such as trail maintenance expertise and environmental knowledge. John G. and John V. live in Holliston (one of our neighboring land owners).

How can I help?
Explain to other riders that this is our area and it is up to us to promote it in the best light possible. Basically, be a good neighbor.

Attend trail days. This is a great way to showcase your ideas besides helping maintain the trails. Trail maintenance days will be posted on the Blackstone Valley NEMBA website (www.bvnemba.org) as well as the Blackstone Valley NEMBA and Southeast Mass NEMBA email lists. You can join the email lists through the main NEMBA website (www.nemba.org). There is currently a trail maintenance day planned for October 24, 2004.

Do not litter the parking areas! If you see trash on the trails, please pack it out.

Join NEMBA! This land requires a constant influx of funds.

Contact John Vosburg with all suggestions and/or if you would like to attend a meeting of the Vietnam Land Management Committee.