Today we met with the NVCOG, BSC Group, and the US Army Corp of Engineers for a field study of the Thomaston Dam trail system. The goal was to show how the old Rte. 8 road and railbed are used throughout the property. We emphasized that the paved Rte. 8 is used for traveling back and forth to the parking area, as well as, a corridor for bail out points along the trail. We explained that all levels of riders use the Dam. Young and novice riders may not be skilled enough to tackle the technical trails on the upper side and use these exit points to skip those sections. We showed them several dozen such exit/entrance points and only reviewed the trails up to Castle Bridge (end of the pavement).
To that end, we argued that it does not seem feasible to share the old Rte. 8 and railbed. It would cut the trail system in to pieces, making it less fun with unsafe pedestrian/motorized vehicle interactions. The NVCOG states that this project is still in the planning phase and they will work with all stake-holders to make sure every user has access to the Dam. They emphasized that they are not trying to kick us out.
Our main concern is the NVCOG are still pursuing the “share the trails” idea. The east side of the river is too expensive and has more “red tape”. For them, it’s just easier to come through the heart of our trail system. We are not on the same page. This remains a concern and potentially indicates that NVCOG does not intend to consider the overwhelming voice of the riders who attended the public comment sessions. We hope that this impression is not correct, but just in case we are right and they intend to push forward with proposed sharing of the area, we may need to be ready for a legal fight and to pony up the dollars that such a fight would require.
The Army Corp of Engineers reiterated that they prefer the greenway use the east side of the river. The Army Corp is committed to the current operation of the Thomaston Dam Project.