This was a club "evaluation" ride of the Batey-Bould trail system to see what is needed from us trail users for the short term stability and the long term viability of the trail system.
Newport-Sullivan Lake District Ranger Gayne Sears has liability and sustainability concerns with the Batey-Bould trail system and is considering a partial or full closure of the system (more details here).
There was steady rain the night before and into the early morning. However, the forecast for clearing skies by late morning was accurate and the rain had stopped in time for our 11:00 am ride time.
17 riders showed up at the trailhead ready to "evaluate" Batey-Bould. The problem was that 15 of us had never been there before and the other 2 didn't know the system that well (we had to wing it). Fortunately, the trail system is simple enough that it would be hard to get lost.
Trail #306 is the spine of Batey-Bould with trails #307, #308, #309, #310, and #311 doing interconnecting loops with trail #306. The down side to trail #306 being the spine of Batey-Bould is that it's the only way in and the only way out.
The majority of the trails at Batey-Bould twist through dark timber where there are numerous slippery roots, rocks, bridges, and switchbacks. Trail #306 is marked as easiest but is not for beginner riders. It would probably be rated as a 4 in a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most difficult. The difficulty factor goes up from there on the interconnecting loops with most of them being for advanced riders only.
Rotting bridges and erosion control are the two main concerns regarding liability and sustainability. For safety reasons, in the short term, two bridges in particular need repaired and/or replaced. In the long term, tread work will need to be done to repair/replace erosion control blocks.
Batey-Bould is a gem of a trail system where trail maintenance has been neglected over the years. With a little planning and work, repairs can be made to keep all of the trail system open. Add a few enhancements, Batey-Bould can become a "destination" trail system. Help us make it happen!