The Mountain Times

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Volunteers help Pine Hill Park ready for spring and summer fun

RUTLAND - Pine Hill Park offers outdoor recreation to Rutland residents and visitors every day of the year, but the park is especially beautiful and inviting in the spring. The mountain bike shop is now open inside the Giorgetti building offering rentals, repairs and tune ups and the turf inside the building is being put away to make way for the Flip Side skate Park.

Learning to mountain bike is not only a young person's pursuit any more. The varied terrain at the park allows all ages to enjoy the beautiful scenery and outdoor exercise peddling along the paths. The Rutland Recreation Department also offers mountain bike clinics, clubs and a race series throughout the summer.

The popular Droopy Peddle race series is held the third Monday of June, July and August. The Sunset Series 5K running event, take place on the second Tuesday of June, July and August. This summer will mark the 12th annual event.

Pine Hill Park is open to mountain Bikers, runners and hikers and new trails are always in the works. "We are working on a new trail for the beginning of the trail network," said Shelley Lutz a volunteer with the Pine Hill Partnership. "The trail will mirror the existing escalator trail and reduce traffic at the trailhead. We are working on a better map to make trail junctions clearer and we a very excited to work on the Carriage Trail this summer."

The Carriage trail is a major route that will connect the area behind the Proctor High School to Rocky Pond which is the crown jewel of Pine Hill Park. It is at least six miles between the two and with some considerable climbing required. This has been a project that has been in the works for years now. When complete, the park will be able to add that terrain to the 16 miles of trails that it already boasts.

Trail work takes hundreds if not thousands of volunteer labor hours and the Recreation Department and Pine Hill Park is glad to have help, again this summer, from the YES plan. YES is an acronym for Year End Studies and it is a program at Rutland High School where students gain experience outside the classroom. Also this summer, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corp (VYCC) will be at the park working on trails. These young people will be able to camp near the trail for days at a time and get a tremendous amount of work done.

Volunteer efforts help make the park what it is.

"It's great to be a part of a community working for a common goal," said Amanda Harding, who was raking leaves during a volunteer work day last week in the recently renovated quarry with her two boys, Alec and Jonas. "We come to the park almost every week, all year long. I enjoy the women's mountain biking clinics in the summer and snowshoeing or skiing in the winter. I think this is one of the best resources Rutland has to offer."  In between raking leaves of the newly planted grass at the base of the quarry, Jonas climbed around on the dramatic walls of the natural amphitheater. "I mostly like climbing on rocks here," he said.

"And mountain biking too."

The Department of Recreation encourages folks to come help with trail work during one of their "work days" held throughout May.
The next work day is scheduled for May 19 at 9 a.m. with a barbecue scheduled for 12-noon. Several spring projects are in need of attention. Visit rutlandrec.com for information on events, volunteer opportunities and more.