Pine Hill Park has become a summer destination for mountain bikers, and organizers are hoping to make it a winter one as well.
The Pine Hill Partnership has launched a fundraising campaign to buy a grooming machine to make some of the trails more accessible during snowy periods.
"They're pretty small," partnership Executive Director Bryan Sell said Tuesday. "They're stand-behind. ... We're looking at, just for the machine itself, $3,700. Then we're looking to raise close to another thousand to cover fuel costs and maintenance. That'll get us through, probably, a couple years."
Sell said several members and users had asked about grooming so fat bikes can make use of the park in the snow. Fat bikes underwent a surge in popularity a few years ago.
"Here the interest has definitely leveled off and I think it's due to the fact that there aren't as many places to fat bike easily," Sell said. "In the Midwest, it's huge. ... The goal here is to have the park accessible year-round."
Sell said certain portions of the park's 16 miles of single-track trails are better candidates for grooming than others.
"We have a couple logistical issues," he said. "Some of the trails have been made purposefully narrow with pinch-points to keep ATVs out. I lave a loose route mapped out. We're going to start with three miles for the fat bikes and three miles for walkers. ... A larger part of the park is open for snowshoeing."
Sell also said segregation of pedestrian and bicycle trails will be important to keep visitors clad in street shoes from knocking holes in the cover of the groomed bicycle trails.
Materials from the partnership say 11,000 mountain bikers entered the park between April and September, and that out-of-state visitors to the park spend an average of $250 each in the local area.
The partnership has set up a Gofundme page to raise money, and will also take donations directly via paypal or checks. The latter can be mailed to 3424 Quarterline Road, Center Rutland, VT, 05736.