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Vermont gets over $100,000 for Northern Forest Destination Development Initiative

announced May 23, 2021

From Vermont Business Magazine... Grants from the Northern Forest Destination Development Initiative(link is external) will help 11 communities and organizations serve residents and visitors with improved outdoor recreation opportunities. Vermont will receive over $100,000 for six organizations.


“This year’s funded projects include all kinds of trail development, from accessible community trails to mountain biking and an arts trail, as well beginner-level ski jump hills, mountain biking skills parks, visitor information and a safe crossings program,” said Joe Short, vice president of the Northern Forest Center. “The grant program invests in projects that support economic development and outdoor recreation opportunities for residents in our region’s rural communities.”


The program is an initiative of the Northern Forest Center(link is external) in Maine and New Hampshire, offered in partnership with Northeastern Vermont Development Association(link is external) and NEK (Northeast Kingdom) Collaborative(link is external) in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The initiative is supported by the Northern Border Regional Commission(link is external) (NBRC).


“For the second year in a row, this unique partnership has identified crucial projects in our region that support what those of us who live here have known for a long time, that this is theplace to recreate outdoors and to build a business that enables outstanding experiences for both returning visitors and new friends,” said Rich Grogan, executive director of the Northern Border Regional Commission.


The $317,526 granted this year leverages matching funds and in-kind project support for a total $515,491 investment in community-based outdoor recreation amenities. Coupled with 10 grants awarded in 2020, the initiative’s support for outdoor recreation infrastructure in the region totals $619,317 in grant funds toward a total $1.1 million investment in recreation projects.


"NVDA is pleased to once again partner with the Northern Forest Center to advance the Northeast Kingdom's outdoor recreational economy through funding local community-supported projects," said David Snedeker, executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association.


...Grant recipients include:


Kingdom Trail Association, East Burke, Vermont; $32,076 to create the Safe Road and Trail Crossings project to improve safety at road and trail crossing.

"Kingdom Trails is beyond thrilled to be a recipient of a Northern Forest Outdoor Recreation Grant!” said Abby Long, executive director of Kingdom Trail Association. “Our Safe Road and Trail Crossings project was identified as a priority in KT's recent community-led Capacity Study. This project will improve safety for drivers and trail users, residents and visitors where roads and trails intersect. The funds will be dedicated to the project’s infrastructure and paired with expanding Kingdom Trail's Ambassador Program to hold trail users accountable, monitor safe road and trail crossings, and promote engagement and education with the goals of creating a safer experience for those walking, biking, and driving. We aim to strengthen the economic impact across the region and relieve pressure and stress on private landowners and our host communities."

Lyndon Outing Club, Lyndonville, Vermont; $26,000 to construct a pump track, mountain bike skills progression park— including berms, jumps, rollers, and wooden trail features — followed by construction of an on-hill trail system on town land.

"We hope the Lyndon Outing Club Bike Park project will begin the development of a new hub for mountain biking closer to downtown Lyndonville,” said Caleb Gale of the Lyndon Outing Club. “Bringing more trail users closer to the downtown area will provide the opportunity for economic growth in the areas of retail, lodging, and restaurants among others. The park will initially offer a skills progression area and trails tailored to new and beginning riders. Eventually we hope to develop more trails and plan to explore a connection to the rest of the Kingdom Trails network. The park will be open to the public and free to use for locals and visitors alike. This grant from the Northern Forest Center will fund the majority of the first phase of the bike park project, with the remainder made up of grants from Kingdom Trails and Blue Cross Blue Shield, along with Lyndon Outing Club fundraising."



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