Vermont Business Magazine The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) announced assistance for 25 small and rural communities from across the country to identify strategies to grow their outdoor recreation economies and revitalize Main Streets through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program. Three communities in New England were among those selected: Bangor, Maine, Claremont, New Hampshire, and Marshfield, Vermont.
“Environmentally friendly community development and revitalization through the conservation and sustainable use of our public and private forests and other natural resources, creates vibrant, healthy communities for today and tomorrow,” said EPA New England Region Administrator David W. Cash. “The $689 billion outdoor recreation economy benefits greatly from federal partnership programs like this, and the three New England towns participating this year will add new jobs and recreational amenities for residents and visitors alike.”
A federal planning team will work with each community over the course of four to six months, with a two-day facilitated community workshop as the focal point. Participants will work together to develop strategies and an action plan to grow their local outdoor recreation economies. Some workshops are currently underway. Communities were chosen following a comprehensive interagency review process from a pool of more than 100 applicants.
Bangor, Maine: The Greater Bangor Convention & Visitors Bureau and partners would like to market, promote, and connect nearby outdoor recreation assets, including the Penobscot River, to Bangor’s downtown assets; to create opportunities for local business growth; and to attract visitors and residents to the city. The local steering committee plans to develop environmentally friendly green space, additional areas for new water access, and new walking trails to foster sustainable land management, boost water quality, and improve residents’ health.
Claremont, New Hampshire: The City of Claremont’s Parks and Recreation and Planning and Development departments and other partners would like to connect the city’s main street revitalization efforts with recreation assets nearby, including local parks and forests, the riverfront, and a growing trail network. This project will explore and include many recreation assets, including EPA brownfield remediation and brownfields assessment projects currently underway downtown.
Marshfield, Vermont: The Town of Marshfield and partners would like to market the town’s recreational opportunities to visitors; expand local business opportunities in the village; reroute portions of the Cross Vermont Trail onto an old railroad bed; and foster outdoor recreation activities in all four seasons. The town would also like to engage residents that are not normally involved in planning discussions so that all may benefit from outdoor recreation opportunities.
Over 160 million Americans over the age of six participated in outdoor recreation in 2020, according to the 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report, and sales figures across the industry broke records as Americans flocked to the outdoors in search of safe, family-friendly opportunities during the pandemic. These activities, which include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, RVing, boating, running, swimming, baseball, winter sports, and many others, can bring new investment and jobs to local economies, benefit health and wellness, raise awareness in conservation of forests and other natural resources, and improve the quality of life for residents.
Learn more about EPA Region 1: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-1-new-england
BOSTON (Aug. 22, 2022) — The US Environmental Protection Agency