Vermont Business Magazine The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) announced support for 25 small and rural communities from around the world Country to identify strategies to expand their outdoor recreation economies and revitalize main roads through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program. Three New England communities were selected: Bangor, Maine, Claremont, New Hampshire, and Marshfield, Vermont.
“Eco-friendly development and revitalization of communities 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 David W. Cash, EPA New England Region Administrator. “The $689 billion outdoor recreation economy benefits greatly from federal partnership programs like this, and the three New England cities participating this year will create new jobs and recreational facilities for residents and visitors alike.”
A federal planning team will work with each community over the course of four to six months, centered around a two-day facilitated community workshop. Participants will work together to develop strategies and an action plan to grow their local outdoor recreation economy. Several workshops are currently running. The communities were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants following an extensive multi-agency review process.
Bangor, Maine: The Greater Bangor Convention & Visitors Bureau and its partners seek to market, promote and connect nearby outdoor recreation facilities, including the Penobscot River, with facilities in downtown Bangor; to create opportunities for local business growth; and to attract visitors and residents to the city. The local steering committee plans to develop eco-friendly green spaces, additional areas for new water access, and new hiking trails to promote sustainable land management, improve water quality, and improve the health of residents.
Claremont, New Hampshire: The City of Claremont’s Parks and Recreation and Planning and Development Departments and other partners aim to combine the City’s Main Street revitalization efforts with nearby recreational amenities, including local parks and forests, the riverfront and a growing network of trails. This project will study and encompass many recreational assets, including EPA brownfield reclamation and brownfield assessment projects currently underway downtown.
Marshfield, Vermont: The City of Marshfield and its partners want to market the city’s recreational opportunities to visitors; expand local business opportunities in the village; Rerouting parts of the Cross Vermont Trail to an old track bed; and promote outdoor leisure activities in all four seasons. The city also wants to involve local residents not typically involved in planning discussions so that everyone can benefit from outdoor recreation opportunities.
According to the 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report, more than 160 million Americans over the age of six participated in outdoor recreation in 2020, and sales across the industry broke records as Americans flocked to the great outdoors in search of safe, family-friendly opportunities flocked pandemic. These activities, which include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, RVing, boating, running, swimming, baseball, snow sports, and many others, can bring new investment and jobs to the local economy, promote health and well-being, and raise awareness of conservation forests and other natural resources and improve the quality of life of residents.
View the list of selected communities and projects
Learn more about the EPA’s community revitalization efforts
The EPA’s Brownfields program
Learn more about WPA Region 1: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-1-new-england
BOSTON (August 22, 2022) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency