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Revitalizing Rural Economics and Strengthening Main Streets Through Trails
April 14, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
This webinar will discuss the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program, and hear from one of ten community partners who received RERC assistance in its pilot round in 2021.
- Stephanie Bertaina, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Community Revitalization
- Sarah Pelkey, Economic Development Coordinator, Town of Poultney
- Caitrin Maloney, Co-Owner, Sustainable Trailworks, LLC
In this webinar, Steph Bertaina will share about the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program which completed its pilot round in 2021. The RERC program is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission, and provides planning assistance to rural communities and small towns to help them leverage the growing interest in outdoor recreation to revitalize main streets and diversify the economy.
Participants will also hear from Sarah Pelkey and Caitrin Maloney in Poultney, Vermont, which was one of 10 community partners to receive RERC assistance in 2020-2021. Poultney experienced a tremendous economic shock when Green Mountain College shuttered its campus on Main Street in 2019. And yet, through dedicated community efforts, the town began exploring the role that outdoor recreation could play in diversifying Poultney’s economic base, boosting access to healthy activities for residents, and drawing in visitors to the area. The community has been hard at work connecting its downtown to recreational centers, expanding on its large and growing trail system, engaging youth in trail stewardship, and making plans for installing wayfinding signs and art installations along existing trails. Be ready to be inspired by Poultney’s story of taking a challenge and turning it into an opportunity to connect outdoor recreation, trail building, economic diversification, and main street revitalization!
- Learn about federal planning assistance that is supporting local communities as they leverage outdoor recreation for main street revitalization and economic diversification.
- Be inspired by the story of Poultney, Vermont, a community that is embracing outdoor recreation as an important part of its story.
- Learn how Poultney leveraged planning assistance through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program and is implementing strategies to boost outdoor recreation and main street revitalization efforts in their community.
- Be challenged to think broadly about the impacts that outdoor recreation and trails can have for a community, including becoming more welcoming and inclusive places, improving the built environment and infrastructure, improving wellness and health of residents, and boosting economic development opportunities.