Join us for this webinar for a variety of story inspirations from outdoor gateway communities. Stephanie Bertaina, Senior Policy Analyst at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will speak with us about the various story potentials for their Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program.
RERC is a federal partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission. RERC provides planning assistance to rural communities and small towns that are seeking to leverage the power of outdoor recreation to revitalize their main streets, diversify their economies, and connect residents and visitors to the sustainable use of natural resources. Through the first round of this program in 2020, ten small towns across the country brought together community leaders, outdoor recreation businesses, residents, and other partners to plan for the future of outdoor recreation in their community’s story. With the help of the RERC program, these communities have been building new trail systems and connecting them to downtown, engaging diverse groups of community residents who have not been traditionally engaged in community planning, and tackling how to conserve the resources that make their community special.
were partners in the inaugural round of Recreation Economy for Rural Communities planning assistance:
- Cambridge, New York, will make the new Cambridge Community Forest safely accessible to residents and visitors, connecting it with other green spaces, recreational and cultural amenities and businesses, and promoting smart downtown development.
- Fryeburg, Maine, with partners Southern Maine Planning and Economic Development Commission and Fryeburg Academy, will look to connect nearby outdoor recreation assets to growing opportunities for their Main Street business community.
- Giles County, Virginia, will work with the USDA Forest Service to manage and use Cascades Falls and other natural assets to attract residents and visitors to downtown Pembroke and other communities.
- Glenwood Springs, Colorado, will promote a whole-community discussion about Hanging Lake, a popular nearby National Natural Landmark, including how to better integrate shuttle service into the historic downtown, and housing affordability needs.
- Gorham, New Hampshire, will plan new, environmentally friendly use along the Androscoggin River and the construction of a bridge to help people walk and bike to and from downtown.
- Grants, New Mexico, will work to increase the number of residents and visitors enjoying its forests and natural lands, build new trail connections, boost downtown amenities, and increase recreation-related economic opportunities.
- Jasper, Alabama, will connect Main Street to nearby lakes and waterways, make it easier for people to walk and bike to and from downtown, and become a trail town for the Bankhead National Forest.
- John Day, Oregon, will diversify its economy by growing outdoor recreation, including by cleaning up and reusing a riverfront former industrial site and developing hotels and new outdoor recreation enterprises in town.
- Poultney, Vermont, will spotlight its recreation assets, encourage more residents and visitors to participate in recreation, connect nearby hiking-biking trails to downtown, and work to attract new recreation-economy investors.
- Thompson Falls, Montana, will develop marketing strategies, partnerships, and wayfinding signage to attract visitors and promote local amenities and public lands for both visitors and residents.