To the Editor:
During the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) celebration of National Trails Day, forty-two people hiked at Cheney Mountain in Moriah, eighteen on the new Ancient Oak Trail in Willsboro, and 170 people enjoyed hearing Emily Boedecker, executive director of Vermont’s Local Motion talk about how her love of the outdoors brought her from England to Vermont via the Alps and Sierra Nevada Mountains to promote biking and hiking throughout the Champlain Valley.
Three of the lessons she’s learned along the way are to know your community, always have a positive attitude and work with businesses to encourage appreciation of the outdoors.
In our Champlain Valley communities, economic vitality is inextricably linked with trails and outdoor recreation. Hikers increasingly want to hike from town to town like they do in England where it is a major boost for the economy. When hikers get to towns they look for places to eat, drink, shop, and sleep. Meanwhile, the business owners want people to visit their establishments so more hikers leads to more businesses which attracts more hikers, and the cycle continues. Thinking positively, many of those hikers are cross-country skiers and snowshoers who will return in winter to boost the area’s four-season economy. They will help spread the word that this is a great place to visit and live.
CATS had a lot of help in making National Trails Day a success. Thank you to Chez Lin & Ray’s Restaurant, The Galley Restaurant at Westport Marina, Adirondack Council, Essex Inn, Tom Stransky (Northwestern Mutual Life), Westport Hotel & Tavern, Moriah Chamber of Commerce, Joanna Bateman Studio, William Bateman – Architect, Boquet Liquor Store, The Breathing Body, Yoga & Bodywork, DaCy Meadow Farm, Dogwood Bread Company, Elizabethtown Sunoco, Ernie’s Market & Deli, Exploring Nature (Sheri Amsel), Full and By Farm, The Halfway House Restaurant, Hall Design Group, The Heurich Company, Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, Langskib/Northwaters Camp, Mac Man (Ken Hughes), Phillips Art Conservation Studio, Pok-O-MacCready Camps, Soundwaves and Stewart’s Shops.
Special thanks Steven and Helen Kellogg for hosting the main event and to the volunteers, hikers, and supporters of trails connecting our Champlain Valley communities.