BETHEL – Bethel Area Trails, a committee of the Mahoosuc Land Trust, has received a $1,200 mini-grant from the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition’s ProjectNOW, a Healthy Maine Partnership, to help fund the work of a geographic information system coordinator.

The GIS work made possible by the grant will provide the committee with a thorough analysis of trail route alternatives suitable for recreational use, which the committee can present to interested landowners and funding sources for trail construction.

Bethel Area Trails was formed in 2004 by a small group of people who saw an opportunity to preserve access to unique natural and cultural assets, enable a new and sustainable economy, attract “environment-friendly” business, promote health and exercise and advocate for access to safe alternatives to automobile transportation.

The effort builds on successful but disparate trail projects, such as the much-used half- mile paved Bethel Pathway, the riverside walking path and the nearly-complete 42-mile Grafton Loop hiking trail.

The River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition’s mission is “measurable improvement in the quality of life in the River Valley towns of northern Oxford County through coordinated, on-going community health promotion.”

Its definition of health includes physical, mental and spiritual health, economic, creative and recreational opportunities and a clean environment. The coalition’s Healthy Maine Partnership, ProjectNOW, includes SAD 44, 43, 21 and Peru.

For more information about the Healthy Communities, visit the Web at Information is also available by calling the office at 364-7408.

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