CONCORD, New Hampshire —  The Northern Forest Center has announced three Maine towns and organizations that will receive funds to improve outdoor recreation opportunities. Recipients are:

Mahoosuc Pathways, Bethel: $30,000 to develop a “Main Street to the Mountains” recreational wayfinding system.

“The Main St. to the Mountains project will help us connect through trails and wayfinding the places where people live and work with where they play,” said Gabe Perkins, executive director of Mahoosuc Pathways. “It grows out of our recent Community Destination Academy experience and years of community effort. This grant elevates the project from an idea to a reality; without it we wouldn’t be moving forward.”

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, Rangeley: $36,000 to implement a strategic wayfinding project that enhances visitors’ experience, establishes a consistent brand and promotes healthier lifestyles.

“This funding ensures that we can implement a wayfinding system for the Rangeley Region,” said David Miller, executive director of the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. “We are lucky to live in one of the best parts of Maine and this grant will help us all — community members and visitors — get outside and get active and healthy. Given the challenges facing our nation, there has never been a better time than now to increase access to the great outdoors for all of us. With support from the center we are on our way,” he said.

Western Foothills Land Trust, Norway: $21,000 to connect the recreational and educational assets of Roberts Farm Preserve to downtown Norway.

“The funding will help build a Nordic ski trail linking the trail system at Roberts Farm Preserve to downtown Norway, creating a skiable village,” said Western Foothills Land Trust Executive Director Lee Dassler.  “In the winter of 2018-2019 more than 3,000 skiers and snowshoers enjoyed the 20k trail system. Those visitors frequent our Main Street restaurants, shops, and services while in town, and this trail will connect them directly to the downtown,” she said.

The grants are provided by the Northern Forest Destination Development Initiative, which is managed by the Northern Forest Center in partnership with the Northeastern Vermont Development Association and NEK (Northeast Kingdom) Collaborative of Vermont. Funding comes from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

The initiative prioritizes projects that are in sync with community-developed plans and priorities. In Rangeley, a wayfinding project emerged as a priority from a months-long community destination planning process.

The total $302,000 in federal grants awarded will be matched by $608,000 in local matching funds, bringing the total investment in recreational development through this initiative to $910,000.

Another round of funding will be available in 2021 to public and nonprofit entities in Coos County, New Hampshire, and Oxford and Franklin counties in Maine. New funding opportunities will be announced in the biweekly Northern Forest News Digest. Subscriptions are available free by signing up at

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