Gabe Perkins, executive director of Inland Woods + Trails, third in from the right, and Karla Leandri Rider, development and communications coordinator for Inland Woods + Trails, second in from the right, attended the NRBC award ceremony on behalf of the Western Maine partners at the University of Maine at Orono on August 23. Submitted photo

COUNTY — A partnership of five western Maine conservation and recreation non-profits has been awarded $1,000,000 from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) via the 2023 Catalyst Program. Communities between Denmark to Rumford will be seeing improved access, amenities, and opportunities for trail-based recreation at 15 trail systems in Oxford County, including resurfacing trails, improving trailhead parking areas, and establishing miles of new mountain bike trails.

This award is wonderful news for the partners and for the communities of western Maine, especially given the increased use of trails since the pandemic, and increased damage to trails and trail access due to recent storm severity and frequency.

The unique team of Oxford County groups includes lead applicant Inland Woods + Trails, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Loon Echo Land Trust, Mahoosuc Land Trust, and Western Foothills Land Trust. These partners share a strong history of collaboration on conservation and recreation projects and enjoy working together to benefit their communities and those who choose to visit western Maine.

The NBRC is a federal-state partnership for economic and community development within the most distressed counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The Commission recently announced $43.6 Million in new awards for 2023, including nearly $20 Million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as part of the Commission’s inaugural Catalyst Program competition.

Sixty-six NBRC Catalyst Awards were granted and include a broad range of economic development initiatives including projects to grow outdoor recreation infrastructure and economies. Thirty-nine applications were submitted from Maine, requesting over $33 million; 16 projects were selected for awards totaling $11 million.

Inland Woods + Trails connects people to communities in western Maine through the sustainable management of high-quality, durable trails and woods for all seasons. IWT. IWT has conserved 1,500 acres of forestlands and manages 85 miles of multi-use trails currently, focusing on providing durable recreational trails for inland communities in western and central Maine.

Mahoosuc Land Trust protects over 22,000 acres of land and manages 28.5 miles of trails and 4 boat landings. MLT is dedicated to conserving and sharing the Mahoosuc region’s important natural lands with our communities, now and for the future.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: