A grant from the Neil & Louise Tillotson Fund’s Stronger Economy program is supporting the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s efforts to bolster the outdoor recreation value chain in New Hampshire’s Coös County.
The aim of the Stronger Economy program is to build economic prosperity that increases local wealth, improves opportunities for living wage employment and enhances the natural resource base. NFCT is using its grant to develop collaborative leadership among outdoor businesses, economic development agencies and conservation and trail organizations.
“Across the region, we have noticed that in the outdoor recreation sector, business, marketing and infrastructure tend to be interdependent but not interconnected: economic activity depends on trails and access to the landscape, but does not necessarily have awareness of or control over its management,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “Our goal is to strengthen the relationship between recreational infrastructure — like the canoe trail — with users, outdoor businesses and regional marketing efforts.”
The Tillotson grant also provides NFCT staff with access to the Tillotson Learning Community, which provides learning and leadership development opportunities for North Country grantees of the Tillotson Fund. Participants learn from one another and from invited speakers and experts about strategies for effectively addressing community needs and delivering services.
“The opportunity to connect with our peers in different sectors is invaluable,” Thomas said. “It’s also fundamental to our goal of supporting the outdoor recreation value chain — we can’t do that without a solid understanding of the people and organizations who are working to strengthen Coös County. We thank the Tillotson Fund by supporting this work financially and through professional development.”
In addition to funds from the Stronger Economy projects, Tillotson’s Local Grants committee has awarded NFCT $4,000 to build new portage routes and improve community access on the Upper Ammonoosuc River in Groveton, New Hampshire.