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Northern Forest Center Offers Grants for Volunteer-led Recreation Projects

 

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The Northern Forest Center is offering grants of up to $2,500 to volunteer-led organizations working to increase local participation in outdoor recreation in Northern Forest Communities. Proposals are due March 31, 2023.

“We’re increasingly aware of the positive physical, social, and economic benefits of outdoor recreation, and that sometimes a small investment in equipment, staffing, or infrastructure can have a big impact in a community,” said Joe Fox, outdoor recreation manager for the Center. “We’re grateful to LL Bean for providing funding for this grant program.”

Communities across the region are responding to increased interest in outdoor recreation. This grant program is intended to help volunteer-led organizations with that new demand. Funding can be used for projects such as trailside interpretive signs, gear lending libraries, safe bike lanes that provide access to recreational areas from a village center, summer outdoor programs, easy-to-read trail maps, or other local priorities. Programs that increase participation in outdoor recreational activities, such as skills camps or educational workshops, are also eligible for funding.

“These kinds of investments can significantly enhance the quality of the experience for the recreational user,” said Fox. “We know there are a lot of amazing volunteer-led outdoor recreation groups working across the Northern Forest and hope these small grants can help them enrich the lives of residents and visitors in their communities.”

To be eligible, projects must take place in one of the following counties:

  • Maine: Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Washington
  • New Hampshire: Carroll, Coos, Grafton.
  • Vermont: Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington.
  • New York: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren, Washington.

Preference will be given to projects that will benefit significantly from the scale of funding available and have demonstrated community support, visible or quantifiable outcomes within six months of award, a clear implementation plan, and committed matching funds.

Requests should range between $500 and $2,500. The Northern Forest Center anticipates making up to 15 awards. Full guidelines and application are available at https://nfcenter.org/rec_grants.

“Ideal projects will address one or more of the goals we’ve established, which include: Reducing physical, financial, and social barriers to participating in outdoor recreation; Using outdoor recreation to address public health concerns; and/or Embracing principles of sustainability, natural resource engagement, and stewardship,” said Fox.

Volunteer-led non-profits and municipal groups are eligible for funding. Projects must occur within the Northern Forest counties listed above. For questions about eligibility, email Outdoor Recreation Manager Joe Fox at [email protected]

Proposals must be received by March 31. Center staff will review proposals and may reach out for additional information if needed. Decisions will be announced by May 1.

The Northern Forest Center is a regional innovation and investment partner creating rural vibrancy by connecting people, economy, and the forested landscape.

 

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Editors: QR code included for link to guidelines and application.

 

Cutline for either photo: A new grant program for volunteer-led organizations is offering grants up to $2,500 for projects that increase outdoor recreation opportunities. Northern Forest Center photo.

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