Stowe Reporter - Online
April 26, 2012

To the Editor:

I am writing as a local mountain bike enthusiast, native Vermonter, and representative of one of the Vermont Mountain Biking Association's local chapters, Montpelier Area Mountain Bike Association.

This letter pertains to the proposed purchase of the Cady Hill Forest by the Stowe Land Trust, in an effort to preserve the 260 acres of land and the abundance of multi-use trails near the heart of Stowe village.

As a neighboring mountain bike chapter whose members use the Town Loops trails within this parcel of land, the Montpelier Area Mountain Bike Association fully supports these efforts for many reasons.

The Cady Hill Forest and surrounding town forest, with over 11 miles of multi-use trails, will function as an important link for the proposed Vermont Ride Center, which begins at Little River State Park and runs through Cottonbrook, Trapp Family Lodge, and up to the mountain, as well as now connecting into Stowe village via Cady Hill Forest. There is enough evidence, using the Kingdom Trails project in East Burke as an example, to prove that the Vermont Ride Center project can be a strong economic driver for the central Vermont region and state as a whole, not to mention making Vermont a more desirable place to live and work.

Finally, we hear over and over again that Vermont is having a hard time attracting young people to come and live here, given our stagnant economic growth, lack of employment opportunities, and high cost of living.

We clearly have a niche in the Northeast tourism industry as a four-season recreation destination. Creating more jobs linked to our booming tourism industry, combined with a statewide marketing campaign enticing young people to sample the Vermont experience, which includes eight months of mountain biking, can only be enhanced by protecting open space for future multi-use trail development. The Vermont Mountain Biking Association and its local chapters pledge to be at the forefront of that marketing campaign along with the state of Vermont, as well as helping conserve more open land for public use. Please join us in supporting the Stowe Land Trust acquisition of the Cady Hill Forest.

Brad Watson

Montpelier Area Mountain

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