Vt. Land Trust Named Beneficiary of Race to the Top of Vermont

From the Catamount Trail Association:

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, two nonprofit organizations are coming together in support of fitness, conservation, and stewardship of Vermont’s natural landscape. The Catamount Trail Association is a nonprofit organization that protects and manages a 300-mile long backcountry ski trail, called the Catamount Trail. It is dedicated to providing recreational opportunities while also protecting access to Vermont’s natural recreational facilities for generations to come. The Vermont Land Trust is a nonprofit that conserves land across the state in order to maintain the rural character that Vermont is so well known for. It helps to protect land for working farms, forests, recreational opportunities, scenic views, and the growth of Vermont’s natural ecology.

The CTA, the organizer of The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont will honor the VLT as the beneficiary of the event that takes place on August 26. At this race, hundreds of runners, bikers, and hikers will climb 4.3 miles up the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road to beautiful views from the summit and a grand sense of achievement. This race is not only unique because of the challenge it poses to athletes and its friendly atmosphere, but also for its commitment towards current issues in Vermont.

In February 2011, the popular Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry trails became threatened by development in the area. Loss of public access to these 1,161 acres of land would affect thousands of skiers and outdoor recreationalists who venture through the Bolton Valley trails year-round. This land is also an important connection for wildlife habitats between the Mt. Mansfield Forest and Camel’s Hump State Park. Additionally, one of the Catamount Trail’s most popular sections weaves through this land that is in jeopardy of development.

This spring, the VLT took on the responsibility of fundraising over $1.8 million to permanently conserve this land for the natural habitats, ecology, and recreational opportunities it provides. In order to support the VLT in its conservation efforts, the CTA has chosen the Bolton Backcountry Project to be the sole beneficiary of The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont. Participants taking part in the race are encouraged to fundraise or donate to the Bolton Backcountry Project and help conserve this important piece of land. “Generations to come will greatly appreciate the effort that has been taken to conserve Vermont’s natural beauty and landscape,” expresses CTA’s Executive Director, Jim Fredericks.

Advocating for the access to recreational opportunities goes hand-in-hand with creating fitness opportunities. In the summer, the CTA organizes The North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont, while in the winter the CTA hosts over 60 ski tours along the trail, instructional clinics, racing opportunities, and even an introductory youth ski program. This year the CTA will be offering a youth race called the MVP Health Care Run for Fun for ages 4–14.

Fredericks believes that “childhood obesity is a huge problem in our country, and it would be very sad if we saw that problem persist in a state like Vermont where we have a strong culture of sports and recreation.” With this issue in mind, he crafted a fun and accessible 1-kilometer hill climb that will encourage fitness among Vermont’s young people. Strategically scheduled to take place at 12 noon during the post-race BBQ and awards party, the MVP Run for Fun will have hundreds of healthy adult role models cheering the children along the course. Every child that finishes is rewarded with a beautiful bronze medal, a raffle ticket for the event that Vermont Sports Magazine named “Vermont’s Event with the Best Prizes,” and a feeling of accomplishment.

For more information about this fun and unique event on August 26, 2012, go to www.CatamountTrail.org or call the CTA office at (802) 864-5794.