Sign in August 2011

Outside Picks NFCT as Best Canoe Trail
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, stretching from Old Forge, N.Y., to Fort Kent, Maine, was named “Best Canoe Trail 2011” in the July issue of Outside magazine.

Nationally, there are dozens of water trails in the United States, and according to the “Outdoor Recreation Participation Report 2010” by the Outdoor Foundation, approximately 20 million Americans participated in some form of paddling (canoeing, kayaking, rafting) in 2009. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the only water trail that traverses four states and crosses an international border.

Kate Williams, executive director of the Waitsfield-based Northern Forest Canoe Trail nonprofit, believes strongly that the Trail can help unite communities and strengthen local economies: “The trail and the communities along it are world-class destinations,” she said in a press release. “Recognition as ‘Best’ by Outside magazine affirms our vision for the trail as a powerful connector of people and place through the experience of paddling.”

Congratulations to the hard-working team that has made this trail a nationally recognized treasure.

Zeroing in on West Hill
The West Hill Shop in Putney has installed a solar electric system, capping off a seven-year plan to be energy independent. The owners believe it could be the first bike shop in America to be net-zero.

Diny and Jim Sweitzer bought the shop from its original owner Neil Quinn in 2004 and immediately began to plan for the future. “I had a vision to one day be fully sustainable in terms of energy use,” Jim said. “In 2006 we added a super energy-efficient, timber-frame building to the original shop. The new structure was designed and built by local timber-frame legend Tedd Benson and uses sustainable materials throughout, with the insulation value of its ceiling rated R30 and walls R20.”
That same year, the Sweitzers added a ground-source water-to-water heat-pump system to heat the new building (the old shop is still heated with a woodstove).

Now the third phase of their sustainability plan has been realized with the installation of a 28-kilowatt photovoltaic electric solar system.

“The system was engineered and installed by Southern Vermont Renewable Energy,” Jim said, “and will cover all of our shop’s electric needs plus an extra 14 percent in capacity that will go back into the grid.”

Burlington Bike Shops Kick In to Save the Causeway
Five bike shops raised more than $10,000 to help repair the Island Line Trail, a key portion of the recreation path that stretches from Burlington to as far as South Hero when Local Motion’s Bike Ferry is operational.

Alpine Shop, Earl’s Cyclery & Fitness, Old Spokes Home, North Star Sports, and Skirack all donated 7 percent of sales made from July 1–3 to rebuilding efforts. The path was severely damaged in this spring’s unprecedented flooding.
Chapin Spencer of Local Motion said the sale raised between $10,000 and $13,000. Final numbers weren’t available as of press time, but it’s safe to say this fundraiser was a major success! Thank you to our community-minded businesses for participating in this effort.