Economy, outdoor recreation linked

To the Valley News:

The Champlain Valley’s economic vitality is inextricably linked with trails and outdoor recreation. Our recent Grand Inn-to-Inn Hike is a great example of that. Over 200 people came out to hike from the Westport Hotel & Tavern to the Essex Inn. Many came from far away and will tell their friends about the easy hike between two historic hamlets through the valley’s scenic landscape. Some will undoubtedly return for our National Trails Day hikes and Celebrate Champlain Area Trails event on June 7.

As we create more trails connecting communities, the word will continue spreading that this is a great place to visit. And that is good for business because people will patronize restaurants, eat local food, stay at our inns, purchase items in stores, send their children to local camps, and need ancillary services like shuttles, guides, entertainment, and bike rentals.

We had a lot of help in making the hike a success. Thank you to Pok-o-MacCready Camps for shuttling hikers; to Ernies Market & Deli, Dogwood Bread Company, Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm and Willsboro’s Village Meat Market for providing tasty snacks at the hike oases; to Cupola House, The Depot Theatre, Emmett Carter Green Design, EssexonLakeChamplain.com, Essex Ice Cream Café, The Galley at Westport Marina, Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, Normandie Beach Club, Overtime Photography, Old Dock Restaurant, Pataki Farm, Phillips Art Conservation Studio, The Pink Pig, Joe and Debbi Shaw, Sim Vivo, LLC., and the Westport Country Club.

Special thanks to Rick Dalton for the idea to have the hike, to Steven Kellogg for making the happy oases signs, and to Katie Shephard of the Essex Blog and Aubrey Bressett of College for Every Student for publicizing it. Finally, thank you to the volunteers, all the hikers, and everyone who noticed and talked about the Grand Hike.

Chris Maron

Champlain Area Trails

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