Building on almost two decades of trail management, Stowe Trails Partnership continues to establish its legacy as stewards and advocates for trails in the community. Through these efforts, we aspire to increase access to Stowe’s natural beauty and, by extension, the incredible benefits that outdoor recreation and mountain biking provide to residents and visitors.
Our work focuses on enhancing and improving Stowe’s multi-use trails for the benefit of our community. In broader terms, we exist to connect our members, neighbors and visitors to local dirt. Connecting to the dirt may seem like an insignificant goal, but studies have shown that being outside and in connection with dirt may make you happier and reduce stress.
Research also points to the stress-relieving properties of spending time in nature by lowering cortisol levels. In most cases, the result of embarking on a bike ride on dirt trails will yield positive health results and happier people.
Today, increased access to dirt and outdoor spaces is more critical than ever, as more people connect to and seek solace through nature. As we move through 2021, we believe that the lessons learned in 2020 will echo for years to come, including the importance and value of outdoor access for anyone and everyone.
Stowe Trails Partnership is working to break down barriers to entry for new and returning outdoor recreators and improve its mountain biking network so it is accessible to all.
In 2020, close to 3,000 hours of maintenance and work were completed by our trail crew and community volunteers. We spent over $82,000 on trail enhancements for the benefit of all trail users. We are hosting our first full-time AmeriCorps member to provide in-person outreach and engagement with those who use our trails, and we are working diligently to find a location to build a family-friendly mountain bike skills area, so the next generation will have a place to hone their skills.
As ambassadors and champions of some of Stowe’s most valuable natural assets, it is crucial that Stowe Trails Partnership continues to expand the reach of our work in the years to come, especially as we seek to keep pace with the increased and growing demand for our multi-use trails.
We are thrilled to steward the trails that so many new and old faces use to connect with dirt and the natural world, and we invite all riders to join us as a member and supporter in 2021.
By supporting Stowe Trails Partnership, you help ensure that we can maintain and grow our world-class network of trails — a resource that continues to add to the health, vitality and economic vibrancy in our community. Contributions from our community of riders are essential to helping us reach our goal of enhancing and improving our trails for the benefit of all.
With your support, we will continue to steward our trails and will give us the ability to welcome users of all backgrounds to find solace and connection to the dirt.
Rachel Fussell is executive director of Stowe Trails Partnership.