Green Mountain Club investing in Long Trail’s future

Green Mountain Club investing in long trail's future
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 7:46 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Green Mountain Club is only looking forward in a post-COVID-19 world, especially after numbers they saw during the pandemic.

The Green Mountain Club says they have seen a 35% increase in trail usage recently and an 80% increase in overnight shelter use.

They are calling it their Long Trail Legacy Campaign and their goal is to reach $4 million.

There are about 6-and-a-half miles left unprotected on the Long Trail. Using these funds, they would be able to protect another mile, along with providing critical funding for maintenance and investments into the northern end of the trail, its more rugged end.

“Trying to prepare the trail for climate change impacts, increased water, but COVID really increased awareness of really making sure the trail is well maintained and that people can have a good experience,” said Mike Debonis, the executive director of the Green Mountain Club. “Also investing in our people and our ability to provide outreach and information and education for people that are looking to get out on the trail.”

The Green Mountain Club also hopes to invest in a new and improved welcome center, something they say will really help engage the next generation of hikers taking on trails.

“One of the goals of the campaign of the fundraiser is to upgrade our visitor center. To create a more functional space to engage folks looking to have an experience on the Long Trail, also providing a space for our historical archives and our staff,” said Debonis. “This is something we have been looking to do for a really long time, and with the increased interest in hiking now is definitely the time”

A major piece of the fundraiser is Long Trail Day, which the Green Mountain Club is hosting on Aug. 28.

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