Kingdom Trails Gratefully Promotes Hiking Code of Conduct

Photo: Cycling on the Kingdom’s trails in winter. Photos courtesy of the Kingdom Trail Association.

by Olga Peters, Vermont Business Magazine “It has been a wonderful summer,” said Abigail Long, General Manager of Kingdom Trails.

With the state’s travel restrictions lifted, more neighbors in New Hampshire, New York and Maine have returned to use more than 100 miles of trails open for non-motorized activities, she said.

“However, we still missed our neighbors to the north in Canada and we know that Canadians make up about 38% of our trail users,” she added. “So that was still quite the impact. “

Founded in 1994, the nonprofit Kingdom Trails was formed to support the health of local communities through outdoor recreation and economic development.

Long said a previous economic impact study had shown that the trails had a direct economic impact of around $ 10 million on the region. Out-of-state trail users stay in the area for an average of three days. They spend an average of $ 115 per day.

Photo: Cycling on the Kingdom’s trails in winter. Photos courtesy of the Kingdom Trail Association.

In 2016, Kingdom Trails was one of the organizations that participated in an economic impact study compiled by Camoin Associates for the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council.

“And we know the kingdom is lagging on a larger scale beyond the economic impact. We are helping to identify the North Eastern Kingdom as a place to live, work and play, ”she said.

The trails are popular with cyclists in the summer.

When the pandemic began in 2020, the organization quickly adjusted its operations to meet state safety guidelines.

Long said staff felt staying open was crucial in supporting the community, as outdoor activities provided a way for people to take care of their physical and mental health during the lockdown.

This summer the staff were busy building just over five miles of new trails.

The organization also discussed recommendations from a feasibility study funded by a USDA 75,000 Rural Business Development Grant.

Completed earlier this year, the study looked at issues related to traffic congestion and safety.

Long said Kingdom Trails had received comments from community members concerned about driving on local roads filled with trail users.

The trails pass through the towns of East Haven, Burke, Lyndon and Kirby.

“So we were able to create connecting trails, which means taking cyclists away from roads, dangerous roads and bringing them onto parallel trails,” she said. “So there isn’t this user-track user-vehicle conflict. “

The organization also installed better signage wherever the trails crossed a road, urging users to come to a complete stop before crossing. Rough strips using local cobblestones have also been added at the end of each trail where it crosses a road, Long said.

Long said she was very proud of Vermont Adaptive Sports and the Kelly Brush Foundation for choosing Kingdom Trails to host an Adaptive Mountain Biking Demo Day.

“We learned what our trails need to do to be more inclusive and welcoming, from adaptive disabled cyclists,” she said.

Kingdom Trails has improved some of its existing trails by working with Vermont Adaptive Sports and the Kelly Brush Foundation. It now offers 53 miles of adaptive mountain biking trails.

The foundation also organized its first mountain bike camp on the trails. Long said people from Alaska and Oregon traveled to the area to participate in the camp.

“This is something that we are truly honored and privileged to be able to do,” she said.

Kingdom Trails has introduced a new code of conduct: Ride With Gratitude.

The organization is part of Bike Borderlands, a collaboration of ATV networks in northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

“We all came together originally for rural economic development, and through that, we want to attract trail users to attract tourists,” Long said. “But we want to do it in a sustainable way. So we want people to come and respect the communities they visit.

The new code of conduct aims to send a unified message to trail users so that they can enjoy their visit and be attentive.

Riding the trails is a privilege, not a right, she added.

Long thanked the 104 private landowners who allow Kingdom Trails to use their properties.

“What makes Kingdom trails, Kingdom trails, is that the members of our community – our own neighbors – are the ones who made this opportunity possible,” she said.

Photo: Kingdom Trails in winter. Photos courtesy of the Kingdom Trail Association.

To learn more about Ride with Gratitude, visit is external).

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