Burke Benefiting from Kingdom Trails

Kingdom Trails ThumbnailEast Burke- Kingdom Trails in East Burke has seen a fifteen percent growth in the past year, and it has had an impact on the rest of West Burke as well.

 "We had, it was about 15 percent growth which is pretty par for the course," said Kingdom Trails employee Lilius Ide. "Over the past ten years we've averaged about 10-20 percent growth, so 15 is right on par."

Ide partially attributes their success to the multiple events they held this year, including the NEMBA (New England Mountain Biking Association) Festival, which drew about 3,000 people to the trails.

Another event that they hold is their Land Owner Appreciation Event. Their trails belong to 79 private landowners that allow them to use their land.

"We like to show them our appreciation," said Ide. "We hold a celebration once a year. The Vermont Commission of Parks and Recreation will come and be our guest speaker."

Another event that is crucial to the success of Kingdom Trails is their annual CircumBurke Challenge. This year, the event has been moved up a couple of week earlier to avoid weather and trail condition issues that usually plague the event.

"It starts at Burke Mountain Resort, and ends at Burke Mountain Resort and goes all the way around the back side on single track and double track," said Ide. "It's 26 miles, or you could do it twice, ride it or run it, 52 miles, and it's just a great event."

This success has also had a major impact on the surrounding businesses of Burke, specifically Burke Mountain, which is closely intertwined with Kingdom Trails.

In an article written by the VT Digger when the Burke Mountain Resort had opened, former Kingdom Trails Executive Director Tim Tierney was quoted as saying: "We are a tight community. "Burke and the mountain are one, and everyone is tied to each other." 

Jess Sechler, Sales and Marketing Director at Burke Mountain, also supports the fact that the two are linked closely together.

"We share trails and are the largest landowner of the network so we certainly are parallel in some regard.  The Hotel sells Kingdom Trail packages as part of our amenity offerings and is one of our largest referral sources."

Sechler also said that over the past couple of months, Burke has seen a budget growth of about 20 percent. They have seen a consistent flow of traffic both in their bike paths and at the hotel.

"I'm sure the growing awareness of the Kingdom Trail network directly supports the overall growth Burke."

What might surprise some people is that this success is happening after the last executive director, Tim Tierney, resigned last May. The move came as a surprise to both the Kingdom Trails Association, as well as the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce, which he was the president of.

But despite the change of leadership at Kingdom Trails, their consistent growth over the past few years has led to their strong summer, now turning into fall, season.