Kingdom-Trails-Looks-To-Expand

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VERMONT'S-Green Mountain State is known for it's beautiful landscapes, wonderful lakes, hiking trails, rail trails, and biking trails. The Kingdom Trails is an all year round tourist attraction in the Northeast Kingdom. Each year, the popularity of the trails seems to grow more and more.

“A Capacity study has been needed for a long time. It was evident with a lot of the traffic issues that were occurring and community unrest, I guess you could say. Also as a staff, with all this growth, we were doing what we could,” Kingdom Trail Associations Communication Program Manager, Lilias Ide explains in an interview. As the Kingdom Trails has been working on their Capacity study since the beginning of 2020. 
 
"Kingdom Trails had been going through rapid growth for a long time. A period of rapid growth, every year an average of fifteen percent for the last 12 years. That can be hard to keep up with," Ide expresses. Ide tells viewers that although it's great to have this much tourism, the resources to accommodate people are short.

"There was not enough parking, not enough of restaurants, not enough of everything. The traffic, and where it flows also wasn't ideal," Ide explains. The Kingdom Trails got funding in 2019, coming from the Northern Borders Regional Grant. This grant helped with funding for the capacity study when it was launched in 2020.

Since then, the Kingdom Trails has received feedback from the community through zoom meetings, and public online gatherings. Over two hundred people have provided feedback so far. The Association continues to collect more through a survey initiated by their partner helping with the project, the SE Group.

Ide says that at this point in the project, the Kingdom Trails are on their last survey. The feedback the Kingdom Trails received from the community has been most helpful. The Association is hoping to put in more parking, crosswalks, expand on the welcome center, and look into developing more buildings and businesses as long term goals.

"Because the last survey is not done yet, we are really just going to look to what they say," Ide shares. The next step for the Association is to set some priorities as to what needs to come first for the Kingdom Trails. The Association will start looking towards funding and grants to take care of the improvements. They also plan to reach out to various potential partners interested in the project.

"The most important thing for us is that this is for the whole community. Kingdom Trails itself is for the community, so we need to listen to them."