The Conservation Fund (the Fund) and Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) are leading the Human Powered Recreation Value Chain initiative in Coos County, New Hampshire to build and strengthen the human powered recreation economy.

Our Role

In July 2017, The Conservation Fund and Appalachian Mountain Club received an award for Value Chain Coordination for Human Powered Recreation in Coos County, NH. The award was given by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund—one of the largest permanent rural philanthropies in the country.

Following notice of the award, the Fund and AMC hit the ground running by conducting stakeholder engagement interviews, designing an economic model for demand in human powered recreation, and hosting asset mapping and action planning workshops in northern New Hampshire. The overall goal of the initiative is to build wealth in local communities by strengthening existing assets such as trails, small businesses, marketing initiatives, or partnerships, technical assistance programs and collaboratives, and designing strategies to address gaps such as in accessible online trail map data.

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‘Glamping’ under the stars at HubNorth, a local lodging business and Value Chain partner. Photo credit: Joe Klementovich

An example of the Value Chain already at work is Jonathan Dodge’s ‘Spoke’n’Word’ bike shop in Colebrook, NH, which Jonathan opened a few years ago. While one might think a fancy bike shop would not do well in Colebrook, Jonathan paired a smart business plan with local connections to grow his local businesses and ensure that more wealth stays in the community. His efforts include acquiring and then renting out a fleet of bikes to the Colebrook Summer Recreation program. This unique partnership not only gives low-cost high-quality bikes to kids, it also covers all repairs and gives the family the option to purchase the bike at the end of the season. Our role at the Fund is to continue to grow businesses like Jonathan’s as well as the local communities that surround the businesses.

PROCESS AND TIMELINE

During the Summer and Fall of 2017 we conducted one-on-one interviews which bacame the foundation for a series of workshops facilitated by the Fund's Conservation Leadership Network. We also completed an economic model and demand analysis regarding human powered recreation in Coos County. 

Our plan for Winter of 2018 is to implement strategies for early-identified gaps in marketing opportunities in the Value Chain. This includes devising locally owned solutions to priority gaps and working with a strong partner in each aspect of the Chain, including trail mapping, destination marketing and local networking.

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Locals gather on Sanguinary Ridge, Dixville Notch for Recreation After Hours Networking. Photo credit: John Tully

Through 2018 the next steps, as identified by partners and stakeholders, are to support task groups in two discrete areas. First is in workforce development and small business development for high-skilled positions such as outdoor guides. The other focus area is in the historical trans-border network between the northern tier of Coos County, NH and the Eastern Townships of Quebec; only twenty minutes apart, there is a unique economic ecosystem that straddles the border for both tourists and residents. These deeper interventions will continue to support the ongoing strategies listed above.

Why This Project Matters

Exploring and constructing the value chain of Coos County’s human powered recreation will offer a host of benefits for the county’s local economy, including:

  • High quality, authentic guided experiences in multiple forms of recreation: mountain biking, paddling, hiking, skiing.
  • Easily accessible trail and map data that is also accurate and helpful.
  • Authentic quality businesses that attract more tourists.
  • Benefits for local organizations like recreational departments or ski loaner programs.
  • Professionalizing the outdoor industry through workforce development for skilled outdoor guides and employees.


 

Project Partners

  • NH Grand provides vacation informrtion for Northern New Hampshire and New England, including hiking, boating, ATV'ing, moose viewing, golf, skiing and attractions.
  • Appalachian Mountain Club promotes the protection, enjoyment and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters and trails of America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
  • Trail Finder—a collaborative effort between organizations committed to promoting active recreation in Vermont and New Hampshire.
  • The Spoke 'n' Word, bicycle repair and advice (Colebrook, NH).
  • HubNorth, hotel and lodging (Gorham, NH).