The Northern Forest Center is offering grants of up to $2,500 to volunteer-led organizations working to increase local participation in outdoor recreation in Northern Forest Communities. Proposals are due by March 31, 2023.
“We’re increasingly aware of the positive physical, social, and economic benefits of outdoor recreation, and that sometimes a small investment in equipment, staffing, or infrastructure can have a big impact in a community,” said Joe Fox, outdoor recreation manager for the Center. “We’re grateful to LL Bean for providing funding for this grant program.”
Communities across the region are responding to the pandemic-inspired increase in outdoor recreation. This grant program is intended to help volunteer-led organizations with that new demand. Funding can be used for projects such as trailside interpretive signs, gear lending libraries, safe bike lanes that provide access to recreational areas from a village center, summer outdoor programs, easy-to-read trail maps, or other local priorities (all ideas are welcome).
“These kinds of investments can significantly enhance the quality of the experience for the recreational user,” said Fox. “We know there are a lot of amazing volunteer-led outdoor recreation groups working across the Northern Forest and hope these small grants can help them enrich the lives of people in their communities.”
Preference will be given to projects that will be benefit significantly from the scale of funding available and have demonstrated community support, visible or quantifiable outcomes within six months of award, a clear implementation plan, and committed matching funds.
Requests should range between $500 and $2,500. The Center anticipates making up to 15 awards.
Criteria and Guidelines:
Ideal projects will address some or all of these goals: Reduce physical, financial, and social barriers to participating in outdoor recreation; Use outdoor recreation to address public health concerns; Embrace principles of sustainability, natural resource engagement, and stewardship.
Volunteer-led non-profits and municipal groups are eligible for funding. Projects must occur within the Northern Forest counties shown on the map. For questions about eligibility, email Outdoor Recreation Manager Joe Fox.
Proposals must be received by March 31. Center staff will review proposals and may reach out for additional information if needed. Decisions will be announced by May 1.
Photo at top courtesy of the Northern Forest Center.