Community and Economy
Mahoosuc Initiative partners support a high quality of life for residents of the region. Conserved lands help ensure a future sustainable timber supply and provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
Throughout her involvement with the Mahoosuc Initiative, Robin Zinchuk, Executive Director of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce (pictured at right in a tan coat), has been an articulate spokeswoman for the importance of conserved lands and improved outdoor recreation infrastructure to our local economy. The Bethel Area Chamber also supports conservation/economy initiatives at home and across the state of Maine - staying “plugged in” to ensure good communications between our region and similar efforts elsewhere.[photo Bethel Chamber website at http://www.bethelmaine.com/index.php?page=world-s-tallest-snowman-snowwoman
- As a participant in the Maine Wood’s Consortium, Robin helps promote quality nature-based tourism as a Maine specialty. She is helping with a presentation at the upcoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism and helping to plan a fall 2014 Maine Woods Retreat.
- Robin serves on the GrowSmart Maine Board of Directors, where the mission of “integrating working and natural landscape conservation, economic growth and community revitalization” mirrors the Mahoosuc Initiative approach.
- She is also a member of the Keeping Maine’s Forests Recreation Committee, where she worked on reprinting a Recreational Brochure – helping to educate visitors to Maine’s “forested fringe” about being good stewards of the land and the importance of multiple use of our forested landscape.
- Locally, Robin is involved in the Bethel Area Nonprofit Collaborative, whose Network Facilitator is helping to facilitate several strategic meetings in the region. Robin helps connect the business community with many of these nonprofit initiatives.
In New Hampsire, MI partners Tri County CAP and the Appalachian Mountain Club work with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and New Hampshire Grand to support the NH Androscoggin River Committee (ARC). ARC is a diverse group of business owners, guides, nonprofits, the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, private industry (Brookfield Power), and local Chambers of Commerce in Gorham, Berlin, and Errol, that work collaboratively to promote and steward the Androscoggin River in NH. Recent initiatives include the grassroots development of a ‘River Code’ and the River Runners Internship, as well as supporting celebrations of the River such as the Source to the Sea and Fourth of July Festivals.
Other community development efforts supported by Mahoosuc Initiative partners include:
- The Mahoosuc Touring Map. This map, in both paper and on-line formats, highlights outdoor recreation opportunities across the region and throughout the seasons – from dog sledding to river rafting, historic downtown walking tours to rugged multi-day mountain hikes. The map demonstrates graphically the many connections between tourism businesses, outdoor activities, and conserved lands. The Bethel Areas Chamber has been a key partner in developing and updating this map.
- The Model Neighborhood Project, a project of the Northern Forest Center with support from local Mahoosuc Initiative partners. This pilot program converted over forty Berlin, NH homes from oil to wood pellet heat – keeping energy dollars circulating locally.