What Does it Take to Raise $1.85 Million?
Only 15 months ago, Nordic and backcountry skiers at Bolton were pondering a future where we could no longer enjoy bluebird days climbing up to the cabin and swooshing down George's Gorge.
Thankfully, dedicated volunteers, such as Ann Gotham, scrambled to make calls and the fledgling Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry was formed. Public interest in the project was high and 200 people eventually joined the group.
Meetings were held, and VLT agreed to start a major campaign to raise the money needed to purchase the land and build the partnerships needed to transfer the land to the State.
Here's just some of what it took to raise 1,200 gifts totaling $1.85 million:
- Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry vision, commitment, and creativity
- Strength in partnerships with VT Forests, Parks & Recreation, Catamount Trail Association, Green Mountain Club, and others
- Direct mail appeal sent to 18,000 individuals in northern Vermont
- Feature stories covering the project in more than a dozen Vermont news and national outlets
- Information tables at more than 20 ski and skate sales, Farmer's Markets, on Church Street in Burlington, and even a July 4th festival
- Fundraising and awareness events sponsored by Catamount Trail Association, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Onion River Sports, Skirack, Ember Photography, Skinny Pancake, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Mammut, Patagonia, North Face Store, and others
- Bird walks, natural history workshops, ski and snowshoe tours, and other events held on the Bolton property
- "Visions of the Land," an exhibit of Bolton-inspired artwork at the West Branch Gallery in Stowe
- Sale of more than 300 "Save Bolton Nordic and Backcountry" t-shirts
- Three anonymous donations of $100,000 each
- 70 Gardiner Lane Leadership Gifts
- The commitment, sense of humor, and enthusiasm of VLT staff and board members
We can't thank people enough for all they've done to make this happen!
We've Raised the Money But We Aren't Done Yet...
While the money to purchase and conserve the land has been raised, there is still work to be done. The final purchase is expected to happen this spring, after which the land will be transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Mount Mansfield State Forest.
The land trust is still accepting funds toward the project. VLT and the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation are creating a fund for maintenance and infrastructure improvements to trails, roads, parking areas, shelters, and recreational facilities. Any further donations met will be added to this fund.
When the Bolton land is transferred to the State of Vermont, the State will issue a license agreement to the Bolton Valley Resort to continue management of the Nordic and backcountry trail system. Ultimately, the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation will take on management responsibility for the property. You can donate online, designating your gift to the Bolton project.