- Category: Automated Wood Heat
Automated Wood Heat brings great community and economic benefits to communities over time, but the upfront cost of purchasing a state-of-the-art pellet boiler is higher than a common propane or oil burner. That makes it tough for some people to make the switch, so we’re fortunate that all the Northern Forest states offer incentives for systems that meet standards for efficiency, automation, and performance.
Incentives have been available for more than five year, and Vermont recently added a state sales tax exemption for pellet boilers. Here is a round-up of current incentives and links to detailed information about programs in each state:
Thanks to consistent effort from Renewable Energy Vermont and several of its business members, Gov. Phil Scott recently signed into law a bill that exempts wood pellet boilers from state sales tax. That’s on top of several other cost-cutting options for Vermonters, including Efficiency Vermont and Clean Energy Development Fund incentives and additional rebates tied to certain locations, utility providers, or income levels. Check out the VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation’s website for information on all the incentives. Vermont incentive information.
- Category: Program Updates
The MTB Collaborative introduced itself to the mountain biking world at NEMBAfest in June! This major mountain biking festival, held at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT, drew 4,300 people from 41 states (read more about it).
NEMBAfest was the perfect place for MTB Collaborative members to talk about their vision for The Borderlands: a 3-state, 2-country region full of great mountain bike trails and communities. Members of the group chatted with hundreds of people at The Borderlands tent all weekend. In the photo at above, Northern Forest Center Program Director Maura Adams wears a hot-off-the-press T-shirt featuring the brand-new Borderlands logo while she works the booth at NEMBAfest.
Read more about the Center's work with the MTB Collaborative, and check back for updates in the coming months.
- Category: Tourism
The Northern Forest Center is working closely with partners in the Maine Woods Consortium to build local capacity to improve the destination appeal in high-potential Rural Destination Areas across the Maine Woods. The concept of “destination development” is to strengthen the amenities, quality services and attractions that make places attractive to live in or visit.
The new Community Destination Academy (CDA) combines a 6-part, professionally led workshop series with direct financial and technical assistance to support implementation of local destination development projects.
Modeled on Oregon’s successful Rural Tourism Studio, the Destination Academy is built around three goals:
- Build the capacity of local Destination Development Teams to advance a shared vision for their area;
- Deliver skills training on topics including visitor experience development, marketing, fundraising, and more;
- Support team-based project implementation to demonstrate tangible progress and to strengthen working relationships among destination area stakeholders.
The Center launched the first Destination Academy in the Moosehead Lake region this spring in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (PCEDC), and Destination Moosehead. The 20 attendees included a mix of local business, non-profit, and municipal leaders—representing all the critical elements of a successful destination development effort.
- Category: Regional Strategy
On behalf of the Northern Border Regional Commission, the Center brought together public and private funders from across the region to take part in a day-long forum on the regional forest economy. More than 80 people attended, representing six federal agencies, 12 foundations, and seven Congressional offices, plus a variety of state and community partners.
The Border Commission contracted the Center to develop and facilitate the event, with the goals of helping participants:
- understand the economic status and trends of core regional forest sectors and socio-demographic trends in forest-based communities;
- learn about promising innovation and investment strategies for strengthening the forest economy and communities that depend on it; and
- network with other public and private funders, with an eye toward opportunities for collaboration and co-investment.