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KT's Sidewinder Story

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For immediate release: November 2, 2015 

For more information, contact: 

 Tim Tierney, Executive Director, Kingdom Trails Association, (802) 626-0737 tim@kingdomtrails.org 

 Tracy Zschau, Conservation Director, Vermont Land Trust, (802) 745-6301 or tracy@vlt.org 

Sidewinder Trail Saved; 133 Acres in Lyndon Protected 

Successful Finish to Vermont Land Trust and Kingdom Trails Grassroots Campaign 

Lyndon, VT – After a massive grassroots fundraising campaign, the Kingdom Trails Association purchased a 133-acre property in Lyndon and the Vermont Land Trust conserved it. The property is home to popular mountain biking and multi-use trails, including the well-known Sidewinder trail. 

The $150,000 fundraising campaign drew support from more than 870 people. Community members, local business, and mountain biking enthusiasts across the U.S. and Quebec contributed to the cause. 

“From the land’s incredible recreational assets, to its ecological importance, to the economic impact for the local community, there were many reasons that people felt compelled to support this project,” says Tracy Zschau of the Vermont Land Trust. “The enthusiasm to protect this land and its trails was overwhelming.” 

The project received a grant of $150,000 from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB). 

“VHCB is delighted to support the Kingdom Trails acquisition of this land,” said Gus Seelig, VHCB’s Executive Director. “Conservation of this land both protects a great recreation and health asset for the community and provides a long-term boost to the regional economy by permanently assuring public access and use of nearly seven miles of trail. The success of the fundraising effort demonstrates tremendous local support for this initiative, which will enhance the quality of life in the community.” 

The trail system receives over 70,000 unique visits per year from people across the United States and Canada. Kingdom Trails now owns the Sidewinder trail, voted the “Best Flowing Trail in America” by Bike Magazine readers, which is a main attraction to the area. A 2014 study of mountain bikers using Kingdom Trails estimated the yearly economic impact to the region is $6.5 million. 

“This corner of our system is a special place,” said Tim Tierney of Kingdom Trails Association. “The variance of the terrain and landscape make it home to our flagship trails. We are grateful that the importance of protecting the natural and recreational resource was evident to so many people.” 

The trails are open in all seasons and are also used by hikers, runners, fat-tire bikers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers. The purchase of the land is a critical first step towards the goal of developing the spur trail to downtown Lyndonville. 

The campaign originated when the property went on the market this winter. Concerned that access to the trails could be lost, the Kingdom Trails Association signed a contract to purchase the property—setting off a brief but intense fundraising effort necessary to complete the purchase. Now that the property is conserved, public recreational access will be forever protected. The Vermont Land Trust will also steward the land’s ecological features, including forestland, wetlands and river frontage. 

The property runs along the West Branch of the Passumpsic River for nearly a mile. The riverbanks are forested with a mix of open, shrub, and forested wetland, including cedar swamp. These areas provide important wetland habitat, and protecting this land will support good water quality. 

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About the Vermont Land Trust 

The Vermont Land Trust is a statewide, member-supported, nonprofit land conservation organization. Since 1977, the Vermont Land Trust has permanently conserved more than 1,900 parcels of land covering more than 550,000 acres, or nearly nine percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. The conserved land includes more than 900 working farms and farmland parcels, hundreds of thousands of acres of productive forestland, and numerous parcels of community lands. This conservation work changes the lives of families, invigorates farms, launches new businesses, maintains scenic vistas, encourages recreational opportunity, and fosters a renewed sense of community. For more information or to become a member, contact: Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Avenue, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 223-5234. 

About Kingdom Trails Association 

Kingdom Trails was established as a non-profit membership organization by a group of visionary residents and area business leaders. The mission of Kingdom Trail Association is to manage and maintain a year-round sustainable trail system to provide recreational opportunities for the local community and visitors in partnership with local landowners. We offer educational opportunities, practice and promote stewardship, and create economic stimulation for Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom region. A volunteer Board of Directors leads the organization and year-round and seasonal staff members complete operations and trail management. All trail users are required to purchase a membership and get involved. Kingdom Trails publishes separate summer and winter trail maps. More information can be obtained by calling (802) 626-0737 or at www.kingdomtrails.org.