By Chris Bates, Local Writer
Being in the outdoors professionally for thirty one years, along with traveling all over the country to enjoying the great outdoors, I came to Bennington in 2012 and un be knownst to me I ended up right smack dab in the Northeasts outdoor mecca.
Following along with the local politics here in Bennington I have come to understand that many ideas have been tried to gain the town its identity such as music, arts and crafts along with the many fine festivals the town offers, for what I call a flash in the pan idea, its great to get people to come for the week end then what ?
The one idea that has never been explored is “come to Bennington and enjoy the great outdoors”
The town of Bennington has some of the finest fishing in the state of Vermont let alone in the entire Northeast, the deer hunting in Bennington and Bennington county proved to be a banner year with 4.34 deer per square mile along with the recognition of the most deer harvested state wide, and with one hundred thousand turkey hunters invading Vermont during the month of May should be enough to peak interest in our town leaders let alone the constuancy here in this town of 15,000 .
The town of Bennington also has a trail head off of north branch street that leads to some of the best hiking trails in the country right hear in our own backyard along with miles of bike trail’s here as well through out Bennington and Bennington county.
“We have a lot of resources we have not explored yet for the outdoors” said Michael Harrington economic development director, “Its a viable asset that should be looked into further”
“Chris , we are twenty minutes from Orvis, thirty five minutes from the outlet stores in Manchester and if you go south thirty five minutes your in North Adams” said Michael Harrington.
“So the possibility of enjoying the great outdoors here in Bennington along with the complimenting surrounding towns and events would be the complete package” he said
In Vermont the outdoor industry provides 35,000 jobs and is responsible for 12% of the state gross product and nationally it gross's (two hundred eighty seven billion dollars) and generates 187,000,000.00 in tax revenue, which is nothing to look down on, how much of that tax revenue is Bennington receiving?
The days of the factorys and blue collar employees are long gone here in Bennington , when you become comfortable in a way of life, you lose sight of whats going on around you, we live in a beautiful town with a picturesqe back drop with that Norman Rockwell feel that so many talk about.
We have the right ingredeints to make this a new hustling and bustling town that outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country will want to come and enjoy the great outdoors, from our hiking trails to our fantastic fishing and everything in between to see what Bennington has to offer in a place we all call home.
My question to the town of Bennington is “are you willing to give this outdoor idea a good look” ?