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Northeast Kingdom: Geotourism destination

He recalled Vermont's high scoring in the National Geographic Traveler's Destination Scorecard in 2004. Among the judges' comments was this apt summation: "One of the few places where a large percentage of the populace is committed to conservation/preservation over injudicious development."
Editor's Note: Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is the site of proposed wind plants in East Haven and Sheffield/Sutton.

The mystical land that inspired U.S. Sen. George Aiken to call it the Northeast Kingdom in 1949 remains as startlingly beautiful today.

Vermonters, either through experience or anecdotally, know the kingdom as the remote and wild northeastern corner of their state, way up there where the wild animals live and the mountain views seem to stretch endlessly.

We might selfishly want to keep this special place a secret to protect it and have it to ourselves, but there is a new, outside interest that could help preserve the kingdom's natural beauty and encourage economic growth at the same time.

The National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., has chosen the kingdom for a pioneering "geotourism" program, along with a small group of countries and U.S. regions such as Appalachia and the Sonora Desert. The Kingdom deserves this kind of recognition and it could be the kind of jump-start that would lead to plenty of positive long-term impacts, such as jobs and environmental protection.

National Geographic defines geotourism as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place -- its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The mystical land that inspired U.S. Sen. George Aiken to call it the Northeast Kingdom in 1949 remains as startlingly beautiful today.

Vermonters, either through experience or anecdotally, know the kingdom as the remote and wild northeastern corner of their state, way up there where the wild animals live and the mountain views seem to stretch endlessly.

We might selfishly want to keep this special place a secret to protect it and have it to ourselves, but there is a new, outside interest that could help preserve the kingdom's natural beauty and encourage economic growth at the same time.

The National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., has chosen the kingdom for a pioneering "geotourism" program, along with a small group of countries and U.S. regions such as Appalachia and the Sonora Desert. The Kingdom deserves this kind of recognition and it could be the kind of jump-start that would lead to plenty of positive long-term impacts, such as jobs and environmental protection.

National Geographic defines geotourism as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place -- its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents."

The pilot project's focus is to create a Geotourism Mapguide that would identify about 40 authentic places and points of interest in or next to Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties. These places could include historic downtowns, family-owned restaurants, great wildlife viewing spots and more.

This is a community project. Members of the public are urged to participate by nominating their favorite Northeast Kingdom site to be included in the map.

A local organization, the Nulhegan Gateway Association, is spearheading the program with the University of Vermont and the National Geographic Society through its Center for Sustainable Destinations. Jonathan Tourtellot, director of the center, said in an interview Wednesday that "Vermont is in the forefront of geotourism, and justifiably so because it is a place that cares about these things."

He recalled Vermont's high scoring in the National Geographic Traveler's Destination Scorecard in 2004. Among the judges' comments was this apt summation: "One of the few places where a large percentage of the populace is committed to conservation/preservation over injudicious development."

Tourtellot, who spoke at a travel industry conference in Vermont in 2004, predicted at the time that if carefully preserved, Vermont's natural landscape and heritage would make this state a coveted destination for travelers worldwide.

That enthusiasm is shared by people in the Northeast Kingdom who want to stay true to the kingdom's culture and environment while also helping promote jobs and healthy communities. About 20 local organizations have joined to form a geotourism alliance with the Nulhegan Gateway Association to guide the project.

If you love the Northeast Kingdom and know a place that should be included on the map, now is the time to become involved.

Submit your entry


Go to www.travelthekingdom.com and click on "Geotourism Mapguide Information;" or go to www.burlingtonfreepress.com and click "Opinion" and "Geotourism Mapguide."



Source: http://www.burlingtonfreepr...

APR 20 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2254-northeast-kingdom-geotourism-destination
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