The scenery, wooded country roads, nature trails, wildlife viewing, all kinds of trails for all seasons.

-Lancaster

The North Country Plan

March 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM

North Country statistics paint a dismal picture – joblessness, the growing obesity problem, low education levels, the list goes on. But there is another side to the picture of who and what the North Country is - the rural heritage unique to the Northern Forest, the rugged individualists inseparable from the landscape. This community character is more closely aligned with that of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and the Maine Woods than it is the rest of New Hampshire. Those that moved into New Hampshire’s North Country, like many of those who remained behind during the exodus to the farmlands of the Midwest and to the industries of the cities, did so because of a love for the land and its people, for a way of life they chose over higher earning potential or better growing conditions somewhere else. Surveys and public meetings time after time focus on the sense of community residents’ feel in the North Country, where neighbors help neighbors and respect the right to privacy, and on the beautiful unpolluted surroundings with abundant recreational opportunities that are an important foundation of the economy and the quality of life.


Authors such as Robert E. Pike and Howard Frank Mosher, who have brought the region’s history and characters to life for us, have at first glance not painted a rosy picture for us, but one that inspires based on the resiliency of the human spirit, to tough it out, to make do and keep going. As regional planners we’ve seen this resilience reflected in participation in programs that make our communities an even better place to live while enhancing and building upon both our villages and the surrounding working landscape– Safe Routes to School, Scenic Byways, Main Street, Rails to Trails, the Rivers Management and Protection Program. We’ve seen it in support for high speed internet and business incubators, and in ideas growing out of our centers for higher education. We’ve seen it in new ways to use the land to make a living- where wind power, biomass, and combined heat and power are everyday terms; where a mill’s new lease on life was powered by landfill methane. North Country wind farms use the rugged landscape to lower property taxes for residents, and biomass plants support the forest products heritage.


Our challenge as planners today will be to build upon the strengths of the North Country and its people to grow jobs, and improve opportunities for our children so they too can choose whether to stay or go, so that choosing to stay will not preclude gainful employment, and where many will choose to raise their own families here. This rebirth of the North Country economy will require strategic investment of limited resources to ensure that the region’s innovators and entrepreneurs are not stifled by lack of high speed internet, or by socioeconomic statistics that scare away young families with creative minds. The North Country Plan cannot be a cookie cutter plan recycling the best practices of Anytown USA. It needs to be as unique as, and as resilient as, the North Country character.



Tags: Regional Planning Community and Economic Vitality Outreach NCC
Category: North Country Council

Please add a comment

Leave a Reply



(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)


Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


 

What is your vision for where you live, work, and visit in New Hampshire?

Choose your area in New Hampshire.

How are you connected to this area?

What is best about this area?

What could make this area even better?

Want more information about granite state future?

Yes

No

First Name

Email

Last Name

Address

Please type the characters from the image in the box below.

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.

Close