University of Vermont Extension natural resources specialist Lisa Chaserecently received a grant to study rural recreation and tourism. Partnersin the collaborative study are Roel Boumans of the Gund Institute forEcological Economics; Todd Comen of the Institute for Integrated RuralTourism; Dick Foster of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food andMarkets; and Bruce Lauber of Cornell University’s Department of NaturalResources.The “Participatory Modeling of Recreation and Tourism in the NorthernForest” study received a total of $68,973. It will examine six sites –two in New York, two in Vermont, and two in New Hampshire — over athree-year period. Workshops in each community will focus on howrecreation and tourism are related to the economic, social, andenvironmental factors in each area, and how to make that relationship moreharmonious.Researchers will quantify the data gathered from the sites as they attemptto develop a generalized model of the inter-relationship betweenrecreational tourism and the communities it supports. Planned results ofthe study are a scholarly research article that examines the hypothesis ofa general model, a practical report for Northern Forest communities touse, and a user-friendly computer analysis that will help communitiesexamine the impact of recreation and tourism opportunities.The Northern Forest stretches from eastern Maine through New Hampshire andVermont into northern New York, a span of 26 million acres that is home toabout one million residents. NSRC received nearly $1.8 million in researchgrants to look at various aspects of the Northern Forest and thecommunities it supports; the money funds 25 proposals between $13,000 and$224,000. Don DeHayes, dean of the University of Vermont’s School ofNatural Resources, credits Senate Appropriations Committee on the Interiormembers Patrick Leahy (Vermont) and Judd Gregg (New Hampshire) with theorganization’s success in receiving this grant funding.The U.S. Forest Service has been monitoring the Northern Forest ecosystemfor 40 years at its Hubbard Brook research station. The NSRC grant expandson that work by “weaving together a network of sites and studies so we canbetter understand all the social, economic and natural challenges facingour region,” Gregg said.