The Vermont Ski Areas Association (VSAA) is proud to announce that the Ski Vermont Grant – awarded annually through the Working Lands Enterprise Fund administered by the Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets – will be given this year to KJ Pratt Logging and Tree Service, LLC, of Jericho.
The $15,000 grant will used to help KJ Pratt acquire a firewood processor, to expand the low-grade wood division of its business. This is important because so many local residents use wood to heat their homes, and KJ Pratt has in recent seasons had to rent a processor – which not only causes limited and delayed delivery capabilities but also results in wood that could be utilized locally for heating instead being sent out-of-state as hardwood pulp. The acquisition of a firewood processor will ensure most of KJ Pratt’s low-grade wood products will stay local and help sustain the Vermont economy.
Logging also has important benefits in the fight against climate change. Studies have shown that the older, mature trees typically harvested for firewood are less effective than younger, regrown trees at converting CO? into biomass. Responsible forestry and a healthy forest products market are important to maximizing the impact Vermont’s forests have on the carbon cycle and keeping the large tracts of forestland intact. Sourcing firewood locally also reduces the overall carbon footprint by decreasing transportation distance and helps mitigate the spread of invasive insects that can travel between habitat areas via firewood.
“It is important for the ski industry, as part of Vermont’s working landscape, to support other aspects of that landscape including farms and forestlands, for the health of our state’s economy and to preserve the beauty and character of our state,” said Molly Mahar, president of VSAA. “We are pleased to make this annual grant award through the Working Lands Enterprise Fund.”
The grant is made possible through proceeds from Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport program, which helped more than 3,000 children get involved in skiing and snowboarding during the 2018-19 season.
To date, Ski Vermont has donated $35,980 through the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. Last year’s Ski Vermont grant in the amount of $16,000 was given to Fairmont Farms in East Montpelier, to help fund its Life on the Farm Camp for children. In 2017, the Ski Vermont Grant in the amount of $19,980 was given to Larson Creamery.
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) and governing board (WLEB) were created by the legislature in 2012 to stimulate economic development in the agricultural and forestry sectors. WLEI is a collaborative effort between the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. WLEB, which finalizes all funding decisions, achieves this goal by making investments across businesses and service providers in critical leverage points which will have the highest return on investment. This initiative supports Vermont entrepreneurs by providing financial assistance to help innovate and grow their business while also creating jobs, building infrastructure, and promoting growth in economies and communities of Vermont’s working landscape.
Since its legislative inception in 2012, the Working Lands Enterprise Board has invested over $5.3 million dollars in 184 projects affecting every county of the state, leveraging over $8.6 million in additional funds.