Recreation Economy for Rural Communities

Help us revitalize our Main Street through outdoor recreation!

In 2022, the City of Monte Vista was selected as one of 25 small and rural communities across the country to receive planning assistance through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) Program, which helps communities identify strategies to grow their outdoor recreation economies and revitalize main streets. RERC planning assistance involves a series of in person, or in some cases virtual, working sessions with each community that brings together federal and state agencies with local stakeholders to identify strategies to the outdoor recreation economy and assets as a catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. This past February, the Monte Vista Steering Committee invited the community, state and federal partners to bring diverse voices together to create a community-driven action plan to grow the outdoor recreation economy, create opportunities for physical activity and health, revitalize Monte Vista’s Historic Downtown and Main Streets, and become better stewards of our natural resources. Topics of discussion included: community values, assets, challenges, and visions for the future; improving connectivity between neighborhoods, recreation assets, and to downtown; activating and growing businesses in downtown; and promoting activities and events that highlight recreation assets to residents and market Monte Vista as the central hub of the San Luis Valley!

Video produced by Maddy Ahlborn, SLV GO!

The steering committee and planning assistance team are currently developing this action plan based on the input and strategies discussed at the community workshop.

The Monte Vista Steering Committee would like to thank the incredible planning assistance team at EPA, USDA Forest Service, the Northern Border Regional Commission, The Conservation Fund, and EPR, PC for collectively bringing our community together during the last year to develop this Action Plan to further foster our Recreational Economy.

Program Overview

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) have selected 10 communities under the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program to help revitalize their Main Streets through outdoor recreation.[1] This planning assistance program is designed to foster environmentally friendly community development and Main Street revitalization through conservation and sustainable use of public or private forests or other natural resources, such as:

  • Ensuring residents, including young people, have connections and opportunities related to nearby outdoor assets to foster community pride, good stewardship, and local economic and health benefits.
  • Creating or expanding trail networks to attract overnight visitors and new businesses and foster use by residents.
  • Developing in-town amenities, such as broadband service, housing, or shops, restaurants, or breweries, to serve residents and attract new visitors and residents with an interest in nearby outdoor assets.
  • Marketing Main Street as a gateway to nearby natural lands to capture and amplify outdoor recreation dollars.
  • Working with the community to develop a community consensus on the management of outdoor assets to reduce potential conflicts and ensure sustainable use of resources.
  • Ensuring that all residents and visitors, particularly those who have not historically been engaged in outdoor recreation and Main Street revitalization efforts, have equitable access to and can benefit from the growing outdoor recreation economy.