Bennington’s economy is struggling. Local merchants, Chamber of Commerce, Better Bennington Corporation and the Farmers’ Market collectively grope for ways to improve business. Recent unwanted national attention adds to woes.

Are you ready for the good news? Here it is: Woodford. Stop laughing!

Ever hear of Prospect Ski Area? If you are reading this paper you either ski there or know someone who does. How about Woodford State Park? Or the Long Trail? How about all those who flock to Woodford in winter to snowmobile? These attract people who spend money in Bennington’s stores.

Woodford’s demographics have quietly but significantly changed over the last 10 years. Woodford Lake Estates has evolved from a collection of unremarkable camps to an increasingly upscale community of full-time and second homeowners. Other neglected properties are being or have been improved. What does this mean for Bennington? Not just dollars, but a green industry of home improvement.

Woodford’s businesses are structured to attract tourists. Woodford Mountain General Store, Greenwood Lodge and Campsites and A-Z Snowmobiles are just a few local companies that cater to them. These businesses support tourism that ultimately means still more business for Bennington.

Bennington residents often regard Woodford as their "below the radar" playground. They come here to four-wheel, fish, hunt, hike, ski, snowshoe and revel in Woodford’s unspoiled beauty. I have heard some in Bennington say they do not want Woodford to become developed. Because National Forest Service has already purchased more than 90 percent of Woodford those fears will probably never be realized. Woodford will remain an unspoiled gem next to Bennington. Black flies are a myth we enjoy perpetuating.

More than any other surrounding community, Woodford contributes to Bennington.

(Sent by Smoke-Signal Relay from Dunville Hollow).

CHUCK SUSS

Woodford