Champlain Area Trails Announces Spring Travel Writing Contest

Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has launched its Spring Travel-Writing Contest. Your story could earn you $500. So share your experiences about the places you hiked, the restaurant you loved, the outfitter who went that extra mile, the bed and breakfast that felt like an escape into pure bliss, or the sublime concert you heard. We're looking for travel stories that will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

"We invite people to write about using the trails, patronizing local businesses, and visiting New York's Champlain Valley," said Chris Maron, the CATS Executive Director. "The winner will earn $500. And People's Choice prize is $250, so it is definitely worth the effort. The top entrees will be on our website and linked to many other websites, making it a good way to promote the Valley and give exposure to writers."

CATS is coordinating a series of travel writing contests to boost the local economy through outdoor recreation based tourism. "People research vacation destinations online. We want them to see these articles about New York's Champlain Valley and get inspired to come here, enjoy the outdoors, visit local businesses, and tell others about this beautiful area," added Maron.

The trail group's first travel writing contest concluded in December, with first prize awarded for an article jointly written by a ninth grade student and his tutor in Westport. The People's Choice prize went to a young mother who named her baby while hiking a CATS trail. "In these contests, we especially want writers to describe their experiences at local businesses and cultural/historic sites as well as walking around towns and meeting people," said contest coordinator Gretel Schueller. "The contest is about the wonderful quality of life we have here in the Valley, which includes the trails. We want stories that will inform and inspire people to visit this area."

CATS wants to compile travel articles describing visits throughout the year to encourage more year-round tourism. "Look. It's really simple," said Maron, "the Champlain Valley is an amazing place every day of the year. The more our contests encourage people to write about this area, the sooner we will have more visitors, more kids in the schools, and thriving year-round businesses."

Contest deadline is April 30. Winners will be awarded their prizes at the Celebrate Champlain Area Trails Event in Essex on National Trails Day, June 2. Entrants should submit 900- to 1,500-word articles with three to six photos, or a short video. For full details, please visit All contest-related questions can be sent to

The CATS Travel Contest is underwritten with a grant from the J.C. Kellogg Foundation. CATS is a local non-profit organization whose purpose is to develop hiking/skiing trails that link Champlain Valley communities, connect people to nature, promote economic vitality, and protect habitat and scenic vistas. 

For more information about CATS, visit