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Bristol Legion honors Porter Knight

PORTER KNIGHT ACCEPTS the American Legion Post No. 19’s Above and Beyond Award from Ron LaRose on May 25 at Memorial Park in Bristol.

The BTN offers gorgeous views and access to natural, historical and cultural gems. It has been enormously rewarding to see so many people discovering and enjoying the trail, especially this past year.
— Porter Knight

BRISTOL — Porter Knight of Bristol was recently presented with the “Above and Beyond Award” from American Legion Post No. 19. The Bristol Conservation Commission nominated Knight for her work spearheading the Bristol Trail Network. As an officer of the Bristol Recreation Club, Knight has cared deeply about providing outdoor recreation opportunities for residents in the 5-town area, but she had an even bigger vision for an interconnected series of hiking trails in and around Bristol village that could serve as a new focal point for outdoor recreation in our town.

The kickoff meeting for the Bristol Trail Network was in 2017, and in only a few summers Knight has led the BTN group to build trail segments that halfway encircle the village. Riverside trail segments including the River Bend, Coffin Factory and Basin Street loops were frequented by locals in search of nearby socially distanced recreation during the pandemic. Last fall, seventh-graders from Mount Abraham Union Middle School created a Land Art Exhibition along the High School Trail and Business Park Loop to celebrate nature and build connections to community.

“Developing the Bristol Trail Network has truly been a joyful project,” Knight said. “The BTN offers gorgeous views and access to natural, historical and cultural gems. It has been enormously rewarding to see so many people discovering and enjoying the trail, especially this past year.”

Knight’s focus extends beyond trail building to relationship building. She has been careful to respect the interests of landowners and secured permission for trail crossings through private property. Through trail adoption programs and grant writing, she has established systems that will help to maintain the trails in perpetuity. More than a dozen grants have brought tens of thousands of dollars into the community. Knight and her volunteers have not just been out there building trails but working with the community to build something meaningful that will endure.

Each year the American Legion Post No. 19 solicits invitations to nominate a person in the 5-town community who goes above and beyond expectations in the performance of their duties. The plaque inscription reads “In Recognition of Selfless Service and Tireless Commitment in Your Community.” Bristol Conservation Commission Chair Carolyn Dash noted, “We doubt Porter Knight ever dreamed her work could mean so much to so many people. We were very proud to nominate her for this community award.”

As the Bristol Recreation Club celebrates its 100th birthday this year, the Bristol Trail Network continues to develop trails in the village and beyond, expanding opportunities for residents to recreate outdoors and appreciate the many natural resources in Bristol.

For more information about the Bristol Trail Network, or to volunteer, visit bristolrecclub.org/bristol-trail-network.

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