Click here to fill out and print a donation form (PDF)
"Morde Me!" indeed. A local dairy farm family is offering the Black Fly Scullers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a 3-acre parcel of land on the Connecticut River which lies along the Black Fly Regatta course as shown below:
What started out six years ago as an excuse to get together with my friends and play on the river has now grown into something bigger than I could have imagined (and I have a fairly active imagination). With your help the Black Fly Scullers can build a world-class community boathouse.
By "world-class" I don't mean a big building with lots of shiny rowing shells, training rooms, and a function room. Look around you can find those anywhere. No, I envision a structure designed and built by local craftspeople from environmentally renewable resources. A building employing solar power as its primary energy source and to the greatest extent possible using biofuels to reduce carbon emissions. I see a community boathouse that pays homage, blends in with, and in some small measure preserves the slowly disappearing farming culture of the Northeast Kingdom in the Connecticut River Valley. A boathouse that promotes and preserves the recreational use of the Connecticut River for everyone. A boathouse that promotes a clean environment. Most of all I want to see a community that offers a warm welcome to anyone regardless of station in life who genuinely wants to experience the joy of sculling. If space and resources permit I envision a "caretaker studio" for a rower or coach who in exchange for lodging will reside on the premises during the busy summer months, maintain the premises and equipment, row on the river and share his or her knowledge with the rowers who come to learn or improve their skills. I see a place that the residents of the Northeast Kingdom will point to with pride. A place that could host regional, national, or world regattas. A place as unique in the rowing world as the Black Fly Regatta itself. That's "world-class."
In practical terms the Black Fly Scullers see three principal uses of the boathouse. One use will be for scullers who know how to row and own their own equipment. They will pay fair value membership dues and have full use of the facilities. The second use will be to store the "eights" and "fours" customarily seen at collegiate and Olympic competitions. The boats will be used by the local high schools, state colleges, and masters teams who will lease the premises. It is hoped these regional schools will partner with the Black Fly Scullers to actively develop rowing programs for all of their students. Students participating in the programs will learn invaluable life lessons and greatly improve their prospects for admission to the better colleges and universities in the United States. The third use will be for the community sculling program. It is hoped that revenues from private scullers and the school teams and donations from other programs will supplement the acquisition of sufficient and suitable equipment to provide anyone who is interested the opportunity to experience the joy of sculling regardless of her or his station in life.
I have marked out a 80' x 100' footprint for the boathouse itself which seems suitable for building. Preliminary indications are that an area suitable for on-site wastewater treatment lies just off the northeast corner of the footprint. We are now assessing whether and to what extent any wetlands limit the construction of a road and areas for parking. At this time money is needed to pay for engineers to better evaluate these issues. From there we need money for permits and architects. If the site passes environmental and structural muster we will buy the land and build.
The Black Fly Scullers will exhaustively pursue and state, federal, and private grants. If you know of any please e-mail the information to me.
So now I ask you to consider donating some of your hard-earned money to this project. Look in to your hearts and wallets (and your neighbor's wallet) and, if you can, make a donation or a pledge. Please inquire if your employer has a matching gift program; your donation will go farther. Simply fill out and print the PDF form below and mail your check payable to Black Fly Scullers, Inc. to 1382 Fellows Road, Danville, VT 05828.