- Courtesy Of Angus Mccusker
- The group's volunteers doing trail work
The Rochester/Randolph Sports Trail Alliance will be known as RASTA no longer, according to executive director Angus McCusker. The 8-year-old central Vermont bike-and-ski trail association is changing its name in deference to the Rastafari religious movement.
At its founding, the group was much smaller and adopted an acronym that was easy to remember and spoke to the location of its trails, he said. But the moniker isn't inclusive, McCusker said, and board members began to rethink it in the last year or so.
"There wasn't a lot of thought put into that original name," McCusker said. "Now it's like, OK, that was probably a mistake. How do we fix that and be transparent with everybody?"
In search of ideas, the group members spoke with Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki Nation, who told them there were not a lot of "historic reference points, geographically speaking," that would lend themselves to a new name, McCusker said.
The group is now soliciting ideas from members, who have until April 15 to submit them.
The board will then narrow the choices and open up the finalists to a vote in hopes of having a new name in time for the summer season.
"We'll have to come up with a new logo, too," McCusker said. "We're always open to any help."
RASTA was formed by outdoor enthusiasts who helped with Tropical Storm Irene recovery in the area. They ultimately created a trail network for hiking, biking and nonmotorized winter sports across nine towns. The group now boasts more than 200 members, many of whom help with trail construction and maintenance. The group partners with private landowners, state and federal forest agencies, and local bike and ski associations.
McCusker said it has expanded to offer afterschool programs for kids and works with One Planet and RiseVT, both of which "create opportunities to get kids outside and moving, off of their screens."
"We're focused on our core values — what we do, the work we do," he said. "We want whatever name we come up with to really, truly focus on that."