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$6.3 Million in VOREC Grants Boost Outdoor Recreation Across Vermont, Supporting 51 Projects

For Immediate Release – May 29, 2024

Jackie Dagger, VOREC Program Manager
Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, 802-636-7410 

$6.3 Million in VOREC Grants Boost Outdoor Recreation 
Across Vermont, Supporting 51 Projects

Montpelier, VT – Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) today announced 51 new recipients of the VOREC Community Grant Program. These projects mark an investment of over $6 million into Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy.

"These grants are an investment in Vermont," said Secretary Moore. "They will help communities revitalize their outdoor recreation assets, create jobs, improve access to nature for Vermonters and visitors alike, and build stronger, more resilient communities for years to come."

Projects awarded in this year’s announcement fall into one of four tracks – Implementation, Project Development, Outdoor Equity, and Flood Recovery. Awarded projects will enhance recreation economies in rural, mid-size and urban communities, lay the groundwork for future community-based projects, expand access to outdoor recreation for all people, and help communities and trail organizations recover from the flooding of summer 2023.

“We are pleased to support so many amazing projects across Vermont,” said Becca Washburn, Chair of the VOREC Steering Committee and Director of Lands Administration and Recreation for the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. “The interest in the program, as well as the strength of the applications demonstrates the opportunity communities from Grand Isle to Brattleboro see in investing in the connection between outdoor recreation and economic benefits.”

Awarded projects will support communities in 13 of Vermont’s counties, along with eight statewide projects. Notable projects include:

  • Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) for opening almost the entire VAST system after suffering damage during the 2023 flooding.
  • A coalition of partners led by the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council will be building an accessibility hub for trail users and managers.
  • Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond for engineering and design for a new surface lift.
  • Franklin County Trails Alliance to plan connections from the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the St. Albans region.

For the first time, the grant program also encouraged projects focused on outdoor equity to apply to a dedicated funding track. Grant recipient, Arwen Turner, Executive Director of Come Alive Outside, said:

“Come Alive Outside is thrilled to receive funding through the VOREC Community Grant Program’s Outdoor Equity track. This funding supports the continued work of Come Alive Outside’s Outdoors For All Initiative, a collective of organizations, businesses, and advisors with lived experience representing underserved and underrepresented populations in outdoor recreation. This funding will boost the collective’s ability to develop both simple and highly innovative solutions that make accessing the health, wellness, and joy benefits of outdoor activities in Rutland more equitable.”  

Governor Scott established the VOREC Steering Committee by executive order in June 2017 to bring together a broad set of outdoor recreation stakeholders to promote stewardship of state recreation assets and market Vermont’s outdoor recreation values and attributes to effectively foster responsible and sustainable economic growth. The VOREC Community Grant Program became one of the first and highest priorities of the committee. This grant round is the program’s fourth and most significant investment in communities across the state.

Learn more about the VOREC Community Grant Program and watch for future funding opportunities.


Announcement of 2023 VOREC Community Grant Recipients


$         65,000.00

Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center
Develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the Outdoor Center to ensure its viability as a community recreation hub.

 $       248,231.00

Town of Cornwall
Develop a public recreation area on a parcel abutting the Cornwall Elementary School.

 $       221,500.00

Lincoln Sports, Inc.
Build a multi-use trail system including an ADA-compliant trail and a new parking lot that integrates with Lincoln Sports’ publicly available sports facilities.

 $         63,233.34

Middlebury Area Land Trust
Replace and improve the resilience of trails and infrastructure within Wright Park that were damaged in the summer 2023 floods.



$       400,000.00

Manchester Riverwalk Association
Construct an ADA-compliant pedestrian and bike bridge over the Battenkill River.



$       192,000.00

Friends of Dog Mountain
Revitalize and sustain the renowned 3-mile trail system on Dog Mountain's 150-acre property.

 $         74,927.00

Kingdom Trail Association
Work with Powered Magazine and the Kingdom East School District to expand access to mountain biking for adults and youth through free-of-charge mountain bike clinics, summer camps, and afterschool programs.



$         80,000.00

Town of Essex
In partnership with Fellowship of the Wheel, implement a scoping study for connecting the Saxon Hill area to the Essex Town Center.

 $       126,500.00

Catamount Outdoor Family Center
Create architectural, engineering and landscaping plans for a new main building at the Catamount Outdoor Family Center.

 $         32,900.00

Cochran's Ski Area
Complete the design, engineering plans and permitting for a new surface lift.

 $         29,286.00

Munt Family Room
Expand and improve outdoor recreation programming at the Munt Family Room for families and children with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

 $         14,000.00

Petra Cliffs Climbing Center and Mountaineering School
Acquire new mobility and adaptive climbing gear for use in Petra Cliffs programming.

 $       204,600.00

Shelburne Farms
Improve accessibility to Shelburne Farms facilities.

 $         14,290.00

Town of Charlotte
Replace the septic system at the Town Beach that failed due to the flooding in summer 2023.

 $       184,650.00

Town of Milton
Add new accessible recreation facilities and multi-lingual universally-designed trail signage to town recreation properties, and develop a marketing and programming plan focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in Milton’s outdoor recreational spaces.



$         42,500.00

Franklin County Trails Alliance
Facilitate a visioning and planning process to connect St. Albans-area recreation facilities to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.

 $       159,000.00

The DREAM Project
Expand capacity and build infrastructure to bolster programming at Camp DREAM.



$         57,926.19

Healthy Islands and Community Support
Upgrade the skating rink and oval in North Hero village so that skating can be available through more of the winter season.



$         61,310.00

Friends of Stowe Green Mountain Adaptive Sports
Purchase adaptive equipment that allows people with complex disabilities to experience snow sports.

 $         30,266.00

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Replace and improve the resiliency of two portage trails along the Lamoille River that were damaged in the summer 2023 floods.

 $         27,700.00

Town of Johnson
Conduct a scoping study to assess potential connections from the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the Johnson Town Center.

 $         23,095.39

Town of Morristown
Purchase a gear trailer and new gear to replace the outdoor gear available at Oxbow Park that was lost and damaged in the summer 2023 floods.



$         26,682.00

Orange County Restorative Justice
Initiate the Re-Entry Healthy Lifestyles Outdoor Pilot Program, which will offer safe, supportive, substance free, pro-social outdoor programming and recreation for previously incarcerated participants.

 $         48,335.00

Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary
Host a weekend gathering for members of Vermont's BIPOC community to learn and share about native plants, wildlife, tracking, hiking, and recreating outdoors.

 $       106,000.00

Town of Bradford
Conduct a master plan for Elizabeth's Park in downtown Bradford.



$       200,000.00

Newport City Downtown Development
Establish the Newport Outdoor Recreation Collaborative and collectively create and share opportunities for recreation based from downtown Newport.

 $       195,700.00

NorthWoods Stewardship Center
Improve access to Northwoods Stewardship Center facilities, build an All-Persons trail and improve the inclusiveness of NWSC's outdoor education programming.

 $       182,000.00

Town of Glover
Expand infrastructure at Glover Park to include a sensory trail and all-access outdoor play facilities.



$       298,950.00

Come Alive Outside
Provide capacity and programming support to Come Alive Outside's outdoor equity efforts in Rutland County.

 $       365,680.00

Merck Forest and Farmland Center
Install a universal access trail a boardwalk to connect Mettawee Community School to Merck Forest and Farmland Center's trail network and property.

 $         92,298.50

Smokey House Center
Develop a community-informed plan to revitalize Smokey House’s degraded trail system and design a trail-based community science program.

 $         84,000.00

Town of Killington
Build a critical connection between the Sherburne Parking Lot and Pesky Cairn trails.



$       101,860.00

Friends of the Winooski River, Inc.
Conduct a master and design plan for river access in Barre City so that all residents can access and enjoy the Winooski River.

 $           5,261.88

North Branch Nature Center
Repair and make more resilient the recreation infrastructure at North Branch Nature Center that was damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $         25,000.00

Norwich University
Repair and make more resilient a mountain bike trail at Shaw Outdoor Center that was damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $         14,548.00

Town of Cabot
Restore and improve Cabot's Recreation Field that was damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $         75,000.00

Town of Cabot Trails Committee
Replace and make more resilient two bridges in the Cabot Trails network that were damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $         49,800.00

Town of Waterbury
Repair and make more resilient a soccer field and playground that were damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $       123,762.25

Wrightsville Beach Recreation District
Purchase and outfit a mobile facility for outdoor gear rentals to replace the facilities damaged during the floods of Summer 2023.



$       227,700.00

Town of Wilmington
Upgrade and improve the accessibility of the Hoot, Toot, and Whistle Rail trail.

 $         58,475.00

Windham Foundation
Conduct an outdoor recreation planning process for the Village of Grafton including connections to trails, the village center and improving accessibility.



$       100,000.00

Green Mountain Horse Association
Develop a flood mitigation and management plan for the Green Mountain Horse Association’s main campus in South Woodstock.

 $        44,166.00

Hartland Winter Trails
Repair and make more resilient the Hartland Winter Trail system that was damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.



$         21,504.00

Catamount Trail Association
Purchase new ski equipment to sustain and expand Catamount Trail Association's youth learn to ski programs.

 $       196,585.00

CRO Planning & Design
Conduct a recreator survey and economic impact analysis for adaptive recreation in Vermont.

 $         27,500.00

Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
Design and deliver an Inclusive Spaces Audit Workshop for outdoor recreation providers who manage trails, campgrounds, marinas, visitor centers, etc.

 $       226,885.00

Unlikely Riders
Secure a temporary gear closet for BIPOC skiers and riders, conduct a strategic planning process for a permanent base lodge facility and expand the capacity of Unlikely Riders.

 $       317,400.00

Vermont ATV Sportsman's Association
Repair and make more resilient seven sections of trail within the VASA network that were damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $         90,887.00

Vermont Association of Snow Travelers
Repair and make more resilient six sections of trail within the VAST network that were damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.

 $       644,437.00

Vermont Trails and Greenways Council
In partnership with Vermont Adaptive, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Upper Valley Trails Alliance, and Community Geo, develop a statewide trail accessibility hub and complete detailed trail assessments in order to promote and share high-quality information about trail access across the state.

 $        59,994.95

Vermont Mountain Bike Association
Repair and make more resilient nine sections of trail within the VMBA network that were damaged in the floods of Summer 2023.