Enhancement of Recreation Stewardship and Access (ERSA) Trail Grants


The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) will award grants to non-profit organizations and municipalities around the state for recreational trail projects that will improve recreational trail stewardship, access, and accessibility.

The intent of this funding is to support these organizations and communities as they work to steward their trails and improve trail accessibility for this generation and the next, and help ensure a healthy economic recovery with trail development and maintenance rooted in environmental quality.

2021 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding Information Meeting

This meeting was held on Monday, July 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. During the meeting staff from the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation shared detailed information about both the VOREC Community Grant Program and Enhancement of Recreational Stewardship and Access (ERSA) Trail Grant Program. They also responded to questions shared by perspective applicants. ​

  • Review the meeting presentation slides
  • Watch the recording on YouTube - Welcome from Commissioner Snyder (0:13:56). Review of Key deadlines (00:20:15). Review of VOREC Community Grant Program (00:22:50). Review of ERSA Trail Grant Program (00:39:34). Supplemental application documents review (00:49:53). Q&A discussion begins (00:52:16). 

ERSA Trail Grant Application Development Meetings

These meetings were held as opportunities for interested applicants to strengthen their grant applications.  Each meeting covered the same agenda.  Interested applicants who attended had an opportunity to hear from eachother, learn more about the letter of interest and important points for the full application to start thinking about now.   

ERSA Trail Grant Application Development Meeting #1 - Held on Thursday, August 5, 2021 from 3PM - 4:30PM

​ERSA Trail Grant Application Meeting #2 - Held on Wednesday, August 11 from 6PM - 7:30PM

Program Deadlines (Updated 10-15-2021)

  • Friday, August 27 - Letters of Interest due - Submit your letter of interest by clicking here (Note:  There is a limit of 200,000 characters across all long form questions so please keep responses clear and succinct.)
  • Week of October 4 (updated) - FPR invites applicants with eligible projects to submit a full application.  Only those invited may submit a full grant application. 
  • Monday, November 29 by 5 PM EST (updated) - Full applications due by 5 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday November 29.  

​​​ERSA Ranking Meeting and (tentative) Grant Announcement Schedule 

  • Week of December 13, 2021 - ERSA Trail Grant Ranking Committee Meeting
  • Week of December 20, 2021 – ERSA Trail Funding Recommendations given to Commissioner
  • Week of January 10, 2022 – ERSA Trail Grant Award announcements
  • February – March – ERSA Trail Grant Agreements Prepared
  • April –  Target Date for Fully Executed Grants 

Who is Eligible:

Non-profit organizations and municipal entities

Landownership Types

With sufficient written landowner permissions given to applicants, grants will be awarded for work on trails over privately-owned properties and/or conserved parcels of privately owned land, and/or and city, town, state, or federal properties. 

Eligible Trail Project Activities

  • Major trail maintenance or reconstruction/renovation of existing trails;
  • New construction of trails, trail linkages, or new trailhead parking areas and/or new trailside facilities that result in improving access or accessibility for new or underserved populations;
  • Tool purchases and equipment rentals to support the above;
  • Educational projects or educational components that are trail-related and help develop or improve trail stewardship, access, or accessibility for new or underserved populations; may include new programs, trail-user information, public information about trail safety, appropriate trail use, managed and allowable uses, or mapping services for public use.
  • Trail corridor/trail easement acquisitions to support the above in conformance with the Sate’s real property acquisition policies and public right-of-way procedures.

Ineligible Project Activities and Expenses that are Not Permissible

  • Campground or park facilities; 
  • Clothing, event support, food/beverages, publicity, political activities
  • Condemnation of any kind of interest in property;
  • Construction of recreational trails on land where there is no landowner permission and support not sufficiently given to the applicant for work associated with the proposed project and for future public access and public use, or where the proposed trail use is not permitted;
  • Equipment purchases;
  • Feasibility studies (or stand-alone planning);
  • General land acquisition;
  • Law enforcement;
  • An organization or municipality’s operational expenses.
  • Picnic facilities; 
  • Play equipment; 
  • Promotional items; 

Grant Amounts

Minimum of $25,000 with no maximum – No match is required

Contact Information:

For more information about the Enhancement of Recreational Stewardship and Access (ERSA) Trail Grant Program please contact:  Sherry Smecker Winnie, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2, Montpelier, VT  05620-3801 Cell Phone: 802-760-8450 or E-mail:  sherry.winnie@vermont.gov






Becca Washburn

Director of Lands Administration and Recreation
1 National Life Dr, Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620
(802) 793-3432