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VOREC Community Grant Program

This grant program is not currently accepting applications.


Program Updates

June 9, 2022: Governor Scott Approves Additional $5 Million for Community Outdoor Recreation Projects

Governor Phil Scott signed into law the State Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget, which includes $5 million for the VOREC Community Grant Program. This funding is the fourth allocation of one-time state general funds to the Program, recognizing how important outdoor recreation is to supporting Vermont’s rural communities. The Program also received $5 million last year and awarded grants to 24 projects across the State. The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is excited to hold another round of applications for this Program. More information about what communities should expect, including timing for the next award cycle, will be posted here as it becomes available.


In the foreground two people are walking on a trail through the woods in autumn. Yellow leaves can be seen in the tree canopy and large rocks line the path in the background.The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Communities pilot grant program was established in 2018 when the Vermont legislature passed Act 194. Grant funding can be used for a variety of purposes with the result being a community(ies) that can show measurable success supporting and growing their local economies through leveraging outdoor recreation. 

The program is closely tied to the five pillars, or goals, of the VOREC steering committee which are to: 

  • Grow outdoor recreation-related businesses.
  • Increase participation in outdoor recreation activities among all demographics.
  • Strengthen the quality and extent of outdoor recreation resources.
  • Increase stewardship of outdoor recreation resources and environmental quality.
  • Promote and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.

Recognizing the wonderful variety and complexity of Vermont’s existing outdoor recreation infrastructure, assets, and use, it is important to note that outdoor recreation is defined by VOREC and the community grant program as leisure, sport and therapeutic recreation activities pursued outdoors, mainly in a natural setting. Outdoor Recreation encompasses a wide scope of potential activities and the role of VOREC and the grant program is to elevate the knowledge base and potential of traditional and growing outdoor recreation activities. 

Inclusion, openness, and innovation are fundamental principles of VOREC and we encourage creative and collaborative approaches. If you have a project idea and are unsure if it would qualify for a VOREC Community grant, please reach out to program staff who can help guide you. 

FY22 Program

Awards for this grant round were announced in March 2022.

    For this funding round, the VOREC Community Grant Program had $5,100,000 to help Vermont communities fully leverage their natural outdoor recreation assets. Grant minimums were set at $50,000 with no maximum. 

    Use the links below to navigate to specific information about the FY22 Program. 

    1. Award Recipients Announced
    2. Recordings from past information meetings
    3. 2021 program deadlines (updated on 10.15.21)
    4. Application requirements
    5. FAQs document (updated 8.20.21)

    Award Recipients Announced

    In March 2022, the 24 projects receiving FY22 VOREC Community Grants were announced! These recipients stood out amongst the 103 letters of interest the program received requesting over $21.5 million and 30 full applications that were submitted.

    In total, the VOREC Community Grant Program awarded $4,549,313 to applicants throughout Vermont. The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is working to determine the best use of the remaining $550,687 for supporting Vermont communities in building their economies with outdoor recreation at the center. 

    Recordings from Past Information Meetings

    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 the VOREC Community Grant Program and Enhancement of Recreational Stewardship and Access (ERSA) Trail Grant Program. They also responded to questions shared by prospective applicants. ​

    • Review the meeting presentation slides
    • Watch the recording - 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). 
    VCGP Application Development Meetings

    These meetings were held as opportunities for interested applicants to strengthen their VOREC Community Grant Program applications. The agenda for both meetings was the same. applicants had an opportunity to hear from each other, learn more about the letter of interest and how it will be reviewed, and learn about key elements of the full application to start thinking about now ahead of an invitation to fill out a full application. Meetings were recorded and are linked below for those who could not attend.  

    Application Development Meeting #1 - Held on Tuesday, August 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

    Application Development Meeting #2 - Held on Tuesday, August 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    Program Deadlines

    Application Deadlines

    • August 27, 2021 - Letters of Interest due by 5 p.m. 
    • Week of October 4, 2021 (updated) - FPR invites applicants with eligible projects to submit a full application. Only those invited may submit a full grant application.   
    • November 29, 2021 (updated- Full application due by 5 p.m.

    Ranking Meeting and (tentative) Grant Announcement Schedule

    • Week of December 13, 2021 – Grant Ranking Committee Meeting 
    • Week of December 20, 2021 – Grant Recommendations given to Commissioner 
    • March 28, 2022 (updated) – Grant Award announcements
    • TBD – Grant Agreements Prepared 
    • TBD – Grants Fully Executed 

    Application Requirements

    Applicants must establish a dedicated project team which includes a broad range of stakeholder representation (e.g. municipal staff/volunteers, education, businesses, RPCs, RDCs, outdoor recreation, social justice or environmental organizations).

    Who is eligible to be the “lead” applicant

    • Municipal entities  
      • Preferential consideration will be given to municipalities that are a state designated downtown or designated village center.
      • A consortium of municipalities is also welcome to apply. Consortiums must designate a “Sponsoring Municipality” in the application. The sponsoring municipality will be the team lead and fiscal agent.
    • Non-profit organizations 
      • Must demonstrate community support and include municipal team member(s)
      • Must be nonprofits with missions compatible with VOREC (recreation, conservation, trails, health among others)

    Project Eligibility

    Eligible Activities 

    • Wayfinding & Interpretation: Public access improvements including maps and/or other informational materials.
    • Environmental Stewardship: Program or material needs related to environmental quality and stewardship of recreation assets.
    • Recreational Programming: Program, material, or equipment support for existing or new outdoor recreation events and programs.
    • Land Acquisition: Acquisitions are limited to municipalities (ex. Buying/conserving a town forest).  
    • Capital Projects: Signage/kiosks/maps, or small scale/leveraged outdoor recreation infrastructure improvements.
    • Community Marketing: Marketing activities (a percentage of a project/the program).
    • Community Planning: Planning activities, including assessments or and/or mapping (a percentage of a project/the program; application cannot be for planning only). 
    • Administrative Support: Administrative activities (a percentage of a project/the program).

    Eligible Expenses Lead applicants are required to pay project costs up front and request re-imbursement from grant staff

    • Services of consultants, subgrantees and technical assistance providers
    • Outdoor recreation infrastructure improvements
    • Material or equipment to support outdoor recreation programs
    • Printing, website development, and event support
    • Securing public access through the acquisition of land, easements, or rights-of-way

    Ineligible Activities and Expenses

    • Standalone planning: planning done without any implementation elements
    • Political activities 
    • Expenses incurred before April 17, 2021 when funds for community grants became available
    • Alcohol or entertainment expenses
    • Regular/annual maintenance projects (unless substantial redevelopment)
    • Projects on state lands

    Project Preparedness

    Applicants must demonstrate they 

    • Have completed some prior planning and mapping of outdoor recreation assets. 
    • Have identified outdoor recreation as a component of their local economy through a local, regional, or statewide planning effort (town, regional, recreation plans, etc.).
    • Have dedicated staff and/or volunteer capacity to ensure long-term success of project.
    • Have a clear plan for stewardship of outdoor recreation resources.

    Documents

    FAQs Document (Updated 8.20.21) 

    2021 Community Grant Program Recommendations

    FPR Private Landowner Permission Form

    Press

    Explore VT From These 8 New Basecamps (Published in Vermont Sports on 11.17.20. See "What the VOREC Grant Will Do" sections for examples of past projects) 

    The Next Outdoor Playgrounds (Published in Vermont Sports on 05.06.22)

    The Next Adventure Towns, Part II (Published in Vermont Sports on 09.15.22)

    Contact Information

    For more information about the VOREC Community Grant Program please email the Recreation Grants team at the Vermont Department of Forests Parks and Recreation: ANR.FPRRecreationGrants@Vermont.Gov