(The Center Square) — Outdoor recreation businesses in Vermont will see an influx of federal dollars, Gov. Phil Scott said.
The governor announced 24 companies have been selected by the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative to receive grants in 11 of the state’s 14 counties to boost the outdoor economy as tourist season approaches.
“Vermont’s natural beauty combined with outdoor recreation opportunities are economic engines for our state and a driving force behind why people visit and live in Vermont,” Scott said in the press release. “These grants will help continue to connect hiking trails to downtown areas, develop new recreational facilities and promote everything we have to offer.”
The selected projects will advance outdoor-related business, recreational resources, health and wellness initiatives and environmental protection, according to the press release.
According to the press release, the grant program is designed to help communities make full use of local outdoor recreation spots to become outdoor recreation-friendly communities.
The organization’s steering committee was developed by Scott in 2017 to help manage the state’s outdoor recreation activities and received state budget investments in 2021 that enabled grants of up to $5 million, according to the press release. The investment tripled the size of the program.
“The significant funding allocated to this round encouraged communities to think big to take advantage of outdoor recreation and the many benefits that come from it, from economic impacts to environmental protection and public health,” said the VOREC Chair and Vermont Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder in the release. “This is an exciting time for Vermont: not only are we recognizing the importance of outdoor recreation in new ways, but we are also taking meaningful opportunities to make outdoor recreation even stronger and more accessible.”
Grant recipients include the completion of the Vermont Trail master plan and another for piloting the Vermont River Access Collaborative, according to the press release.
The funding will be used to complete projects that connect and advance statewide recreational facilities that enable better wayfinding, programming and resources that connect pedestrians and cyclists accessing the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, according to the press release.
The Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance will use state dollars to support the workforce and develop outdoor businesses through tech programs, according to the press release.
According to the press release, Burlington will use $300,000 from the grant program for equipment rental programs and tool rentals. In addition, Ascutney Outdoors will use $190,500 to provide free ski equipment rentals to children.
In Bennington County, Pownal will receive $375,000 to create a 79-acre recreation area and trail system with parking lots, an information kiosk and a pedestrian bridge.