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Governor Phil Scott Announces $6 Million in Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economy Grants

October 12, 2023

Berlin, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) today announced $6 million in funding  will be available to support communities across the state to strengthen their local outdoor recreation economies, including support for communities to recover flood impacted outdoor recreation resources and projects to expand outdoor equity.

The VOREC program – established by Governor Scott in 2017 and jointly led by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) – has opened the 2023 VOREC Community Grant Program and is now accepting applications.

"Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy is one of our strongest assets and is a key component of our economy and brand,” said Governor Scott. “These grants help us enhance Vermont’s outdoor recreation opportunities and support the economic development in communities in all 14 counties.”

“We are expanding the VOREC Community Grant Program to serve the needs of communities.” said Becca Washburn, FPR’s Director of Lands Administration and Recreation and chair of the VOREC Steering Committee. “From responding to the devastating flooding, to fostering innovative ideas for outdoor recreation and promoting inclusivity to access the outdoors, our goal is to build on the successes of past grants and continue to support the community-based outdoor recreation economy in Vermont.”

Four grant tracks will broaden VOREC Community Grant Program opportunities. Municipalities and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply to all grant tracks. Businesses are eligible to apply for outdoor equity grants only.

These tracks include:

  • Implementation: Backing innovative and cross-sector projects that are planned, permitted, and ready-to-go to enhance local outdoor recreation economies. $50,000 minimum.
  • Project Development: Supporting communities preparing to implement their great ideas through planning and scoping. $20,000 minimum.
  • Outdoor Equity: Focusing on reducing barriers and expanding opportunities for all people to access the outdoors with a particular emphasis on supporting BIPOC, LGBTQ+ individuals, those who speak languages beyond English, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities. No minimum.
  • Flood Recovery:  Aiding communities in rebuilding recreation infrastructure damaged during the devastating summer flooding, enhancing our outdoor economy resilience for the future. No minimum. Eligible expenses are reimbursable starting from July 11, 2023.

The Vermont Office of Racial Equity will collaborate on the administration of the Outdoor Equity track. Shalini Suryanarayana, Education and Outreach Associate for the Office said, “We are so pleased to see a focus on outdoor equity and the way equity considerations have been woven into all the other funding tracks. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work together to change the landscape in Vermont in ways that can lift everyone up.”

The online application portal is open through December 15, 2023, for all grant tracks. Projects should begin in summer 2024.

FPR is hosting a webinar on October 17 from 1 – 2 p.m. and will hold open office hours for interested applicants. To sign up for the webinar and to learn more, visit the VOREC Community Grant Program website.