Outstanding State Trail Program



Vermont continues to carry out effective management of RTP projects and grants and has demonstrated excellence in its financial accountability. Vermont has had success in audits. Vermont ensures projects are completed in a timely manner and then closed out. And Vermont has done this by establishing, evaluating, and implementing effective operating systems.

What sets Vermont apart from all the rest, to make the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) as successful as it is, is the way communication, outreach, partnerships and organizational development have been performed.

In Vermont, it would not be possible if it were not for the collaboration among leadership that exists in all the players who help make this happen.

Passionate leadership within the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation has created effective working relationships that support the work of numerous partnerships in this small state.

These partnerships have made recreational trails become significant recreational infrastructure in this state for people to come to experience, from in-state, from other states, and from all over the world.

Vermont supports a wide spectrum of trail interests through the administration of the Recreational Trails Program and its Recreation programs and policies. We serve a multitude of diverse interests, ages and abilities, and communities both large and small in this rural state, both non-motorized and motorized.

Vermont has seen success in its active coordination with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in trail projects. RTP funding has supported some amazing projects in the Green Mountain National Forest over the past few years, including:

  • Backcountry ski glades at Brandon Gap
  • Mountain bike trail development at Blueberry Lake in Warren, VT
  • Mountain bike trails in Rochester, VT
  • Woodford ATV Collaboration project:

Vermont received the 2017 Honor Award from USFS Eastern Region/Northeastern Area for the Brandon Gap Backcountry Access Project for the contribution of RTP funds and the coordination of people and organizations to support this project.

The 2019 USFS Eastern Region Volunteer Service Award in the Citizen Stewardship & Partnerships category has been given to Michael Smith, in Vermont, for his work on the South of Route 9 ATV trails project in Woodford, Vermont with funding contributed from the RTP.

RTP funds support a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, running, mountain biking, cross-country and back-country skiing, equestrian use, ATV and snowmobiling, paddling along Lake Champlain, the Connecticut River and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, getting out onto nature-based interpretive trails, and using multi-use trails that connect people to downtown destinations or scenic treasures in the State.

This year, Vermont awarded RTP funds to 12 community trail projects to develop and maintain trails all around Vermont and another 48 trail projects in Vermont State Parks and State Forests across all five regions of the State. One educational grant was awarded for the Vermont All-Terrain Sportsman's Association (VASA) to host a 3-day National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Corps Great Trails Workshop this June to teach best practices in planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and managing ATV trails, one day in the classroom, two days on the ground.

Vermont has established significant trail-focused recreation all around the State, partnering with other State agencies and statewide organizations.

We've worked closely with VTrans and FHWA to coordinate project funding on an annual basis since the inception of this program.

Vermont demonstrates active coordination with other Federal and State programs, leveraging LWCF funds, scenic byway activities in Smugglers Notch with the Barnes Camp Boardwalk and Long Trail Relocation project connected to the development of the Barnes Camp Visitor Center on Route 108, Stowe VT.

RTP leverages other state and private funds to maximize capacity to develop and maintain trail infrastructure used for numerous events, activities, sports and leisurely activities for so many people to enjoy.

The many benefits of trails have been well publicized all around the State in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development, Department of Health, Vermont State Parks, Agency of Natural Resources;

RTP supports municipal projects and non-profit organizations who work collaboratively to strengthen statewide networks of trails to connect people to place.

RTP supports established statewide trail organizations who, with their local chapters have developed and maintained trails for public use, year after year, such as the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, Green Mountain Club, and the Catamount Trails Association.

Vermont has created and sustained long-standing partnerships with youth service conservation organizations, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and the North Woods Stewardship Center to put both these youth corps organizations' work crews out on some of the State's priority trail projects, funded through the RTP, in State Parks and State Forests.

More winners of this award

2021: Maryland State Recreational Trails Program

2017: Arizona State Parks and Trails

2015: Montana

2015: Washington

2013: West Virginia

2012: Tennessee Greenways and Trails Program

2011: California

2010: Vermont

2009: Oregon

664 views • posted 06/11/2019