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Grant Program Funds Trail Sustainability Projects in Vermont

Ten recreation organizations across Vermont will receive grants to improve trail sustainability, thanks to a Northern Forest Center program funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The first round of grants from the Center’s Sustainable Vermont Trails program will distribute $180,000, and the multi-year program will grant a total of $370,000 over time.

Burrows Trail erosion - Green Mtn Club project

 “We’re thrilled to support the great work of trail organizations in Vermont and assist them in making trails that are more durable, sustainable, and accessible,” said Joe Fox, the Center’s Outdoor Recreation manager.

The program is supporting projects 10 projects across the state including repairing hiking trails in town forests, installing an elevated boardwalk in a wetland, mitigating erosion in a mountain bike trail network, and rebuilding the Burrows Trail up Camel’s Hump. 

“For more than 80 years, NRCS has been committed to ‘helping people, help the land,’” said Travis Thomason, Vermont State Conservationist at NRCS. “We are proud to stand with the Northern Forest Center and the work they are doing to help Vermonters enjoy the beautiful landscapes of our state.” 

Funding for the grants was the result of Congressionally Directed Spending secured by Senator Patrick Leahy in 2022.

“We are excited to begin planning for the boardwalk construction!” said Misha Golfman, executive director of Mad River Path in Waitsfield, which is receiving $8,081. “The Spaulding Greenway Section of the Path serves the affordable housing community of Mad Meadows and it feels good to put the effort toward the people who truly need support. We are also planning to engage the local high school students in boardwalk construction and connect kids with adult volunteer mentors.”

Sustainable Vermont Trails Program Round One Grants

  • Kingdom Trails Association, East Burke: $17,521 for trail improvement in the “Moosehaven” sector.
  • Fellowship of the Wheel, Hinesburg: $22,500 for trail improvements, erosion bar, and culvert repair on the Eagles trail and the Passing The Horizon trail in the Hinesburg Town Forest.
  • Green Mountain Club, Huntington: $25,000 toward a multi-year, multi-agency rebuild of the popular Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hump.
  • Stowe Trails Partnership, Stowe: $9,000 to refurbish and repair bridges on the 8 Bridges Trail in the Sterling Forest.
  • Cross Vermont Trail Association, Montpelier: $16,770 to relocate and sustainably reconstruct important connecting trails from the CVT to a nearby school and conservation area.
  • Catamount Trail Association, Waitsfield: $25,000 to replace a dilapidated bridge across the Mill Brook in Fayston, VT on the Catamount Trail.
  • Mad River Path Association, Waitsfield: $8,081 for construction of a 250’ boardwalk across a wetland on the Spaulding Greenway, which is the newest section of the Mad River Path.
  • Town of Springfield, Springfield: $16,700 to rehabilitate the trail network in a close-to-town Town Forest.
  • Vermont Huts Association, Somerset: $25,000 to improve a 2.5-mile segment of the Catamount Trail located on the eastern shoreline of Somerset Reservoir, including installing two new bridges, hardening water crossings and muddy sections, smoothing out parts of the trail, and re-establishing proper drainage. This section of trail forms an important connector to the new Grout Pond Hut. 
  • Bennington Area Trail System, Bennington: $12,000 to plan and implement improvements to its popular trail network on and around Mt. Anthony. 

“The Bennington Area Trail System (BATS) maintains an extensive trail network on and around Mt. Anthony in the Town of Bennington,” said Jim Sullivan. “The funding provided by the Sustainable Vermont Trails grant will result in an improved route for accessing some of the most popular trails in the network, construction of bridges over permanent streams, provision of low-impact crossings and stabilization of areas adjacent to spring outflows, and remediation of areas of bank erosion and ponding on trails.”

Round 2 Funding Applications Due Nov. 17

Applications for the next round of funding are due Nov. 17. Grants will range from $10,000 to $25,000 and must relate to sustainable trail planning or stewardship. The application and instructions are available online

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be non-profit or public entities responsible for managing formal trail networks in the state of Vermont. Projects on private lands may be eligible, but grants cannot be awarded to for-profit entities nor to individuals. 

The Northern Forest Center is a regional innovation and investment partner creating rural vibrancy by connecting people, economy, and the forested landscape.

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