Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative Gathers 60 Stakeholders to Refine Initial Goals ahead of Public Meetings
The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC), a public-private committee tasked by Governor Phil Scott with economic development centered around outdoor recreation, last week gathered 60 stakeholders for a two-day policy conference at the historic Grafton Inn, Aug. 2-3, 2017.
Throughout the event, attendees worked together to create recommendations and measurable outcomes for leveraging Vermont’s outdoor recreation assets, brand, and culture to sustain, grow, and drive economic development in the outdoor recreation sector and the Vermont economy as a whole.
Results from the conference will be compiled and available to the public through the VOREC website (http://fpr.vermont.gov/VOREC). Key learnings will also be used to guide upcoming public meetings around the state in August and September, after which VOREC will deliver their first recommendations to the Governor.
"The focus of the initiative is to leverage our outdoor and recreational resources and networks to expand (the outdoor recreation economic) sector. And I truly believe that this will be beneficial to support our economic growth access across Vermont,” said Governor Scott, who opened the conference with his remarks.
Hosted by the Windham Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation and the High Meadows Fund, the Grafton conference was organized and produced by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation in collaboration with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
The gathering included numerous outdoor businesses, outdoor retailers, outdoor outfitters and volunteer-based trail organizations, as well as policy makers and representatives from a broad swath of the Vermont state government.
The event began with a guided mountain bike tour at the Grafton Outdoor Center, setting the stage for two days of panel discussions, breakout sessions and small group conversations centered on the outdoor recreation economy.
“VOREC is a truly collaborative effort, including educators, entrepreneurs, businesses and advocates. We want - and we need - a wide variety of input and support to get the most out of this endeavor,” said Michael Snyder, Vermont Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation and chair of the VOREC steering committee.
Attendees at the event included representatives from Brattleboro Development Corporation, Burton, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Farm Way, Green Mountain Club, Green Mountain National Forest, Ibex, Inntopia, Island Pond Chamber of Commerce, Lyndon State College, Mountain Moxie, Natural Resources Board, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Northern Forest Center, Onion River Sports, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Pale Morning Media, Pinnacle Outdoor Group, Saint Michael’s College, SE Group, Ski Vermont, Small Group Facilitators, Timber and Stone LLC, Trust for Public Land, University of Vermont Extension, University of Vermont Medical Center, University of Vermont Tourism and Data Center, USDA Rural Development, Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont All-Terrain Sportsmen’s Association, Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Vermont Outdoor Guide Association, Vermont Sports Magazine, Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing and the Windham Foundation
The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) is made up of both Vermont businesses and non-profits, including outdoor manufacturers, retailers, brand representatives, trail and user groups and conservation organizations, as well as state government. VOREC’s purpose is to engage with businesses, government, the nonprofit sector and the public to identify specific outcomes that promote business opportunities, increase participation opportunities, and strengthen the quality and stewardship of our recreational resources. For more information on VOREC to learn about upcoming public meetings, or to submit ideas, case studies, or areas of concern, please visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/VOREC