Vermont Governor Creates Task Force To Bolster Outdoor Recreation

WATERBURY, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott helped kick off the summer season Thursday with an executive order. It creates a task force in charge of strengthening and expanding the state's outdoor recreation economy.

Scott said, "We hear time and time again that there is nothing to do in Vermont... Well I beg to differ and I am sure some of these folks do as well but we have to market that, we have to enhance that and become more of a magnet so that we can enhance what we do so well."

Scott signed the order Thursday which creates an outdoor recreation economic collabrative or VOREC. The task force consists of people in industry, including land managers, nonprofit recreation and conservation groups and business owners.

"We also want to attract other unrelated businesses who have  a workforce who are attracted to these assets, to this landscape, to this culture and we want to be thoughtful on how we do that,” said Michael Snyder, Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

Outdoor recreation accounts for 34,000 Vermont jobs and more than $2 billion in consumer spending annually. The group plans to tackle marketing first to boost these numbers.

"While there are many good ideas about the type of economic opportunities to encourage in our state, the reality is that an emphasis on the outdoor industry and outdoor recreation economy is really a natural fit for Vermont,” said Drew Simmons, Pale Morning Media.

Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Mike Snyder will chair the 15-member task force which will also focus on promoting laws and policies to encourage outdoor recreation and incentivize more outdoor recreation development.

Scott said, "Think outside the box, be creative and that is what this group I think can do... Become creative about what we can do to encourage more people to come to Vermont to take advantage of all that we have to offer."

Vermont is the first state in the Northern New England region to take such action, with the focus on outdoor recreation as a major economic driver.


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