Why Do We Need A SCORP?
At 6.5 million acres (9,609 square miles), a small and rural state like Vermont faces many challenges in maintaining its reputation and living up to the expectations that are raised by recognition in the national media. Vermont's challenges include efforts to balance recreational pursuits with its premiere, yet fragile, natural resources base. With just 15 percent of its land in public ownership, Vermont faces the challenge of preserving its long-standing tradition of private lands being open for public use. As people continue to settle in the state from more urban and suburban places, the small town, rural culture of Vermont becomes increasingly threatened.
Vermont needs to find ways to improve the ability of its towns and agencies to be more pro-active in determining the appropriate locations, times, and frequencies for the increasing variety and intensity of outdoor recreational activities.
The people of Vermont care deeply about its traditions, natural resources, and the recreational opportunities the state provides. These sentiments will serve Vermont well as it forges the future offerings of its multi-million dollar, and growing, outdoor recreation industry. The creation and implementation of this plan are key components of this effort.
Purposes and Benefits of the Plan
The plan serves a number of purposes and provides some important benefits to the state, as follows:
- Guidance for communities, agencies, and organizations in providing for recreational and natural resource based opportunities & facilities throughout the state;
- Guidance for legislative financial support, including capital budgets and community matching funds;
- Reinforcement of decisions regarding public land acquisition;
- Input to recreation policy development;
- Better understanding by agencies and organizations of the public's needs and concerns regarding outdoor recreation;
- Opportunities to build constituencies for agency and organizational recreation programs;
- Better understanding and coordination among agencies and interest groups regarding outdoor recreation concerns;
- Encouragement of recreational partnerships; and
- Ensuring Vermont's eligibility to receive continued funding from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Starting in the fall of 2008 and continuing through December 2012, many activities involving the public took place toward the creation of this plan. These range from comparisons of recreational surveys of Vermont residents in 2002 and 2011 to an informal survey of members of a landowner organization; from meetings of the Vermont Trail Collaborative to meetings of trails organizations throughout the state; and from questionnaires to municipal, state, and federal recreation managers to regional planning commission websites and newsletter to an evening webinar.