By Jasper Craven, VTDigger.org
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter announced a plan Tuesday, July 5, that would expand outdoor recreational opportunities in the Green Mountains. Minter’s plan—VT-Outdoors—prioritizes Vermont’s bucolic landscape as a key asset in attracting people and business to the state. As governor, Minter would create the statewide position of outdoor recreation director, a state employee who would be tasked with recruiting outdoor businesses to relocate to Vermont.
As part of her plan, the former transportation secretary also promised to map the plethora of trail systems throughout the state and expand existing trails like the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. She says she would also conserve the last six miles of the Long Trail.
She would also look to increase participation of women in hunting and fishing, provide incentives for landowners willing to host trails and explore new recreational opportunities in the state, like winter biking.
“As governor, I will be a champion for our world class recreational landscape,” Minter said. “Not only for skiing and snowboarding, but our great mountain biking and hiking trails, golf courses, skateboard parks, sailing, hunting and fishing and so many other outdoor activities. Our vibrant outdoor culture not only provides good jobs and boosts tourism, it attracts young people looking for communities with a healthy outdoor lifestyle.”
Minter pointed to statistics from the Vermont Outdoor Industry Association that show, among other things, the outdoor economy produces 34,000 direct Vermont jobs, $753 million in wages and salaries, and generates $176 million in state and local tax revenue. The industry says that 74 percent of Vermonters participate in some sort of outdoor recreation each year.
“As governor, I will be an ambassador for Vermont’s world-class outdoors,” says Minter. “I will walk the walk–and ski, ride, paddle and hike–to revitalize our outdoor recreation opportunities and outdoor industry and make sure we are a top destination for anyone and any business looking for adventure.”