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Smokey House Center receives VOREC recreation grant

Press NYVT Media

Published June 5, 2024

The Smokey House Center in Danby.

DANBY – Smokey House Center announced the organization is a recipient of a 2024 Vermont Outdoor Recreation Community (VOREC) planning grant, along with 50 other organizations in Vermont.

The grant, totaling just over $92,000, will be used to develop a community-informed plan to revitalize Smokey House’s degraded trail system and design a trail-based citizen science program that brings in community members to actively participate in the land-based research of the Living Lab, Smokey House’s new keystone program.

The grant will also include planning with a local architect to add a visitors’ center to their current Farm Stand building.

“We see this project as an exciting initial step for increasing access to a spectrum of meaningful recreation opportunities for people from all walks of life here at Smokey House. In turn, outdoor recreation will be a key mechanism for accomplishing the research goals of Smokey House’s Living Lab program while building a sense of shared community stewardship and connection to this wonderful landscape.” said Walker Cammack, program director. “We will be working with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and folks at UVM Extension to develop a program that will allow visitors to help collect important ecology data while out on our trails. The hope is this project will act as a land-based case study in exploring how recreation opportunities can be designed to support community-based participatory research and stewardship of place.”

Smokey House is also collaborating with the Danby Planning Commission, Sinuosity, a Vermont trail building group, and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) on the project. Strength Perspectives, a diversity and equity consulting group already working with Smokey House, will also be helping to increase accessibility and make recreational opportunities feel open to more diverse audiences.

The group of partners plans to hold a series of public community engagement events to solicit feedback on desired forms of recreation, how to increase accessibility, and how people would like to engage in community science across the property.

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