How you can help Vermont develop its outdoor recreation plan

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) At Oakledge Park in Burlington, you can always find people enjoying the outdoors.

"We play bocce just about all summer long," said Anne Warwick of South Burlington.

The Warwicks are playing bocce and wouldn't be anywhere else right now.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: What do you love about Vermont's outdoors?
Anne Warwick: Look at it. It's beautiful, it's clean, it's natural.

Over on the tennis court, Ben Blanchard is sweating it out in a singles match.

"I play tennis, I play golf, I bike ride everywhere, go swimming-- try to do it every day," said Blanchard of South Burlington.

And on the playground, Apryl Cunningham keeps a close eye on the little one she's watching.

"We love to hike and swim and bike and run and-- we do it all!" said Cunningham of Grand Isle.

The state wants to hear how they-- and other Vermonters-- have fun outside. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is working with the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont to develop the next Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

"It directly impacts how we spend money on outdoor facilities in Vermont," said Jessica Savage, the recreation program manager for Vt. Forests, Parks & Rec.

Savage says because the state's recreation opportunities are so diverse, the survey helps them prioritize what people are using and want. Revising their plan every five years also helps keep Vermont eligible for federal money.

"If you're somebody who maybe you think, well, I'm not really into that. Well, we want you to be and if you'd like to be telling us why you're not, that's also as valuable to us as the people who like to hike, bike, and run every day," Savage said.

People WCAX News spoke with said they wouldn't change much.

"I think they do a very good job, really," Warwick said.

"I'd like to see some funding go into repaving basketball courts and tennis courts, and just making the parks a little bit better. But they're great as they are," Blanchard said.

"I'm pretty happy!" Cunningham laughed.

That survey is available online until Sept. 9. To receive a paper copy of the survey, call 802-598-4551 or email amy.kelsey@uvm.edu.

There are also two open houses where you can weigh in, too:

-Mon., Aug. 19, Brattleboro Fire Station, Brattleboro, 6-8 p.m.

-Tues. Aug. 27, Thatcher Brook School Gym, Waterbury, 6-8 p.m.

And you can learn more about how the state is developing their outdoor recreation plan in the full interview this Sunday on "You Can Quote Me" at 7:30 a.m.