CVTA Strategic Plan 2021 - 2025

Download the full plan as a PDF.

Mission and Vision

OUR MISSION is to create and maintain a multi-use trail across Vermont through the Winooski and Wells River Valleys between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River.


Strategic Goals

GOAL 1: Increase off-road mileage of the eastern, central, and western regions of the 90-mile Cross Vermont Trail.


  1. Build the complete Winooski Bridge Project including five miles of new trail between Gallison Hill Road in Montpelier and Rte 14 in East Montpelier.
  2. Collaborate with landowners to determine the best trail alignment between Rte 14 in East Montpelier and Groton State Forest in Marshfield; securing right-of-way permissions to get the Cross Vermont Trail off ten miles of Rte 2.
  3. Identify and prioritize future CVTA-led projects emphasizing useful lengths of new off road trail, with logical trailheads, that separate trail use from the least safe and least desirable on road locations.
  4. Pursue a regional approach to expand our efforts, in locally appropriate ways, statewide throughout the trail route and connected network.
  5. Prepare to meet our long term obligations to maintain trail and steward land as we succeed in building new trail and conserving right-of-way.

GOAL 2: Expand the visibility of our trail, our vision, and the work of our organization to engage users, partners and funders.


  1. Develop and implement a master plan for marketing, including consistent graphic styles and accessible media, so that CVTA is recognized when active in communities across the state.
  2. Update signage and wayfinding guides enabling people to clearly find trailheads and follow the Cross Vermont Trail between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River.
  3. Engage the public in using and valuing each segment of the Winooski Bridge Project, totaling five miles of new trail, as each segment is built and opened in well explained sequential phases.

GOAL 3: Build capacity to be a sustainable and resilient organization capable of completing and stewarding the vision of the trail.


  1. Build the foundation of human capacity, knowledge, capabilities, and resources that will enable achievement of strategic goals.
  2. Recruit proactive, committed Board members with a variety of relevant skills, experience, and regional representation. Engage additional non-Board volunteers to be involved in committees or local advocacy to advance CVTA's strategic goals. Support Board in carrying out its responsibilities by developing useful structures including active committees and online collaboration tools.
  3. Implement multi-year financial planning that aligns with strategic priorities, organizational growth and stewardship responsibilities.
  4. Make an updated five-year fundraising plan with diversified revenue from grants, charitable gifts, sponsorships, memberships, and events, with formal donor cultivation.

GOAL 4: Leverage partnerships to build the trail, strengthen the regional trail network and increase community vitality.


  1. Expand partnerships as a way to leverage shared capacity to achieve our mission and to support partners with co-aligned missions.
  2. Strengthen partnerships in Chittenden County by carrying out joint advocacy and collaborative trail work. As the area continues to develop, convene with partners in order to explore and identify the best current options for the route of the Cross Vermont Trail through this region.
  3. Engage in partnerships with businesses and civic organizations that benefit from proximity and access to outdoor recreation.


Through winter 2020 into summer 2021 we carried out an intense internal and external assessment. CVTA engaged a consultant to guide and facilitate the Board and staff through the planning process. Themes came to light that led to fresh takes on the organization's mission and vision. Based on these, we then developed goals and strategies, formally adopting the plan in September 2021. Now we continue, finalizing action plans and implementing our strategic priorities.

Partnering is an essential part of who we are. Our planning process began with the insights of over 30 stakeholders. We spoke with landowners and long-time supporters, trails and rivers organizations, VT State agencies, Regional Planning Commissions, donors, local businesses, and the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail.

Regionalized approaches are important in how we have made our plan. Different regions and localities across the state have distinct characteristics. Local needs guide the balance of roles we pursue in each place we work.

map of statewide trail showing three regions

The Eastern region from Wells River to Groton ties together small towns in scenic rural settings, including Groton State Forest. CVTA is an active leader in helping to save the Montpelier & Wells River railbed as a trail where possible, and in developing new trails. In the Central region from Marshfield to Waterbury much of the potential trail route is privately owned. As elsewhere, here we engage in collaborative approaches with landowners and local towns. The Western region from Bolton to Burlington is a more developed area that has a broad array of existing trails and bike paths with active community groups and municipalities. As we look to the future of our route within this mix, we will expand our contributions as a partner, advocate, and convener.

Capacity building underlies all of this plan's thinking. Expanding our capabilities makes us ready to take on the real, growing needs facing CVTA. Our accomplishments to date are remarkable in light of an extremely lean organization: a single employee (our Executive Director) and a small working Board. Looking ahead, this plan will enable us to develop financial resources to incrementally grow to a right size. Our mission calls us to think well beyond any one five year plan. Building relationships and developing projects are long term efforts. We are making a Cross Vermont Trail Association that is fit to be passed on to future generations. As we mature in this way, we are planning now for a period of steady growth in order to build sustainability for years to come.

Thank you for grant funding from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, National Life Group Foundation, and Vermont Community Foundation, which allowed us to hire an experienced consultant and benefit from their guidance. We the CVTA Board have spent many hours over this past year in deep conversation and thinking seriously about the future of the Cross Vermont Trail; now we are excited to put this plan to work!

Plan prepared and approved by CVTA Board and Staff; September 2021

Download the full plan as a PDF.