Vermont Rail Trails


Special Use Permit

Vermont rail trails can be a great place for events of all types. Whether it is a 5K, bike-a-thon, dogsled race, or season-long research project, all events need to obtain a no-cost Special Use Permit (SUP). The SUP is an agreement between the applicant and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (the owner and manager of the rail line). The permit is a way for us to make sure that we know when an event is being held on the trail, that it doesn’t overlap with other events or maintenance activities, and to combat any adverse impacts from an event.

Events may include, but are not limited to races, competitive events, fundraising events, research projects, trail monitoring projects, emergency services training events, and other special event group activities that may interrupt the normal use of the Vermont State Rail Trails and/or cause significant adverse impacts to the natural, cultural, and experiential resources. To prevent interruptions and adverse impacts, permitting of such events is at the sole discretion of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT). An event will require a permit if it meets any one of these conditions:

  • The event is publicized ahead of time.
  • Participants are charged a fee, or the event is a fundraiser.
  • The event makes any temporary alterations to the trail.
  • The event may conflict with or obstruct other users.
  • The event size exceeds 15 people.
  • The event includes research activities and/or demonstration projects.

The SUP does not cover any activities outside of the state right-of-way (ROW). The ROW typically covers 30 feet to each side of the trail centerline. Specific ROW details can be found on the VTrans Rail Valuation Sheets online. Any needs for parking, event space, traffic control at state and/or local road crossings, etc., need to be permitted by the appropriate authority. The applicant is required to provide evidence of all other relevant permits and/or permissions as part of the SUP application. These must be received prior to the SUP effective date.

There is an insurance requirement for any event/use. The applicant is required to provide evidence of compliance with the minimum insurance requirements listed in the Rail Trail Special Use Permit Application (Attachment A), shown by completion of insurance showing policies and carriers acceptable to the State. These must be received prior to the SUP effective date.

No motorized vehicles with the exception of snowmobiles during the designated season are allowed on State Rail Trails. Additional terms and conditions can be found in the Rail Trail Special Use Permit Application.



How do I get a Special Use Permit?

Download a copy pf the State Rail Trail Special Use Permit Guidance and Application, fill it out completely, and submit it to Jackie Cassino (, AOT’s State Rail Trails Program Manager.  Once received, it will be reviewed, and if approved, a permit will be issued.  Please contact us with any questions regarding the permit process.

Special Use Permit Guidance & Application

Operating on the Rail Trail?

Interested in a more permanent activity on a rail trail? Examples of this may include, but are not limited to: operating a business on a rail trail; establishing a new driveway crossing to a residence or business; creating a connection to a local trail network; and/or leasing a parcel of land for a trailhead, art installation, commercial or agricultural business. You’ll need to enter into an agreement with AOT for these activities. The type and cost of the agreement will vary depending on use type and square footage or acreage occupied. For more information on rail trail agreements, review the Rail Property Management FAQs and forms on the AOT website.

Rail Property Management FAQ + Forms

Vermont Rail Trails*** April 11, 2023