ANCIENT ROADS RESEARCH AND MAPPING
MUNICIPAL GRANT PROGRAM
2008 Application and Guidance
I. Program Description and Guidelines
In accordance with Act 178 of 2006, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs
(DHCA) is administering the Ancient Roads Research and Mapping Municipal Grant
Program. Ancient Roads Grants are being made available to municipalities for the
purpose of researching and mapping town highways, trails, and unidentified corridors. A
maximum of $5,000 will be available to a municipality that demonstrates an ability to
undertake a well-developed project to successfully research and map town highways,
trails, and unidentified corridors, and to implement a proper public review process.
Municipalities that have previously received Ancient Roads grants are not eligible for
these FY ’08 Ancient Roads Grant funds.
Applications for FY ’08 Grants are due to DHCA by November 16th, 2007 (postmarked).
A. Legislative Overview – Act 178
In 2006, the Vermont General Assembly passed Act 178, which established a process for
towns to determine the legal status of their roads. The Act allows towns the opportunity
and incentive to identify, and add to their town highway map, all town highways and
trails that it decides to retain as public rights-of-way. The Act also establishes a public
mass discontinuance process for roads that a town’s legislative body determines are no
longer desired as public rights-of-way. The legislation includes a funding source and
grant program to assist towns with research and mapping of town highways.
Unidentified Corridors and Key Dates
Act 178 establishes criteria for a new classification of town highways to be known as
“unidentified corridors.” By definition, an unidentified corridor is a properly laid out
town highway that does not appear on the town highway map as of July 1, 2009, is not
otherwise “clearly observable by physical evidence of its use as a highway or trail,” and
is not a legal trail.
A town has until July 1, 2009 to add unmapped town highways that are not observable by
physical evidence of their use onto their town highway map in order to retain those roads
as town highways. After the July 1, 2009 deadline, those unobservable town highways
become unidentified corridors. A municipality is not required to maintain an
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unidentified corridor, and it may be used by the public in a manner consistent with its use
within the last ten years. On July 1, 2015, all unidentified corridors (that is, all properly
laid-out, but unobservable and unmapped town highways) are automatically
discontinued. Between 2009 and 2015, a town may reclassify an unidentified corridor as
a class 1, 2, 3, or 4 town highway or a trail, and must follow the current process as
contained in statute (19 V.S.A Chapter 7). This process may include landowner
compensation. If an unidentified corridor does not appear on a town highway map by
July 1, 2015, it will be considered discontinued and will legally belong to the owners of
the adjoining lands.
Act 178 also establishes a process whereby a town may discontinue all town highways
and trails not on its highway map. This process of “mass discontinuance” enables towns
that are content with their existing highway maps to effectively discontinue all roads that
do not appear on those maps, provided the legislative body follows the statutory process
that includes public notice and public hearing. Voters or landowners may also petition
the legislative body to save a highway from discontinuance or request that a highway (or
portions thereof) be designated as a trail. This must be done on or before July 1, 2009.
Adding “Ancient Roads” to the Town Highway Map
Municipalities annually submit to the Vermont Agency of Transportation [VTrans], on or
before February 10th, a sworn statement commonly known as the “Mileage Certificate”.
The mileage certificate lists the description and measurements of all class 1, 2, 3 and 4
town highways and trails. The mileage certificate has historically been used to certify the
amount of class 1, 2, and 3 town highway mileage, in order to determine state highway
grant aid, as well as to establish any changes to the town highway map. This same
process will now also be used for adding class 4 highways, and trails to the town highway
maps. The request to change the mileage certificate will require the legislative body to
include additional information for the highways it wishes to change, including:
A description of the highway or trail;
A copy of any surveys of the highway or trail;
Minutes from the meeting where the legislative body took action on changes to
the town highway network and map; and
A current highway map with the changes sketched on it.
A guidance document drafted by the VTrans Mapping Unit regarding Mileage
Certificates and submittal of documentation is available through VTrans, and accessible
on-line at: www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/AncientRoadsGrantProgram.htm . The full
process for laying out, reclassifying, and discontinuing highways can be found in
Vermont Statute in Title 19, Chapter 7 at:
Act 178 also describes the public process and proper procedures for adding or
discontinuing class 1, 2, 3 or 4 town highways or trails to the town highway map. These
requirements are depicted by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns [VLCT] in the
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Public Hearing and Notice Requirements which is also accessible through the DHCA
website. Additional informational resources are available online through VLCT’s
‘Resource Library.’ Go to www.vlct.org click onto “Resource Library” and search for
B. Guidance for Research and Mapping
The legislature authorized $75,000 toward Ancient Roads Research and Mapping for
Fiscal Year 2008. As administrators of these grant funds, the Department of Housing and
Community Affairs (DHCA) offers the following guidance for a successful research and
mapping process. Community grant plans may differ from the guidance below, but a
grant application must include an acceptable work plan, timeline and budget for the grant
project, as described within the application forms.
1) Public Process
A strong public participation process will be helpful to a successful research and mapping
project. DHCA encourages towns to have public discussion around the future of their
town highways and trails. Because of the potential for controversy over rights-of-way, it
is useful to set up an open process for public involvement.
Establish a committee
The legislative body may wish to establish a committee to undertake the research task.
Given the limited funding, and resulting small grants, it may be helpful to combine
professional assistance with community volunteer work. Members of this committee
might include: long-time residents (with knowledge of old roads), members of
Recreation Committees, Conservation Committees, Historical Societies, Planning
Commissions, Selectboards (legislative bodies), etc. Ideally, all interested organizations
and landowners within a town should be notified of the project and its goals. A project
will be most successful if it includes committee members that are volunteers interested in
the process and willing to donate time to this project.
Determine town goals
To begin, a town should determine what its goals for the project are. Some towns may
wish to research and inventory all of the roads within the town’s history. Others may
choose to research only those roads currently known. Still others may take as a starting
point some of the known historic maps, such as the maps of the 1850’s (Wallings,
McClellan, or Doten) or 1870’s (Beers Atlas map of Vermont Towns). These decisions
will affect the tasks within the project.
Engage Professional Support for Training, Assistance:
A substantial part of the project will involve research into the town’s history in order to
inventory the details of historic roads. Professional assistance from surveyors,
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archeologists and/or lawyers may be helpful. The professionals may not be able to
conduct all the research needed, but could train and assist volunteers to undertake this
task, which, depending upon the goals of the project, may include:
• Assembling all road records
• Collecting all pertinent town road maps (old and current)
• Reviewing local history, including deeds of pertinent land parcels
• Conducting field research to evaluate results of records research
For additional information on the research tasks, refer to the pamphlet: How To Find
Ancient Roads (by Paul Gillies/Vt. Institute for Government) which is included on the
DHCA Planning Division website [ www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning ] .
3) Mapping & GIS
All of the legally identified roads that a town wishes to retain public access rights to
should be placed onto the town highway maps. The VTrans Mapping Unit will process
all information received on the annual Mileage Certificates and add all legitimate public
resources onto the town highway map. As clarified on the VTrans Guidelines for the
Certificate of Highway Mileage, formal surveys or GIS data are not required
documentation. Nevertheless, towns may wish to include a mapping component within
this grant project. Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) have staff and expertise that
may be helpful with the mapping component. Contact information is available at
4) Formal Hearing Process
Decisions about whether to add roads to the town highway map, or to discontinue them,
must follow the formal public hearing process as proscribed in statute. For additional
information on these requirements please refer to the Vermont League of Cities and
Towns’ Public Hearing and Notice Requirements (available on our website).
Applications for grant funding should include tasks related to the public review
requirements for formal actions by the legislative body.
II. Grant Funding and Administration
A maximum of $5,000 will be available to municipalities for the purpose of Ancient
Roads Research and Mapping. Applications received will be reviewed for completeness
and for a well-developed budget and work plan. If the requested funds exceeds the funds
available, applications that meet a standard of completeness will be chosen through a
random selection process.
Applicants for an Ancient Roads Grant may be a subcommittee of the town (i.e. a
Planning Commission, Conservation Commission or Historical Society) and the grant
application must be authorized by the legislative body. The deadline for grant
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applications will be November 16, 2007 (postmarked). The grant funds can be used
over a period of two years, with a reporting requirement half-way through the grant
period. Unlike the Municipal Planning Grant program, all towns are eligible to apply for
these funds, regardless of the status of confirmation of their town planning process.
Towns applying for a Municipal Planning Grant for a different project may also apply for
an Ancient Roads Grant. Due to limited funds, towns that have already received grant
funds for Ancient Roads Research and Mapping are not eligible to apply.
Funds will be disbursed to each grantee in three payments – (the same process used for
the Municipal Planning Grant Program):
• The first payment (40% of the award) will be made once contracts have been
• The second payment (30% of the award) will be made upon submission and
review of a mid-project report. These will be due no later than one year after the
beginning of the grant period.
• The final payment (up to 30% of the award) is a reimbursement, based upon
completion of the project, documentation of expenditures, and submission of a
• The final product shall include, at a minimum: a brief summary of the project,
documentation of public outreach efforts, a sworn Mileage Certificate (if these are
proposed to VTrans), and a proposed town highway map with changes (additions
or deletions) sketched on it.
Application and Approval Process
1. Develop workplan and budget for research and mapping project.
2. Contact potential professionals (surveyor, lawyer, Regional Planning
Commission, etc.) to assess likely costs (for developing reasonable budget).
3. Fill out application forms.
4. Obtain legislative body signature on the application form.
5. Submit complete applications to DHCA by November 16, 2007 (postmarked).
6. Applications that demonstrate an ability to undertake a well-developed project
will be awarded a grant, as long as funding is available.
7. Award decisions will be announced by the end of December, 2007.
8. DHCA will mail out Grant Agreements for designated grant administrators to
sign and return to DHCA for final approval.
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III. Grant Application Forms
The application forms are within this package. A description of what is expected within
each form follows.
1) Application and Signature Form
Note that there must be a grant administrator designated for the grant project, and
specified on the application. The grant administrator will be responsible for handling the
necessary paperwork, including: completion and submittal of the application, execution
of the grant agreement, prompt submittal of all forms throughout the grant period,
communication with the municipal treasurer when a requisition has been submitted to
DHCA for payment, oversight of the work for the project, and making sure the project is
completed on time. This person will also be the chief contact person, receiving calls and
addressing administrative tasks. DHCA needs to be able to reach the grant administrator
during the day to answer potential questions. The back-up contact person, although not
the one in charge of the project, should be familiar with the project or in frequent contact
with the grant administrator so that messages can be relayed in a timely fashion.
2) Project Description and Work Plan
Provide a brief narrative description of the project. This description should be followed
by an outline of the project’s scope of work. The work plan outline (B) should briefly
name and describe specific tasks for the project and a general timeline for each task (see
Guidance for Research and Mapping section of this application package, Section B).
Note that we urge you to contact your RPC or one or two consultants to develop a work
schedule and cost estimates and attach those estimates to the application. Please refer to
the list of professionals listed on our website.
3) Work Plan and Budget
Use the form provided to detail cost estimates for each task described in the Project
Description and Workplan, as well as the timing and persons &/or entity responsible for
each task (volunteer, consultant, RPC).
APPLICATIONS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY NOVEMBER 16, 2007.
Send Applications to:
Ancient Roads Grant Program
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
One National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05620-0501
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Ancient Roads Research and Mapping Grant Program
Application and Signature Form
Municipality _________________________Grant Administrator ______________________________
Title ___________________________________ Daytime Phone ______________________________
Mail Address (if available) ____________________________________________________________
Backup Contact Person _________________________________________________________________
Title ___________________________________ Daytime Phone ______________________________
E‐mail Address (if available)_____________________________________________________________
Total Requested Grant Amount (up to a maximum $5000/town) $ ___________________________
All applications must include this form and be signed by the grant administrator and the Chair or designee
of the legislative body.
To the best of my knowledge and belief, information in this application is true and correct. The
application has been duly authorized by the Legislative Body of the applicant. We understand
that the receipt of funds is conditional upon agreement to comply with all applicable state
requirements and availability of funding.
The legislative body hereby authorizes the Grant Administrator to execute and provide all
information necessary for the completion of said application, to execute the Grant Agreement and
such other documents as may be necessary to secure funds, and to administer this Municipality’s
performance of the provisions of the Grant Agreement.
(Signature of Grant Administrator)
(Printed/typed name and title) (Date signed)
(Signature of Legislative Body Chair)
(Printed/typed name and title) (Date signed)
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Project Description and Work Plan
A. Narrative Description of Project:
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B. Outline of Tasks:
Task # and Name Description of Task Timeline
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WORK PLAN AND BUDGET SUMMARY
Estimated Materials Cost
Responsibility Completion & Equip. Per
Task # and Name (staff, volunteers, consultants) Date Personnel Cost Task
Hours Rate* Cost
TOTAL FUNDS REQUESTED
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