The Catamount Outdoor Family Center (COFC) is thrilled to name John Atkinson as the new Executive Director of the organization. COFC, a 501c3 non-profit group, operates programs, maintains a multi-use trail network, provides rental gear, and much more on the 393 acre Catamount Community Forest. Atkinson will begin his role on Sept 12, 2022.

Atkinson brings a deep background in outdoor center management. “John’s work experience has been focused on outdoor recreation, community collaboration, land stewardship, team building, program development, and marketing and event management,” said COFC board president Peter Woodson. “We had many qualified applicants for the position, but John’s background made him stand out as the perfect person to lead COFC forward.”

Atkinson’s experience includes several positions at Sugarbush Resort, including the Director of Strategic Programs and Partnerships, where he created summer camps and innovated on a number of winter programs. He also served as the Director of the Mad River Riders, a chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA), in which he partnered with private and public landowners to plan, design, and build sustainable trails.

COFC began in 1978, as a cross country ski area, on land owned by the McCullough family. In 2019, the Trust for Public Land, Catamount Outdoor Family Center, the Town of Williston, and a small group of dedicated volunteers partnered to protect 393-acres of forests, fields, and wetlands that were managed by the Catamount Outdoor Family Center. With the goal of securing long-standing recreational opportunities for the public, and safeguarding both the water resources and sensitive wildlife habitats, the Catamount Community Forest was created and conveyed to the Town of Williston. The Town of Williston has partnered with the Catamount Outdoor Family Center to manage and operate the trail resources and recreational opportunities on the Catamount Community Forest

“I couldn’t be more pleased than to lead Catamount and further its mission,” said Atkinson. That mission: To create outdoor experiences at the Catamount Community Forest that build active lifestyles, friendships, and environmental awareness. A vision for a community in which: Playing in nature is everyone’s first choice.