The public will soon have an opportunity to provide input on recent updates to the draft management plan and on public access on the Kingdom Heritage Lands in Essex County. There will be three public meetings and a comment period through June 11 to gather public input on the proposed updates.
The Kingdom Heritage Lands include West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, and the Plum Creek Timberlands. They are comprised of vast, remote wetlands, streams, and forests hosting wildlife including moose and spruce grouse. The lands are popular for the diverse recreational opportunities offered such as hunting, fishing, bird-watching, snowmobiling, and horseback riding.
West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, at 22,971 acres, is the largest wildlife management area in Vermont. It is managed for public use and conservation through a unique partnership that includes the departments of Fish & Wildlife and Forests, Parks, & Recreation, the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and numerous stakeholder groups.
This partnership, in collaboration with the Vermont Land Trust, also manages a public access easement on 84,000 acres of surrounding forests owned by Plum Creek Timber Company.
The planning and management of these lands are guided by numerous legal requirements and restrictions written into the original purchase agreement.
“Public involvement has been extensive in this effort to help guide the management of this large, complex property,” said Doug Morin of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “We rely on input from the public to help steer this process and encourage all those interested in these lands to provide us with their comments and ideas.”
The public meetings will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the following locations:
• April 29 at Brighton Elementary School (825 Railroad Street, Island Pond).
• April 30 at Montpelier High School (5 High School Drive, Montpelier).
• May 5 at Lyndon State College, ASAC building (see www.tinyurl.com/LyndonCampusMap).
There will be a brief presentation on the update process and the draft plans, and then the floor will be open for questions, comments, and discussion.
More information, including the new draft plans, can be found at: www.tinyurl.com/WestMtnReview. Public comments are welcomed until June 11, 2014 at ANR.FWWMAComments@state.vt.us, or by sending a letter to Doug Morin, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, 1229 Portland St, St Johnsbury, VT 05819.
Media Contacts: Doug Morin, 802-751-0621; John Austin 802-476-0197