§Eo10-29. (No. 12-02) [West Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Link to law: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/03APPENDIX/010/00029
Published: 2015

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Title

03APPENDIX

:
Executive Orders






Chapter

010

:
CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT











 

§

EO10-29. (No. 12-02) [West Mountain Wildlife Management Area

WHEREAS, in

1999, pursuant to Sec. 87a of No. 1 of the Acts of 1999, the State of Vermont

participated in the purchase of approximately 133,000 acres of land in

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, the

appropriation of $4,500,000 was to be "used to purchase and ensure that

the lands commonly referred to as the Champion lands in northeastern Vermont

are conserved as a working forest for the sustainable production of wood

products, for natural resources, including the maintenance of wildlife habitat

and conservation of identified natural heritage sites, and for perpetual public

access for traditional recreational uses"; and

WHEREAS, the

former Champion lands now consist of approximately 84,000 acres of working

forest, subject to both a working forest and a public access easement owned by

the State of Vermont and the Vermont Land Trust to ensure that the land is

perpetually managed for the sustainable growth and harvesting of timber and is

perpetually open for public access; approximately 22,500 acres of state-owned

land, the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, conserved for perpetual

public access and its fish, wildlife and ecological values; as well as

approximately 26,500 acres of land held by the United States Fish and Wildlife

Service as a Silvio Conti National Fish & Wildlife Refuge; and

WHEREAS, this

land purchase, in which Vermont's contribution equaled less than a fifth of the

total purchase price, has guaranteed Vermonters' access to these lands forever;

and

WHEREAS,

dialogue and clear assurances will allow us to move forward to ensure that the

complex land deal that granted Vermonters so much is appreciated by Vermonters

for its value and is protected forever.

NOW THEREFORE,

I, Howard Dean, M.D., through the power vested in me as Governor of the State

of Vermont, do hereby order as follows:

1. The West

Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMWMA) that was acquired by the state of

Vermont as part of the so-called Champion land deal pursuant to Sec. 87a of No.

1 of the Acts of 1999, and that is a portion of the so-called Champion lands,

is a wildlife management area, and as such it will be managed by the Vermont

Department of Fish and Wildlife or its successor agency or department.

2. All of the

approximately 22,500 acres of the WMWMA shall be conserved for lawful and

perpetual public access for traditional recreational uses, including boating,

fishing, trapping, snowshoeing, skiing, bird watching, hiking, and hunting

(including training and using hunting dogs). The Department of Fish and

Wildlife shall allow snowmobiling, bicycling, and equestrian uses in designated

corridors.

3. The

Department of Fish and Wildlife shall manage the WMWMA so as to retain road

access to within two statute miles of any point within the WMWMA.

4. The

Department of Fish and Wildlife shall manage the WMWMA both for natural

resource protection and wildlife, including active management to support both

game and non-game species.

5. The

Department of Fish and Wildlife shall actively monitor the health, size, and

distribution of selected populations of game and non-game species found in the

WMWMA. Concurrently, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of

Forests, Parks and Recreation shall monitor forest conditions of critical

habitats including the habitat composition, condition, and health of

bear-scarred beech stands, black bear wetland feeding areas, vernal pools, and

white-tailed deer wintering habitat. These departments shall report their findings

at the opening of each biennium to the legislative committees on institutions,

natural resources and energy, and fish, wildlife and water resources, or any

successor committee or committees.

6. Prior to the

implementation of any changes to the management of WMWMA, and prior to the

adoption of any new management plan for the WMWMA, the Department of Fish and

Wildlife shall report to the legislative committees on institutions, natural

resources and energy, and fish, wildlife, and water resources, or any successor

committee or committees, with regard to those changes and those new plans.

7. From the date

of the execution of this Executive Order, if the Department of Fish and

Wildlife intends to change or alter any present traditional recreational use of

the WMWMA land or to amend or modify the management plan on the WMWMA, the

Department shall inform the legislative committees on institutions, natural

resources and energy, and fish, wildlife, and water resources, or any successor

committee or committees, of that intent in writing and through personal

testimony, if invited by said committees to so testify, by the end of the month

of January in any year in which the Department intends to institute changes or

alter any present use. An emergency situation of a non-recurring nature

necessitating Department action is exempt from the provisions of this

paragraph, but information about the emergency action taken must be included in

the next year's report to the legislative committees listed above. At the time

of the emergency, the Commissioner will notify the chairs of the committees

referenced above regarding the nature of the emergency and the steps taken to

address the emergency.

8. By this order

a Citizen Oversight Council is created to assist in implementing the provisions

of this order and the provisions of the Champion land transaction in the

northeastern region of Vermont as authorized by the 1999 session of the general

assembly. The council shall function as a forum to hear and attempt to resolve

concerns involving the so-called Champion lands that are brought to the

attention of the council regarding ongoing use and management of state lands,

collaboration with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and public

access to the public and privately held lands. With respect to the public lands

and the role of the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and its constituent

departments, these matters may include: public access; the recreation access

plan; snowmobiling and other motorized, mechanical, and equestrian access;

private roads; temporary restrictions; federal ownership; timber harvesting;

wildlife management; land conservation; water classification; and economic

development. The council has no authority to discuss or comment on interests

obtained by a private owner who purchases a portion of the property, including

timber harvesting and forest management interests obtained. This Council shall

consist of the same membership and incorporates the same duties as the Champion

Land Transaction Citizen Advisory Council created by 10 V.S.A. §§ 6407-6409. In

addition, the Citizen Oversight Council shall:

(a) Function as

a source of information to persons interested in learning about the transaction

including its legal conditions, or about the ongoing use and management of the

land, and to provide for citizen advice, input and information relating to the

future of the so-called Champion lands.

(b) Make

recommendations to the ANR and its constituent departments and to the

legislative committees referenced above on the ongoing process of ensuring that

the lands commonly referred to as the Champion lands are: conserved as a

working forest for the sustainable production of wood products; conserved for

natural resources, including the maintenance of wildlife habitat and the conservation

of identified natural heritage sites; and conserved for perpetual public access

for traditional recreational uses.

The ANR and its

constituent departments shall involve the council in their deliberative

processes as they relate to the management of the WMWMA, and shall give due

special consideration to any council recommendation provided under this

section.

The Department

of Fish and Wildlife shall provide administrative and staff support to the

council. Citizen council members shall be entitled to compensation as provided

under 32 V.S.A. § 1010, for no more than three meetings during a year in which

the council is authorized, under this section, to meet.

This Executive

Order shall take effect upon signing.

Dated November

1, 2002.
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