Hunters Anglers Trappers Association of Vermont
Land management will be a very important issue during the next few years. Not only will it be important to Sportsmen and women, but it will become an important Legislative issue, as well.
For way too long, sportsmen have been left out of the "planning process" when it came to implementing user plans for our state forests. our state parks, our wildlife management areas and all public land, in general.
The Dean Administration was not at all friendly to the concerns of Sportsmen. We were not held at any level of respect by the administration leaders and the Governor. Thankfully, the Douglas Administration has recognized HAT and is receptive to the information that we can provide them. Now Sportsmen and women do have a voice that is being listened to by our government.
We do not always get everything that we desire, but we are recognized as an important source of credible and factual information.
We as hunters, fishermen, trappers and other outdoor users are partially to blame for the position we allowed the Dean Administration to put in. We were not organized, we did not have an effective "lobbying voice" and we failed to regularily contest policy and programs that were a detriment to our uses. We were too "laid back" and one might even say that we were too lazy to argue. As a result, the environmental crowd worked very sucessfully to implement their goals and disregarded any of the concerns that hunters and fishermen would have had.
Now we have got a means of making sure that the sporting men and women of Vermont are recognized. We are making "inroads" into the planning process and we are being heard. The West Mountain Wildlife Management area, on the former Champion Land, was one of our most recognized efforts. There are going to be more "champion Land deals" that need our attention.
The Douglas Administration is planning to update several of the management plans for Wildlife management areas and state forests. Last year, Willoughby State Forest, Groton State Forest and Collige State Forest came under review.
Additionally, the Green Mountain National Forest is under review. Environmental groups are attempting to steal another 100,000 acres of land to incorporate into a "wilderness area". These groups are encouraging our Senate Delegation to bypass the "public hearing process" where the publics ideas and desires are to be heard and respected. The group Forest Watch, is working very hard to get Senators Leahy and Jeffords to bypass the entire public process. The Douglas Administration has opposed the idea as well as many of the towns that will be effected by that action.
We, as sporting groups need to ensure that our voice is heard and our wishes are included in the new land management plans, whether it is the Green Mt National Forest or a state forest or wildlife management area. HAT is leading this effort.
Therefore it is important that our organization grows and becomes a stronger representative of recreational users in Vermont. We must attend the hearings, we must lobby for our concerns and we must make sure that our desires, ideals and ideas are recognized for the important part that we play in the Vermont landscape. Remember, we hunters and fishermen and women are the original conservationists in Vermont. It is time that we joined together to make that point known and recognized.
HAT's goals are: to support sound, science based deer management within the state of Vermont. Components of sound, science based deer management include:
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Introduced by Representatives Adams of Hartland, Baker of West Rutland, Brown of Walden, DePoy of Rutland City, Helm of Castleton, Larrabee of Danville, Rogers of Castleton and Wood of Brandon
Referred to Committee on
Subject: Fish and wildlife; lands management wildlife biologist; lands management account; appropriation
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to create a position of a wildlife biologist who will manage land owned by the fish and wildlife department; to create a land management account made up of timber sales from fish and wildlife department lands to pay for the position; and to appropriate funds for salary and expenses for one year.
AN ACT RELATING TO A LANDS MANAGEMENT WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 4051 is added to read:
§ 4051. LANDS MANAGEMENT ACCOUNT
(a) There is created a lands management account within the fish and wildlife fund for the purpose of sound management of lands owned by the fish and wildlife department. The account shall consist of funds earned from timber sales on fish and wildlife lands, and any funds that may be appropriated by the general assembly.
(b) Interest from the account shall be credited annually to the lands management account and the amount in the account shall carry over from year to year.
(c) Funds in the account shall be used to pay the salary and expenses of a lands management wildlife biologist who is assigned to write and oversee the implementation of management plans for lands owned by the department of fish and wildlife. If, at the end of any fiscal year, the funds remaining in the account exceed 25 percent of the funds projected to be needed for the next fiscal year, the commissioner may authorize the transfer of the excess funds into the fish and wildlife fund, and shall use the funds to support activities at the conservation camps.
Sec. 2. LANDS MANAGEMENT WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST POSITION
(a) The position of lands management wildlife biologist, pay grade 22, is created in the department of fish and wildlife. The purpose of the position shall be to coordinate and conduct professional and scientific lands management work statewide on wildlife management areas (WMA) following department management plans, standard operating procedures, environmental regulations, and state and federal law. The biologist will coordinate and supervise temporary personnel or contractors assigned to work with him or her; administer contracts for wildlife habitat enhancement and maintenance projects on fish and wildlife lands; develop and maintain a lands and facilities database of physical and habitat features; develop a schedule of maintenance and habitat enhancement treatments on WMAs; and maintain accounting records for the Lands Management Account created in this act.
(b) There is appropriated from the general fund to the lands management account created in 10 V.S.A. § 4051, $60,000.00 to pay the salary and expenses of a lands management wildlife biologist for one year. It is the intent of the general assembly that, after the first year, the salary and expenses of the lands management wildlife biologist shall be paid for from sales of timber on fish and wildlife lands pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4051.
The Vermont General Assembly