Public comment period for Camel’s Hump management plan re-opened

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has reopened the public comment period on a draft plan for the public lands covering and surrounding Camel’s Hump.

During the initial public comment period from Oct. 25 through Jan. 15, the agency received over 500 written comments including calls for more time to submit feedback on the plan. In response, the agency is accepting additional comments through Friday, April 13.

“This plan has received a great deal of attention, and we’re glad Vermonters are expressing their passion for our public lands,” said Jason Nerenberg, District Stewardship Forester who leads the district’s interdepartmental stewardship team. “During this additional public comment period, we’re asking people to provide focused feedback by referencing specific parts of the plan. This detailed feedback will allow Agency staff to address specific ideas and determine how to best incorporate feedback in the plan.”

Land management plans are drafted for all Agency of Natural Resources lands to determine the course of action to protect natural resources, provide recreational opportunities, produce sustainably harvested forest products, and conserve wildlife habitat on public land. The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife periodically reassess the plans, engaging the public in this process.

State officials completed a draft long-range management plan for the Camel’s Hump Management Unit in October 2017. The area comprises 26,000 acres and represents one of the largest areas of undeveloped forest in the state of Vermont, supporting a diverse range of wildlife and wild plant species. The spot is one of Vermont’s most popular areas for residents and visitors alike to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor adventures. The draft plan includes Camel’s Hump State Park, Camel’s Hump State Forest, Robbins Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and Huntington Gap Wildlife Management Area.

Highlights of the plan were presented at four public meetings attended by more than 120 people in November and December.

The draft plan calls for focused expansion of hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country ski trail networks, as well as the potential management of localized backcountry ski glades. It also looks to restrict rock climbing to protect a unique community of cliff-dwelling plants and it identifies large portions of the Natural Area that would not be open to new trails or recreational uses.

Recreational use of the area has been one of the primary uses of this parcel of public land and this demand is expected to grow, placing increased pressure on natural communities and infrastructure such as roads, trails, and parking lots.

In addressing sustainable forest management, the plan also covers logging and its impact on wildlife habitat and forest health.

The draft plan is available for review at goo.gl/PchBei. Written comments will be accepted through Friday, April 13 and can be submitted to ANR.CamelsHumpComments@Vermont.gov or through the mail to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, 111 West Street, Essex Junction, VT 05452-4695.

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