Category Archives: Conservation

Annual outdoor Halloween event in Castleton Friday

CASTLETON — Families can join a fun and educational Halloween campfire show led by students from Green Mountain College’s environmental education and interpretation program at the Edward F. Kehoe Green Mountain Conservation Camp on Point of Pine Road in Castleton, on Friday, Oct. 25, from 5-8 p.m.
The second annual Halloween Wildlife Festival and Jack-o’Lantern Hike at the camp’s Education Center is where kids will learn about the creepy, crawly critters that reside in Vermont and have a chance to get decked out in their costumes before the traditional trick-or-treat night. The 20-minute campfire program will run at 5, 6, and 7 p.m.
Other activities include a nature hike along a trail that’s lit by carved pumpkins, wildlife-related activities, face painting, and a photo booth. Snacks will include apple cider, caramel apples and other seasonal treats.
“The Education Center at Kehoe does a natural resources related event every month, and October is a perfect time to highlight the fun of Halloween while focusing on the wildlife that make it so special” said Alison Thomas, education coordinator. “This event gives families a chance to enjoy the season in a different way and to learn these animals may not be so scary after all.”
Admission and activities are free and open to the general public, and all ages are welcome. No registration is required. Costumes are encouraged, but not required.
The Edward F. Kehoe Green Mountain Conservation Camp is operated by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. This event is sponsored by the Fish & Wildlife Department and Green Mountain College. For directions to the Edward F. Kehoe Green Mountain Conservation Camp, visit
For more information about the event, contact Ali Thomas, Fish & Wildlife education coordinator at [email protected] or 802-371-9975.

Land donation creates 1,547-acre “Braintree Mountain Forest”

BRAINTREE — A private donation and the help of a New England conservation foundation have preserved 1,547 acres in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the New England Forestry Foundation announced Wednesday.
The new Braintree Mountain Forest will be open to the public passive recreational purposes. The forest has an internal road system and many trails for hiking and other forms of outdoor recreation, including snowmobiling on a designated VAST trail, the foundation said in a release.
The land’s owners, Paul Kendall and Sharon Rives, began acquiring the parcels that will make up the forest in the 1970s, building the acreage over time. The pair hoped to preserve the headwaters of the Riford Brook watershed from development, and continue to manage the woodlands sustainably. Their gift, which technically came from the Todhah Hill Foundation, is the culmination of their land conservation goals, according to the release.
“This is a significant milestone for our organization and takes us one step closer in our Heart of New England initiative to conserve 30 million acres by 2060,” said the forestry foundation’s executive director, Robert Perschel. The donation is the largest in the foundation’s history, according to the release.
The forest is managed by John McClain of Randolph, a consulting forester. The forestry foundation will manage the forest in the same manner and ensure that the ridgelines will remain undisturbed by visible develoment for at least 50 years. The forestland is located northwest of Randolph, along the ridge that separates Braintree and Rochester, between routes 12A and 100, with parts of the forest in both towns.
The foundation will host a dedication of the forest on Sept. 28 from 2 - 4 p.m. to mark the preservation. The event will include remarks, a ribbon-cutting, refreshments, and a guided hike. The event is open to the public, and all are welcome to attend.
Further information and event directions may be found online at

Moretown landfill re-opens, pending appeal of state order

MORETOWN — The Moretown landfill off U.S. Route 2 that was denied recertification because of odor complaints is accepting limited amounts of trash while it appeals the state’s order that would shut it down.
Advanced Disposal recognized there were problems and fixed many of the items the state cited in its decision to close the landfill, said Mary O’Brien, company spokeswoman.
“We’re aggressively pursuing our appeal process, and we’ve filed for an expedited hearing,” O’Brien said. “We know that there were problems at the site, but we believe the state based their decision on conditions before we began substantial improvements.”
The closure of the Moretown landfill would leave Vermont with only one working landfill in Coventry.
The company has spent more than $1 million since late last year in upgrades to the Moretown facility’s water- and gas-collection systems. In January, the landfill stopped accepting out-of-state sludge that was thought to be a significant source of the odor that drew so many complaints.
In addition to asking for permission to continue operating, Advanced Disposal is also seeking permission to expand into a new area.
“We firmly believe that Moretown landfill is a vital economic asset that benefits all including the state of Vermont, the town of Moretown and the businesses and residents who rely upon the site for a cleaner and greener community,” said the company’s regional Vice President Dave Lavender.

Vermonter to paddle from NY to Maine through Vermont

OLD FORGE, N.Y. — There’s still ice on some lakes and ponds but the first paddlers have begun making their way from Old Forge, N.Y., to Fort Kent, Maine.
Traveling by canoe, Emma Carlson of Farmington, Maine, and Emily Rooney of Fairfax, Vt., launched Tuesday and plan to complete the 740-mile journey through four states and one Canadian province in 40 days.
Kate Williams of the nonprofit Northern Forest Canoe Trail says the first paddlers setting forth from Old Forge after the ice melts is becoming a rite of spring.
The group says the women will be traveling without aide of cell phones, computers or GPS. They’ll be communicating via postcards with students at two schools in Maine.

Wardens arrest man for taking biggest buck in 20 years

STAMFORD — Vermont game wardens say the biggest buck shot in the state in more than 20 years was shot a day after the close of the November rifle hunting season.
Wardens say they received a tip that 47-year-old Jim Smith, of Stamford, was seen removing the 10-point buck from the woods on Nov. 26. The 2012 rifle deer hunting season ended Nov. 25.
Last month Smith told wardens he’d taken the deer believing the season was still open.
Smith was charged with taking deer in closed season.
Curtis Smiley of the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club says the buck was one of the largest deer killed in the state in more than 20 years. It had a score of more than 165 on the Boone and Crockett antler scoring system.

Amount of posted land in Vermont on the rise

BENNINGTON — The amount of posted land in Vermont has gone up in recent years.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says the numbers have increased since 1971, from 100,000 acres to 230,000 last year.
Unless a person takes measures to enclose or “post” their property, anyone who is properly licensed can go onto their property and hunt, fish, or trap there.
Once a person posts their property, hunters, anglers, and trappers must get permission from the landowner to conduct those activities.
The Bennington Banner reports ( the department launched a service through its website that connects willing landowners with hunters. This was done in response to complaints from landowners with deer damage to their property and from hunters saying with all the posted land there are fewer places to hunt.

RNRCD to elect a new supervisor

Petitions for the position of supervisor for the Rutland Natural Resources Conservation District will be available Oct. 15 to all owners of one or more acres within the district.
An election will be held Nov. 20. Petitions must be returned to the local district office by Nov. 6.
An eligible voter may pick up a petition at the Rutland NRCD office at 170 South Main St., Suite 4, Rutland, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Town creates community forest

CANAAN — The Vermont town of Canaan has taken ownership of 424 acres to create a community forest.
Vermont Public Radio reports town officials say the property will be used for a variety of economic, educational, recreational and conservation purposes. For example, it will generate income through sustainable timber harvests and provide an outdoor classroom for local schools.
The land was owned by the Tillotson family for generations. The town acquired the land with a conservation easement on 368 acres to ensure that the majority of the land will be left undeveloped. The remaining 56 acres has no easement and can be used by the town for other economic development.
The town is holding a celebration for the community forest on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Canaan Recreation Park.

VPR: Redeveloping brownfields presents challenges & opportunity

From Steve Zind and Vermont Public Radio:

There are an estimated four thousand sites in Vermont that are considered ‘brownfields’.

They range from old gas stations to closed down mills and factories.

Developing these properties is complicated by concerns about contaminants in the air, soil or water.

At a meeting last week sponsored by the Vermont Environmental Consortium, there was a lot of talk about how developing brownfield sites is a team sport…

Read the rest of the story, and listen to the audio clip at by clicking here.

2 accused of illegal quartz mining

IRA —Two men, one from Vermont and the other from New York, made a costly mistake in August by mining quartz on a state Wildlife Management Area.
Robert LaPorte of Shaftsbury and Philip Yerke of Waterford, N.Y., were charged with willful and careless destruction of state property. Each man is subject to a $2,500 fine and loss of their licenses to hunt, fish or trap in Vermont for a year.
The 770-acre Bird Mountain Wildlife Management Area was purchased in 1976 with funding from the sale of hunting licenses and federal taxes on hunting equipment. It is managed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department as public hunting land and for its wildlife habitat, including a cliff section on Birdseye Mountain used by nesting peregrine falcons.