Category Archives: Outdoors

Deer herd meetings coming soon

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says meetings about the state’s deer and moose herds will be held soon.
Discussion scheduled for next month will include results from the 2013 season and prospects for this year’s deer and moose season.  The department will also give an update on the deer management review.
Attendees are welcome to bring their experience with the herds and recommendations about hunting regulations.
Public hearings are scheduled for March 25 in Springfield, March 26 in Orleans and March 27 in Middlebury. Two more hearings will be held in May.
The March 27 meeting will be live streamed at VPT.org

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 www.tinyurl.com/KehoeMap.
For more information about the event, contact Ali Thomas, Fish & Wildlife education coordinator at [email protected] or 802-371-9975.

Volunteers needed for annual turtle nest site cleanup in North Hero

The annual spiny softshell turtle beach cleanup day is on Saturday, Oct. 26, at North Hero State Park between 10 and 11 a.m. Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for help pulling up vegetation on nesting beaches to prepare turtle nesting sites for next June.
Volunteers may also find a few hatchlings that occasionally remain in nests underground this late in the year. In addition to threatened spiny softshell turtles, these nest sites are also used by map turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles.
Fish & Wildlife biologist Steve Parren will have hatchling spiny softshell turtles in hand and will talk about his long-term recovery efforts with the species. Some hatchling turtles will be raised in captivity by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center while they are small and most vulnerable to predation. They will be released back into Lake Champlain next spring.
“This is a great way to help conserve a threatened species in your own backyard,” said Parren in a release. “It’s also a fun way to learn more about the turtles and to see some recently hatched baby turtles.”
Participants are asked to dress in layers of warm clothes and to bring work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools, and their own lunch. Families and kids are welcome. The cleanup may run until 4 p.m., although participants can choose how long to assist.
To get to North Hero State Park, follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero. Take a right on Lakeview Drive, just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburg. Follow Lakeview almost to the end until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left. Drive to the end of the road always bearing right.
For more information, please contact Eric Lazarus at 802-658-8505 or [email protected]

The annual spiny softshell turtle beach cleanup day is on Saturday, Oct. 26, at North Hero State Park between 10 and 11 a.m. Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for help pulling up vegetation on nesting beaches to prepare turtle nesting sites for next June.
Volunteers may also find a few hatchlings that occasionally remain in nests underground this late in the year. In addition to threatened spiny softshell turtles, these nest sites are also used by map turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles.
Fish & Wildlife biologist Steve Parren will have hatchling spiny softshell turtles in hand and will talk about his long-term recovery efforts with the species. Some hatchling turtles will be raised in captivity by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center while they are small and most vulnerable to predation. They will be released back into Lake Champlain next spring.
“This is a great way to help conserve a threatened species in your own backyard,” said Parren in a release. “It’s also a fun way to learn more about the turtles and to see some recently hatched baby turtles.”
Participants are asked to dress in layers of warm clothes and to bring work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools, and their own lunch. Families and kids are welcome. The cleanup may run until 4 p.m., although participants can choose how long to assist.
To get to North Hero State Park, follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero. Take a right on Lakeview Drive, just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburg. Follow Lakeview almost to the end until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left. Drive to the end of the road always bearing right.
For more information, please contact Eric Lazarus at 802-658-8505 or [email protected]

Rescuers pull man out of cave

WEYBRIDGE — Officials say a man has been pulled to safety after spending 14 hours in a Weybridge cave, believed to be the largest in Vermont.
Rescuers were called to the cave at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Rescuers say the man was hospitalized with a broken ankle and other injuries. He was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
The man’s name was not released.
WCAX-TV (http://bit.ly/143j66P ) reports the Weybridge Fire Department, Middlebury Technical Rescue, New Haven Technical Rescue and the Vermont Cave Rescue Team helped with the operation.
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation site says the Weybridge cave should only be attempted by experts.

Worcester considers harsher penalties for ATV use on trails

WORCESTER — A Vermont town is considering increased penalties and a greater law enforcement presence to protect two trails that have been damaged by the unauthorized use of motorized off-road vehicles.
Worcester officials are concerned about Eagle Ledge Trail, which runs over a ridge, connecting Eagle Ledge Road in Worcester with Eagle Ledge Road in Elmore. Shepherd’s Hill Trail intersects with Eagle’s Ledge on the Worcester side.
In recent years, trail damage complaints have been brought before both the towns of Worcester and Elmore and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.
The Worcester select board plans to re-examine an ordinance that prohibits unauthorized motorized travel on the trails, with the possibility of increasing penalties, Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/12Hn8kC). It also wants to revisit a plan to create a concrete block barricade at the Elmore/Worcester town line and increase the presence of the town constable at the start of the trail.
In the past, efforts to block Eagle Ledge Trail on the Elmore side have spurred damage around the trail as unauthorized uses got around the barricades.

Officials investigate Fern Lake fish deaths

LEICESTER (AP) — Vermont state agencies are investigating whether a pesticide sprayed to control mosquitoes caused a fish kill in a lake.
Leicester resident Zachary Saxe tells Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1bX32Z1) he saw and smelled dozens of dead fish in Fern Lake earlier this month.
The area near the Addison County lake is part of a mosquito control district that sprays pesticides to control larvae and adult mosquitoes. A report by state aquatic biologist Rick Levey said the die off “may be related” to the spraying.
He said the active ingredient in the pesticide, malathion, is extremely toxic to fish. Eight species of fish died.
Gary Meffe, who chairs the board of the mosquito control district, said it has a 20-year history of spraying in the area with no problems.

Trail development halts due to privacy concerns

DUMMERSTON, Vt. (AP) — Development of a trail near Dummerston, Vt., has come to a halt as its ownership is being questioned.
The goal is have the trail follow a 36-mile former West River Railroad route from Brattleboro to Londonderry. It’s attracted hikers since the railway’s demise in the late 1930s.
Representatives of the nonprofit Friends of the West River Trail say they want to work with property owners and possibly re-route future trail sections.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports (http://bit.ly/17XJNkJ) some residents just north of the trail’s end in Dummerston have signed a petition opposing further development due to privacy concerns.
The trail is well-developed between Londonderry and Townshend. The trail group has begun publicizing the southern section between Brattleboro to an access point in Dummerston, which has brought up land ownership questions.

Free fishing day in Vermont Saturday

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermonters will have a chance to fish without a license in the state’s lakes and streams.

Saturday is free fishing day.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says anglers can try for brook, brown or rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, and northern pike as well as other several other species without a fishing license.

The department says Vermont has 284 lakes and over 7,000 miles of clear streams in which to fish.

The Grand Isle Fishing Festival also will be held on the same day, offering free fishing instruction to young anglers.

Fish & Wildlife board to hear from public about fishing changes

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board is holding three public hearings on proposed changes to trout and bass fishing regulations.

The board proposes reducing the daily creel limit for brook trout by half and opening 11 new river sections to catch-and-release trout fishing with artificial flies or lures outside of the normal season. A section of the Walloomsac River in Bennington also would be stocked with 2-year-old brown or rainbow trout.

And catch-and-release open water bass fishing outside the normal season would be proposed on all lakes, ponds and reservoirs not listed as “seasonally closed waters.”

The public meetings will be held Tuesday at the St. Johnsbury Elementary School, Wednesday at the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier and Thursday at the Kehoe Education Center in Castleton.

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.