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2,674 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was curious about the public land equivalent to Act 250.

I found this interesting.


Agency held lands comprise an important and highly visible part of Vermont’s natural resources.
These lands are held in public trust for the enjoyment of Vermonters and visitors and for the
conservation of important natural resources. Since population, development pressures, and
recreational demands continue to increase in Vermont, state lands will be under ever-increasing
pressure to serve more needs and activities. Therefore proposed new or expanded uses must be
carefully scrutinized, justified, and assessed for their impact on state land and associated natural
resources, and benefit to the public.
State lands are capable of serving a great many uses by the public. Many of these activities are
compatible with the character, resource values, and/or other public uses of the particular state
lands on which they are conducted. However, others may be inappropriate in some instances
and/or locations. In those instances, uses may be denied, or permitted only under specific
conditions, to insure that:
(1) Natural resources and associated values are not destroyed, degraded or adversely impacted.
(2) Activities are in keeping with existing public uses and original intent of the acquisition,
including related deed restrictions, restrictions associated with funding sources, and
(3) Uses are not solely for private gain (that is, the public must benefit from the uses as well).
(4) Uses do not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the users and the general public. "

Hmmm. Degraded. Adversely impacted. Destroyed.

"Uses of state lands and waters under the jurisdiction of the Agency of Natural Resources include
those owned by the State of Vermont and managed or controlled by the Department of Forests,
Parks and Recreation (FPR), Department of Fish and Wildlife (FW), and Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC). In general, FPR allows a broad range of conservation and
recreation uses that serve the general public good on its lands, while FW allows uses that are fish
and wildlife-dependent or compatible with fish and wildlife management objectives and serve
related management goals. DEC’s lands are primarily managed for flood control purposes but
provide opportunities for compatible activities. Uses of state lands and waters under the
jurisdiction of ANR and its departments are generally appropriate if they meet all of the
following criteria:

(1) They are within the missions, goals, and objectives of the Agency and Departments,
as expressed in their strategic plans or state law.
(2) They are compatible with the overall management objectives for the particular
parcels in question as outlined in the long-range management plan.
(3) They do not unreasonably exclude, eliminate, degrade, or conflict with other
established and accepted public uses of an area..
(4) They will not destroy, degrade or adversely impact any natural, geological,
historical, cultural, fisheries and wildlife, recreational, or visual resources, and will
protect or avoid critical natural resources or other resource values.
(5) They are not specifically prohibited by law, rule, regulation, or policy. "

Hmmm. Numbers 3, and 4.

"Activities Requiring Special Use Permit or License
Many non-commercial recreational activities by individuals do not require formal written
authorization, i.e., a "permit" (see Appendix A.) However, some activities and events, while
environmentally permissible, may affect sites/natural resources or exclude other public uses for
varying periods of time (see Appendix B.) Such activities and events, in addition to meeting
criteria (1) - (5) above, may be conducted only with formal written authorization by the
Department having jurisdiction. The authorization is in the form of a special use permit or
license, depending on the type of activity, its duration, and its potential effect on the land,
ANR Policy: Uses of State Land - Page 5
resources, and public using the property. Some activities and uses are not allowed on ANR lands
(see Appendix C.).
Generally, a special use permit or license is required for any use of state land if any of the
following criteria apply:
(1) The activity is organized or publicized.
(2) The activity involves a fee or if a donation is requested (charged to or requested
from participants). (Note: guided fishing, hunting, and trapping involving groups
of less than ten people on ANR lands does not require a license or special use
(3) The activity would significantly affect a site or may alter/remove/impact natural
(4) The activity may conflict with other established uses."

1(publicized, lol), 3, and 4.

and this...
"Commercial Recreation Use
1) A license for conducting multiple commercial or other guided recreational uses of
ANR lands such as guided hikes, nature tours, snowmobile tours, dog sledding
tours, etc. (Special use permits may be used for individual tours or multiple tours
spanning less than a month’s duration).
2) For purposes of this policy, the term “commercial” applies to both non-profit
groups as well as “for-profit” business interests.
3) Commercially guided hunting, fishing, or trapping on all ANR lands does not
require a license or special use permit except for groups of ten or more.
Commercial recreational uses of Fish and Wildlife lands may additionally be
limited by any pertinent rules and regulations.
4) License terms are generally for one year but may be for up to five years. "

Number 2.

Then there's the Cooperative Agreement.

"Officially recognized organizations or associations with a Cooperative Agreement or other formal arrangement with the Agency may not be required to obtain a special use permit or license for certain activities on state lands. A Cooperative Agreement is generally issued when
the Agency/Departments transfer some land management activities, rights and/or privileges to an established organization or entity to implement those activities or use of state lands for education
purposes, trail management, research, monitoring, operation of state parks, etc. "

Within this is the implication that the Clubs are keeping up with the accepted trail standards outlined on the FPnR site. All the basic stuff. This piece I found LOL thinking specifically about Perry Hill.

"Light on the Land
No discussion of trails is complete without attention to esthetics. We're talking scenic beauty here. Pleasing to the eye.

The task is simple. An esthetically functional trail is one that fits the setting. It lies lightly on the land and often looks like it just "happened."

Well-designed trails take advantage of natural drainage features, reducing maintenance that might be needed, while meeting the needs of the users. The trail might pitch around trees and rocks, follow natural benches, and otherwise take advantage of natural land features (figure 7).

The best trails show little evidence of the work that goes into them. A little extra effort spent limbing properly, scattering cut vegetation widely, blending backslopes, avoiding drill hole scars, raking leaves back over the scattered dirt, and restoring borrow sites pays off in a more natural-looking trail. Be a master. Do artful trail work."


There's a doc you can download here to view that FPnR's source material for acceptable trail guidelines. There may be an argument to be made that the Agreement is not being upheld. I'd love to view the actual agreement if anyone can find them on the internet.

This could lead to the kind of limits JBP suggests are needed going forward on State lands.

2,674 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

From the SCORP mega-Doc

"Goals for Managing and Maintaining Trail Resources
Providers and user groups employ the following strategies when managing and maintaining trail
 Encourage shared use of trail resources and designate multi-use trails wherever possible,
where appropriate, and by considering the interests of all users.
 Ensure the safety of trails through the use of commonly accepted trail design standards,
education of users, and by keeping trails in good condition.
 Maintaining trails, including Class 4 roads, in good condition so that impacts to natural
resources, including adjacent waters, are minimized.
 Improve, reroute, or rehabilitate overused areas with new, sustainable measures.
 Encourage participation of volunteers in managing and maintaining trails.
 Monitor trail use and condition, determine the carrying capacity of trails, and set up a
reporting system for heavily-used and/or popular trail resources.
 Discontinue use of overused areas and/or divert use to other areas.
 Secure additional funds for law enforcement to patrol trails and trailheads.
 Promote the use of environmentally-friendly equipment, materials, and maintenance
 Recognize and reward cooperating landowners.
 Coordinate trail-related activities with other users and user groups.
 Anticipate conflicts and involve all stakeholders in seeking solutions.
 Maintain scenic character of surrounding areas by discouraging development where
vistas from trails are located.
 Publicize trail resources appropriately so that overuse does not occur, damage to fragile
natural resources is avoided, and people are appropriately directed to the experience they
 Coordinate with emergency service providers when needed.
 Investigate the implementation of user fees where appropriate and feasible."

Overuse. Overtourism. I would say over-publicized.

2,674 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
After reading through all the "Material", and talking to some friends who work within this system, I think the entire system is broken.

Every agency is involved in marketing and self promotion of their individual projects, programs and agendas.

At the same time, the State department of Marketing and tourism echos this marketing, then the individual partners with cooperative agreements, like VMBA, market and lobby for increased control and promotion.

Our Agency of Natural Resources, and their individual departments need to be prohibited from marketing activity. There is plenty of strong language included in their "Philosophical Statements" about protections against overuse, over promotion, degradation, destruction, ect. However, what we see is a lot of promotion, marketing, stripping away of NRB authority, and a lack of accountability for the very real overuse, destruction, and degradation of the natural and recreational resource being monetized by the Dept of Marketing and Tourism.

Instead of being a check to these destructive forces recognized in their own Philosophies...the Agency of Natural Resources also markets and promotes. Does anyone think VT tax payers need to support a marketing agency, and have the ANR also advertise? Does anyone really think we need MORE?

As an alternative to act 250 is formulated for recreational trails by these very groups, it becomes more clear that there is no balance to the conversation. Everyone involved, marketers and conservationists, all operate to sell, while not protecting public resources. We will not see ANR strengthen their resolve in protecting our natural areas from overuse and over-publicizing, ideals gives lip service in their own mission statements. Instead we will see the individuals involved in these Government agencies further abandoning their principals for the promotion of themselves, and their own pet projects that stream across their desks for the benefit of their own careers or social standings.

All marketing funded by the state should STOP. The Department of Marketing and tourism should be eliminated. Leave it to the private sector to do their own advertising, and let the Agency of Natural Resources and their individual departments act as a CHECK to this activity.

This crisis has shown us the vulnerabilities of the type of industries associated with the promoted activities. We need a pivot for the protection of our state lands from overuse, and we need more wisdom as we look to building out a more secure, healthy, and protected state, and state economy. The realities of user limits, tourism limits are here, now. What was seen as not realistic 3 months ago, is reality. Yet another silver lining and what should be an indictment of globalism, with tourism and associated service industries replacing production economies as manufacturing is focused more and more, in places with little environmental, or labor protections so as to maximize profits for an ever-more-exclusive sector of humanity.

Vermont. I think enough people know about it. Time for the state to stop selling it and start protecting it. We are, some what, isolated from the worst of this by geography, but we are not insulated from it's impacts. We should not be in a hurry to bring the fragile, consumptive, and dirty economic sectors hit so hard by this pandemic. Before this, there was gross over-development of this sector. As such, Vt saw the largest percentage of jobs lost in the country. Some of those businesses need to die off. They need to be replaced with production of goods we use close to home.
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