The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is looking for public input as it develops a long-range management plan for the Worcester Range management unit.
The long-range management plan is intended to guide land management decisions for the next 20 years. The agency conducts public scoping early in the process to improve its understanding of the public’s interest in and use of state-owned lands.
Public comments will be gathered an online survey available at arcg.is/18yPq4 until Aug. 3.
“Public scoping is an important part of the management planning process — it influences a first draft of the plan, which we later share back with the public for comment before moving on to a final draft,” said Brad Greenough, stewardship forester for the Barre district of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. He leads a multi-disciplinary team developing the plan.
The Worcester Range is iconic in Vermont, forming the scenic backdrop to the state’s capital, and providing close access to public lands from central Vermont’s population centers.
The Agency of Natural Resources manages five properties that run the length of the mountain range, spanning 18,772 acres, including C.C. Putnam State Forest, Elmore State Park, Middlesex Notch and land in five towns — Middlesex, Waterbury, Stowe, Elmore and Worcester.
The management unit contains many popular recreation destinations, including Mount Hunger, Perry Hill, Stowe Pinnacle, Moss Glen Falls, Mount Elmore, Elmore State Park and Mount Worcester, as well as two new state acquisitions — Brownsville Forest in Stowe and the Hunger Mountain Headwaters in Middlesex and Stowe.
The Worcester Range is significant for its benefits to wildlife, too, as one of the largest uninterrupted forest blocks in the state. These thousands of acres of forest, intermingled with over 500 acres of wetlands, provide space for animals to move within and between other large blocks of habitat to expand their range, find mates and adjust to climate change.