Contact: Joe Bachar, New England States Coordinator
Why It Matters: CSF has a tenured history in working alongside fish, wildlife, and forestry managers at both the state and federal levels to advocate for active forest management practices across the nation. Compared to passive management, active management is more effective for improving wildlife habitat, increasing forest resiliency to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire, controlling disease, pests, and invasive species, and improving access and opportunity for sportsmen and women. The prospective timber sales outlined in the Green Mountain National Forest’s Early Successional Habitat Creation Project would benefit wildlife on the Manchester Ranger District by increasing the regenerating critical young forest acreage.
The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) in southern Vermont supports a variety of wildlife including turkey, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and black bears. Managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS), the area provides all visitors – sportsmen and women from the surrounding region, as well as those who make a trip to the forest – with ample opportunities to pursue game. Recently, the USFS provided a second comment period for the Early Successional Habitat Creation (ESHC) Project in the GMNF, and both the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and leadership from the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus engaged.
CSF submitted a letter supporting the ESHC Project’s proposed West River, South Fork, and Weston Priory timber sales and urged the USFS to avoid any further reductions in planned timber harvests. Timber harvests, a form of active forest management, would facilitate the creation of early successional habitat which supports a wide range of game and non-game species. Ultimately, the ESHC project would serve to increase habitat diversity within the GMNF consistent with the guidelines outlined in the Green Mountain National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.
Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Pat Brennan also submitted comments, supporting the ESHC project and recognizing that the project would be beneficial to Vermont’s sportsmen and women and to the economy. Vermont’s forests provide for over 13,000 jobs and $2.1 billion annually to the state economy. As the primary funding source for state-based conservation, Representative Brennan highlighted the importance that the interests of sportsmen and women are protected.
In April, CSF submitted comments on the initial ESHC proposal, opposing reductions in total pool harvest acres, exclusions of harvest within certain distances from existing roads, and the elimination of permanent road construction. For more information on CSF’s engagements in the Green Mountain State, follow this link to learn about forestry-related topics and much more.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?