Vermont approves new sugaring licenses on state land

first_imgSource: Vermont F&W The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has approved three new applications for maple sugaring licenses on state lands. The sugaring sites are located in the Town of Groton on Groton State Forest, in the Town of Stowe on Mt. Mansfield State Forest, and in the Town of Mt. Holly on Okemo State Forest.In May of this year, the department announced that eight new sugaring sites were being made available on state forest and state park land to interested sugar makers. The department received a total of six applications for three of the eight sites by the July 10th deadline.A Maple Advisory Board has been established to advise the commissioner on this new program. The board is composed of department representatives, independent sugar makers, and representatives from UVM Extension, and the Vermont Forests Products Association. The board reviewed all applications received and forwarded its recommendations to department commissioner Jason Gibbs for approval.   Approved applicants include Glenn Goodrich of Cabot, Lewis Coty of Stowe, and Mark Turco of Mt. Holly.“I was really impressed with the qualifications and experience of these sugar makers and look forward to working with them on this new program”, said Commissioner Gibbs.  Over the coming weeks, department staff will work with these sugar makers to delineate the sugarbush and agree on how it will be accessed and managed. “We hope to get much of this work completed in the next couple of weeks so sugar makers will have ample time this fall to get the sugarbush ready for the 2010 sugaring season”, said state lands director Mike Fraysier.License agreements will be developed for each of the approved applicants outlining site-specific conditions and requirements and approved tapping guidelines. License terms will be for a five-year period with the option to renew for two additional five-year periods.License fees will include a standard $50 one-time administrative fee plus an annual fee based on the number of taps in the sugarbush. The per-tap fee will be 25 percent of the average of the previous year’s price per bulk pound of Vermont fancy grade syrup and Vermont commercial grade syrup.  last_img read more

The Circ revived again, but not really

first_imgThe Circumferential Highway experienced a small victory recently when it came to light that the Federal Highway Administration had issued an ROD or Record of Decision, giving the good-to-go on the current design and location of the proposed highway. This thumbs-up to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, however, is far from a green light on the actual construction of the highway, which still faces an “end of road, turn back” sign from the Environmental Protection Agency.The giant undertaking of connecting Interstate-89 in Williston with 117 and 289 in Essex has been riddled with problems since planning began in the early 1980s and the original layout for the road was declared dead by Governor Shumlin at a press conference in May of this year. The new proposal, known as Alternative 17 or what was previously referred to as the Circumferential A/B Boulevard, is not expected to be any less divisive.Sue Minter, the Deputy Secretary Agency of Transportation, told Vermont Business Magazine that the Circumferential A/B Boulevard is still ‘a long way off’ and that there are ‘many permitting battles ahead.’A letter to Governor Shumlin and Colonel Philip T Feir of the US Army Corps of Engineers in May from H Curtis Spalding, the regional administrator of the EPA, stated the EPA’s position quite clearly on the A/B Boulevard. Spalding wrote, ‘The Circ A/B alternatives, including VTrans’ preferred (Alternative 17) do not satisfy the Clean Water Act 404(b)(1) guidelines and that the Corps should deny VTrans’ permit application. Ending this project would enable all of us to turn our collective energies toward developing an environmentally sound solution to the regional transportation needs of Chittenden County, an objective my Agency is ready to help address.’The letter went on to state numerous problems with the proposed alternative including ‘increased phosphorus loadings to Lake Champlain… the loss or alteration of an entire network of headwaters streams that is an essential source of clean cold water for Allen Brook,’ which already has been designated an ‘impaired water,’ and ‘likely violations of water quality criteria in affected streams during construction.’According to the letter, dated May 9, at least one more permit battle has been guaranteed. It concluded, ‘â ¦if the Corps notifies the EPA of its intent to issue a permit for Alternative 17/Circ A/B based upon the existing record, I intend to initiate the 404(c) process under the Clean Water Act. In light of the significant ecological damage that Alternative 17/Circ A/B would cause, I encourage the state to reconsider its support for the alternative, and I renew the recommendation I have made previously to the Corps that it deny the permit application.’Minter said that the Shumlin administration wants to move forward, but without getting swamped down in legal battles. She said that this less contentious path is being sought out in numerous ways including meetings with the Metropolitan Planning Organization and bringing together the ‘Circ’ communities (Essex town, Williston, Colchester) to better examine integral parts of the plan such as the reduction of traffic and mitigation in key areas, environmental impact, etc.Although contingent on legal proceedings, the A/B Boulevard is planned to be constructed in two parts: Part ‘A’ will consist of a route connecting I-89 to Mountain View Road in Williston; and part ‘B’ will connect Mountain View Road to VT-289, going over the Winooski River into Essex. The road will consist of at-grade, signaled crossing at US 2 and Mountain View Road, two lanes in each direction (four total), and a 16-foot median separating them.Many Williston resident have expressed concern that the approved plan, particularly part A, will bring about more congestion and traffic problems in the future, one of the problems that the highway is supposed to alleviate. It has also been suggested that the B Boulevard should be built first, rather than A to more quickly reduce traffic at the five corners intersection in Essex Junction.Some believe that the construction schedule has been arranged accordingly to give priority to IBM, which is located off Redmond Road at Mountain View Road in Williston, in gaining more control of their transportation needs. The Chittenden Solid Waste District or CSWD, also located off of Redmond Road, would also be significantly impacted by the installation. The extent of this impact, under the current plan, hasn’t been fully determined.When the construction of either part of Alternative 17 is set to begin, if ever, is still up in the air. Minter concluded of the plan, ‘We know it’s going to be disputed.’Neel Tandan, Vermont Business Magazine. Circ won’t be built, alternatives sought and needed | Vermont…May 31, 2011 … Governor Peter Shumlin in May announced that the Circumferential Highway ‘is not dead.’ He then essentially threw a load of dirt on its … RELATED:center_img Circ highway plan clears major environmental hurdle | Vermont …Jul 7, 2010 … As a result of these discussions, the original Circ alternative that called for construction of a limited access highway with a 50 mph speed …last_img read more