We in Vermont can enjoy a broad range of outdoor recreational activities in all seasons. It is part of the quality of life that enriches Vermonters and attracts guests.

Sustainable recreation is a use of our natural resources that does not diminish the quality or diversity of our environment. We believe we are managing state lands in a sustainable manner, so future generations will be able to enjoy the lands we have sought to protect permanently.

The State of Vermont in 1999 celebrated the 75th anniversary of its State Parks. Although much changed during the parks' first 75 years, Vermont State Parks are recognized as great places to recreate for a weekend, a week, or a lifetime. The State Parks need updating, however, to serve us in the next century.

Vermonters and guests often seek a more active form of recreation than they did in 1924 or 1964. A relaxing camp with a cool evening and a great view is still in high demand, as is a pristine stream with native brookies, and the calendars of thousands of Vermonters take note of deer season; but many more hikers, golfers, bikers, paddlers, marathoners, and climbers are looking for experiences that may take them to a state campsite, to a softer night's sleep at a bed and breakfast, or to a remote wilderness camp. The nation's aging population may also be driving marketplace demand for more four-season resorts and second homes.

The state has acquired significant, high-quality land throughout the state. It is working closely with other public and private entities to develop thoughtful long-term, comprehensive management plans for these resources. Doing this well in the next five years is a major priority and challenge for the Agency and all concerned.

Although the Agency of Natural Resources is mandated to serve as the principal steward of Vermont's natural resources, many businesses and non-profit organizations, as well as the thousands of everyday decisions by Vermonters and visitors about where and how they can recreate, have a tremendous impact on outdoor recreation in Vermont. Ski areas are developing into four-season resorts, extending their snowmaking capacity and creating slopeside communities. People recreating in the outdoors can have a decisive effect on species, such as the common loon, and can spread non-native aquatic species which may have the potential to decimate water bodies and native species. Heavy use of trails and small lakes can change the nature of the experience, generate hazards, and create the need to manage competing uses.

Vermont as a place to play and rejuvenate...

The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation operates more than 50 State Parks. Some parks are highly developed, while others offer a quieter, more remote outdoor experience -- reflecting the variety of recreation Vermonters want today. State parks are now more than places to go camping, picnicking, boating, and swimming. They are protection areas for critical natural resources while also accommodating compatible forms of recreation.

Green River Reservoir State Park, opened in 1999, is an outstanding example of how the Department seeks to mix recreation and wildlife habitat protection. The 5,153-acre park has the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline in the state and is the largest body of water dedicated solely to non-motorized recreation. The park is also home for moose, white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, river otters, mink, coyotes, loons, and osprey. The Department is managing the park to allow for recreation while minimizing human impacts on wildlife and habitat.


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