(Host) A state board that oversees land deals by the U.S. Forest service has approved a plan to add 1,400 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest. The panel approved the acquisitions on Tuesday, despite earlier objections. In August, the board postponed approval of the land deals and raised questions about the federal government’s management of the 380,000-acre forest.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie is a member of the board. He says he was concerned that the Forest Service hasn’t actively managed the land – including harvesting timber – for the last six years.
(Dubie) “And what I shared was, before I feel good about signing on to acquire new land, I want to understand why we’re not doing what we say we’re doing with the plans that we have. And since August, I’ve worked with the Forest Service and others to try to get an answer.”
(Host) Forest Supervisor Paul Brewster says he’s promised to work closely with the state as the forest management plan is revised over the next few years.
(Brewster) “I think they’re more comfortable with the assurances that we’re going to have an ongoing dialog and that the Forest Service looks for and is seeking that active engagement throughout the process. I mean they are a key party as we move through this revision, because we’re talking about what the National Forest is going to look like for the next 15, 20 years.”
(Host) The board’s approval means the Forest Service can go ahead and buy 16 parcels in nine towns in southern and central Vermont.