Senate Passes Preliminary Bill on Champion Lands

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(Host) By a vote of 17-12, the Senate gave its preliminary approval Friday to legislation concerning the recreational uses of the former Champion Lands. However it’s expected that a number of controversial amendments will be offered to the legislation when it comes up for final consideration next Tuesday.

The bill involves the recreational uses of 12,500 acres of land owned by the state of Vermont. The state wants to create a core ecological reserve on these lands, where logging would not be permitted.

The chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Richard McCormack, says the legislation tries to address some of the concerns of a number of sportsmen’s groups. These groups are worried that the state may try to restrict hunting, fishing and trapping on the land in the future.

The legislation makes it clear that these activities will always be allowed on this property:

(McCormack) “I believe that the protections that the sportsmen of this state wanted were there all along, but they don’t believe it. And to do something to encourage and increase public confidence is not nothing. It’s not a small thing. It gives people assurances that they believe they need. It takes what was in the easement and puts it into law. It puts it in statute.”

(Host) Some senators want the state to allow logging on the land and it’s likely that the Senate will address that issue next Tuesday.

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