Ripples: The Newsletter of the
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Conserving Resources, Creating Prosperity
November 2012
Two moose in a November wood
Photo Credit: Wayne Laroche


Respect          Protect          Enjoy


In This Issue
From the Secretary's Desk: Economic Resiliency in the Wake of a Changing Climate
Brownfields in the Green Mountain State
Economic Growth Expected by the Expansion of Barre's Town Forest
Vermont State Parks Contribute $75 Million To Vermont's Economy
Survey Reveals Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Are Important Recreationally and Economically
ANR Deputy Secretary Chris Recchia Appointed Commissioner of Vermont DPS
DEC Waste Management Division to Host Workshop: Reducing Food Waste Through Source Reduction

What's In the Woods?


Now that November is here, temperatures are dropping and snow is starting to lay. It is a great time to get out in the woods and fields to find out what other creatures have been passing through.

Quiz: Can you identify the common Vermont animals that made the tracks below? Send submissions to [email protected]  All correct entrants will be listed in next month's newsletter (please include your full name with submission). Bonus: explain what has happened in photo "G"





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From the Secretary's Desk: Economic Resilience In the Wake of a Changing Climate

"This is not the time for illusion or evasion; it is a time for transformation"
 - David Orr, 2011


The devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy last month serves as a sad reminder that climate change is real; and it is having a very real and detrimental impact on our communities, our families and our livelihoods. The economic and human costs of Sandy are staggering. We cannot wait for the next Sandy or Irene, or the next historic blizzard, heat wave, drought or wildfire. We must address the causes of climate change and prepare for its inevitable impacts. We need to plan, and we need to act.


Vermont has an opportunity to lead this effort. Living in small communities, close to the land, we know first-hand that everything is interconnected; vibrant communities, healthy people, well-balanced ecosystems and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. We see that when ecological systems become unbalanced there is a corresponding detrimental impact on our lives and our pocketbooks. We need look no further than our backyard for evidence that this is so: in places where pollution from storm water runoff has made the waters in Lake Champlain un-swimmable, businesses that rely on visitors to the lake are suffering. Where air quality is poor, increasing numbers of children are experiencing asthma attacks that cause unnecessary suffering and economic hardship as parents miss work and pay thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Where wetlands have been compromised or destroyed, flood damage becomes more severe, impacting lives and seriously impairing already strained budgets. Read More...

Brownfields in the Green Mountain State
By: David K. Mears, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
   - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Looking across the Black River at the refurbished building that used to house the former Fellows Gear Shaper factory, the last adjective to pop into my mind was "brown" or "field." After accompanying Governor Shumlin to Springfield this past September on a glorious autumn day, it was a pleasure to see this revitalized downtown building. Once completed, the beautifully restored 19th century factory building will hold medical offices, restaurants, shops and more. Along with Governor Shumlin, I was there with Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz and Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller to celebrate the award of several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants to help Vermont communities clean up similar sites across the state.


These sites are referred to as "brownfields", a name that does them an injustice. Whoever coined this term missed the opportunity to recognize that redeveloped properties in downtowns are an excellent way to be "green" and to make some "green" in the process.  Read more...

Credit: Jerry and Marcy Monkman
Economic Growth Expected by the Expansion of Barre's Town Forest 
With assistance from the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) and the Trust for Public Land, the town of Barre has secured a $400,000 federal grant to acquire an additional 384 acres to add to the 26 the town currently owns. The town forest is already a regional destination for mountain biking and cross-country skiing. By permanently protecting the land it will not only attract new businesses and homeowners to Barre Town but also ensure that the land remains in active forest management, supporting local resource-based jobs and providing timber revenue for the Town. A recent study of the economic benefits of the Barre Town Forest by the Gund Institute at University of Vermont estimates there will be 10,500 annual visitors by 2015, spending $640,000 annually in the Barre area and supporting 20 jobs. Read more.

Barre is not alone in their interest to become owners of forestland in Vermont and to steward these lands in a way that will enhance local public value. Vermont is rich with town forests and FPR has a long history of supporting them. To learn more about town forests in Vermont, check out The Vermont Town Forest Stewardship Guide: A Community Users' Manual for Town Forests.


Vermont State Parks Contribute $75 Million to Vermont's Economy


Our State Parks are having a banner year for sure! State Parks were buzzing this season. With a visitation number of over 900,000 individuals, the parks hit a 21-year record in 2012. The wonderful weekend weather this summer was certainly a contributing factor but this achievement was not realized because of weather alone. Creative promotional efforts, recent capital improvements and our longstanding tradition of high quality front-line customer service all combined to build to a monumental accomplishment like the one we achieved this year.
An often untold story is that all of these people visiting our parks are also making significant contributions to our economy by spending money for goods and services related to their stay, with much of it going directly to small, rural towns and villages nearby. At the same time, our staff are forging new collaborative relationships with local businesses by offering home-made products to the park-going public through park-owned concessions stands.
Based on previous studies, we estimate that the total economic contribution of these visits comes in at around $75 million annually! Camping alone contributes $46 million with more than half of that amount coming into Vermont from out-of-state tourists. Once here, these same folks purchase food, gas, firewood, camping gear and other items from businesses in nearby communities, supporting restaurants, convenience stores, shop owners and service-providers. Even in the off-season, parks are utilized by hunters, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, wildlife photographers and winter campers. While we do not collect fees or provide in-park services during the winter months, nearby towns and villages are still able to benefit by providing products and services.
To learn more about the many recreation opportunities offered by Vermont State Parks, visit our webpage.

Survey Reveals Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Are Important Recreationally and Economically 


Fish and wildlife resources are important to all Vermonters who hunt, fish or watch wildlife, but these resources also contribute greatly to our economy according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau.
The nationwide survey revealed that Vermonters ranked second only to Alaskans in enjoying fish and wildlife resources recreationally in 2011. Sixty-two percent of Vermonters went fishing, hunting or wildlife watching, or enjoyed a combination of these activities, while 64% of Alaskans did the same.
"This survey underscores the importance Vermonters place on wildlife-related recreation," said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. "Our hunting, fishing and wildlife watching opportunities contribute greatly to why this state is a great place to live and do business."  Read more...

ANR Deputy Secretary Chris Recchia Appointed Commissioner of Vermont Public Service Department 

Congratulations to our Deputy Secretary Chris Recchia for being appointed the next Commissioner of the Vermont Public Service Department. Chris brought deep knowledge of the environmental issues facing Vermont, years of experience working with ANR and a great sense of humor to his job. We will miss him! He will be a wonderful leader for the Public Service Department. We hope you will join us in wishing Deputy Secretary Recchia the very best of luck in his new role as Commissioner.

DEC Waste Management Division to Host Workshop: Reducing Food Waste Through Source Reduction
What: ANR, US EPA and VTC co-sponsored workshop
When: Tuesday Dec. 4th, 2012  8:30am - 3:30pm
For Who: Workshop geared toward large generators of food waste including colleges and universities, hospitals, supermarkets and resorts
Where: Judd Hall, Randolph Campus, Vermont Technical College
Cost: $25 (includes lunch)
Registration/Info: or call 802-728-1339
Like Us On Facebook! 
Liking the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Facebook page is a terrific way to stay connected to everything natural resource-related. Sustainability tips, hunting and fishing news, beautiful landscape and wildlife photos, public comment notices, all of these and more are available to our Facebook community. Why not become a part of it? Click here to visit our new page now!
 Give The Gift Of The Vermont Outdoors!  
If you are looking for healthy holiday gift giving ideas, why not give the gift of the great
outdoors? Check out these great Vermont State Parks holiday packages which include options like day use and camping passes, park merchandise, boat rentals and more. Get out and enjoy!
Contact Us:

Deb Markowitz, Secretary

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources


[email protected]