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To The Editor:
This letter was sent to the Fayston Development Review Board. Re: Crean Subdivision request.
The Mad River Valley "Bear Witness" group (aka Mad River Citizens for Responsible Growth, with party status in previous Slide Brook discussions) has watched the deliberation and legal proceedings on the Crean subdivision request with deep concern that this development would negatively impact the quality of the Critical Bear Habitat in Slide Brook. This habitat, as evidenced in multiple proceedings by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, is the most significant in the state of Vermont and has been designated as such by the state.
The Crean property is part of the critical habitat, or is its closest neighbor, depending on legal interpretation. These beech stands and the adjoining open forest provide bears an appropriate grazing area for their most important food source. The Crean property falls entirely within the quarter-mile mast buffer. This buffer was designated by the state of Vermont as a critical factor to maintaining active use by bears, and encroachment into this critical habitat, as proposed by Mr. Crean, will negatively impact the bear utilization of this resource. The erosion of protection of this critical habitat should be avoided.
There exist both government and non-government entities willing to find ways to mitigate this impact while providing Mr. Crean with appropriate avenues. We would urge the DRB to continue in their search to seek alternatives that limit encroachment as much as possible.
The bears have no legal standing but they have been recognized by the state as having some rights to their feeding grounds and to not being disturbed. We hope that you can hear their voices.
Spokesperson for Bear Witness
Mad River Citizens for Responsible Growth