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The Waitsfield Conservation Commission has nearly finalized a management plan for the 640-acre Scrag town forest. All that is needed before the plan goes to the select board for approval is a final round of public input. Join the Conservation Commission for a public presentation at 7 p.m. (refreshments at 6:30 p.m.) on Monday, December 3, at the Waitsfield Elementary School. Discussion will follow and final plan revisions will be based on this public input. Everyone is invited to come learn more about the forest and what is planned for its future, and to share thoughts and ideas.
The Scrag Forest contains over one mile of the Northfield ridgeline and much of the scenic vista forming The Valley’s east side. With assistance from local consulting ecologist Kristen Sharpless and drawing upon three previous studies of the forest, professional input and suggestions from the public, the commission’s plan describes the property and outlines goals, policies and guidelines related to recreation, forestry, wildlife, water quality, aesthetics and development.
Also prescribed are actions to be taken over the next several years to work toward meeting the plan’s goals. For example, recreational access will be further improved by posting a kiosk, signs and trail markers to direct visitors from the parking area at the end of Bowen Road to the new footpath completed by a Vermont youth conservation crew this summer.
The main trail up to the beaver pond, which is in poor condition, will be improved and rerouted in places as part of a timber harvest planned to improve and create wildlife habitat and to generate revenue and/or timber and firewood for community projects. Fixing the main trail will also help address erosion and water quality issues along this access.
The latest version of the plan and supporting documents are posted on the Waitsfield town website. Please email comments to Valerie Capels, Waitsfield town administrator, by Tuesday, December 4, and come out to the public meeting on December 3. Questions? Contact Waitsfield Conservation Commission chair Leo Laferriere at 496-2515.