Kingdom Heritage Lands Management and Access Plans Now Available
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has completed an updated plan for the Kingdom Heritage Lands, which includes changes to the management plan for West Mountain Wildlife Management Area and the public access plan for the Plum Creek Timberlands.
The updated plan includes management strategies for rare species that are just beginning to recolonize the area, such as American marten and Canada lynx, along with methods for adapting to climate change and improving flood resilience. The plan describes new strategies to maintain and increase public access in the West Mountain area, while honoring the ecological vision of a core special treatment area to complement widespread active habitat management in the surrounding lands.
The plan also directs new active habitat management to benefit a wide array of wildlife including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and American woodcock.
The Kingdom Heritage Lands comprise a vast network of bogs and forests in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, encompassing West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Plum Creek Timberlands, and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge. They host unique wildlife such as moose, bobcat, and spruce grouse, and are well-known known for their diverse recreational opportunities and rugged character.
First purchased in 1998, the Kingdom Heritage Lands represent perhaps the most ambitious conservation project in the state’s history.
“These lands are a true conservation success story,” said Louis Porter, commissioner for Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Our partners and all of the people of Vermont have something to celebrate today. We’ve strengthened our management strategy for these lands through the valuable input provided by all of those who care about these lands and offered their opinions during this process.”
Public input has been extensive throughout the 18-month collaborative process of updating the 10-year management strategy. The plans are now available online at www.vtfpr.org/lands/kingdomheritage.cfm.
West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, at 22,000 acres, is the largest wildlife management area in Vermont. It is managed for public use and conservation through a partnership that includes the departments of Fish & Wildlife and Forests, Parks, & Recreation, along with the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and numerous stakeholder groups.
This partnership, in collaboration with the Vermont Land Trust, also manages a public access easement on the 84,000 acres of surrounding land owned by Plum Creek Timber Company.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org
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