Town Forest Committee
February 16, 2011
Opening: Kristen Sharpless called the meeting of the Town Forest Committee to order at 6:10 p.m. on February 16 in the Town Hall.
Present: Pat Mainer, Stewart Pierson, Steve Russell, Brooke Scatchard (at 6:41), Kristen Sharpless, Chuck Reiss (at 6:18), Jason Reed, Brent Francis
Absent: Wayne Bissonette
Approval of January 5 Minutes: Stewart moved to approve the January minutes. Brent seconded. Unanimously approved.
Chair Position: Steve is interested in doing the job because he wants a balanced approach to the problems and has put too much time into the forest to turn his back on it now. Brooke had volunteered, but prefers to be an observer rather than orchestrator at meetings. Brent would be willing to help out or be assistant chair, as would Brooke. Discussion focused on the need for balance and open mindedness. Decision postponed.
Forum - Summarize Themes and Issues: Kristen noted we probably can't deal with all the info from the forum in one meeting. She suggested making a plan to schedule a time, perhaps a weekend morning or day. Brent suggested more frequent, perhaps every two weeks, meetings also. Those present decided on March 26, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. to take goals and identify issues, problems, or threats to those goals that we learned from the forum or from our own sense of things that would make it hard to reach those goals. We agreed that we also hope to problem solve to come up with specific ideas for dealing with problems and end up with clearly defined issues with options for what to do.
Brent also noted the need to gather more data, for example, the police could talk with us about implications, state wildlife biologist to address concerns. Dave Adams, wildlife biologist, could give us more info. Chuck mentioned that Dave Hirth is a wildlife biologist. Chuck commented that we should still be in data gathering mode, that we still need to collect more information from a broader scope, surveys etc. He would be more comfortable with broader sampling. Chuck would like to be able to summarize the public's feelings. After discussion, it was determined that Chuck will do the talking at Town Meeting and will talk with Jon before the meeting. Brent will be at Town meeting to distribute a survey "What is a Town Forest?" Pat and Steve will help. Kristen will talk with Stewart about the map.
Kristen noted that we should all look at the Town Forest Inventory, Assessment, and Management Considerations before March 26 meeting.
Kristen will make spreadsheet summarizing emails giving input to HTF committee. Anyone who gets any emails will forward to all.
Brent will get info from police.
Pat will talk with Jon Trefry tell him that map is on-line.
LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest (LHTF) Update: Stewart worked on the follow-up of objectives from the LHTF management plan. Justin Kinney, District Manager of Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, came out to see what could be done with tire removal and erosion control. He will work to get state funding. Kristen noted that there is an issue with easement, because the easement calls for allowing natural stream channel to meander – no riprap or such, so it might need a bridge to span natural course, at least for time being.
Stuart is working on getting a path to tie together the north and south portions of the LHTF. He had good luck with Mead Farm Road folks. The Tufos, another land owner, who are planning on selling, will allow people to walk on their land, but no easement or signs.
HTF Salvage Harvest Update and FEMA Funds: Rocky, Brooke, Greg Paul, of FEMA, Chris Olson and Bill Torrey visited the HTF together. Town roads, the Eagle's Trail (because it is maintained by town) and perhaps logging roads since they are maintained by the town, may be eligible for funding. FOTW trails will be funded by FOTW. We can make do without FEMA money. But with all the down wood, Bill Torrey can not provide wide enough trails to allow for fire control. He has cleared the road up to where the Fellowship had the wheel. Bill has cleared toward the new road. Brooke has answered the last round of questions that will determine eligibility. If eligible, FEMA would provide a certain amount of money per a certain volume of material. FEMA's traditional method of measuring will not work in that environment. Brooke will keep us posted regarding eligibility for access roads and/or bike trails. If the strings aren't too bad, we might be interested.
FOTW does not have liability insurance for anyone working on trails. The Town requires Bill to have liability insurance. For now no one should be clearing up there. If any trail clearing is going to happen it should be run by the committee first. Steve will check with the town lawyer.
Next Meeting: The next meeting will be on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Kristen will prepare a timeline and a list of tasks before the next meeting.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Pat Mainer