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S.275

AN ACT RELATING TO ALLOWING PEDESTRIAN RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES ON THE STATE-OWNED PARCEL OF THE SO-CALLED CHAMPION LANDS

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 2606(f) is added to read:

(f)  This subsection applies to land acquired by the state of Vermont pursuant to Sec. 87a of No. 1 of the Acts of 1999, the budget adjustment act, which comprises the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and which is a portion of the so-called Champion lands.  Land described under this subsection shall not be managed to limit the ability of citizens to participate in lawful, pedestrian recreational activities on the land in question, which shall include:  cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, hunting (including training and using hunting dogs), snowshoeing, swimming, trapping, wildlife observation, and the taking of game animals.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 2613 is added to read:

§ 2613.  CHAMPION LANDS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

(a)  There is established a Champion lands oversight committee, to be composed of the following:

(1)  the secretary of natural resources, or a designee;

(2)  a representative of the Vermont land trust, selected by it;

(3)  a representative of the Vermont housing and conservation board, selected by the board;

(4)  a representative of The Nature Conservancy, selected by it;

(5)  a representative of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, selected by it;

(6)  a representative of the Vermont Traditions Coalition, selected by it;

(7)  a representative of the Associated Industries of Vermont, selected by it;

(8)  a representative of the Vermont Forest Products Association, selected by it;

(9)  a representative of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, selected by it;

(10)  a representative of the National Wildlife Federation, selected by it; and

(11)  three members of the House, to be appointed by the Speaker, and three members of the Senate, to be appointed by the Committee on Committees.

(b)  Legislative committee members shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 402, for no more than five meetings during the year.

(c)  The committee shall be convened by the secretary of natural resources, each five years, commencing in 2007, and shall elect its own chair, vice-chair, and clerk.  The purpose of the committee shall be to make recommendations to the general assembly on the ongoing process of ensuring that the lands commonly referred to as the Champion lands are: conserved as a working forest for the sustainable production of wood products; conserved for natural resources, including the maintenance of wildlife habitat and the conservation of identified natural heritage sites; and conserved for perpetual public access for traditional recreational uses.  The group also will review and comment on the positive and negative effects of the proposed 12,500 acres special treatment area within the state-owned portion of the lands.