NO. R-194 .† House concurrent resolution honoring the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen for facilitating full public access to the Blueberry Wildlife Management Area in Castleton.

(H.C.R. 124)

Offered by:† Representatives Helm of Castleton and Rogers of Castleton.

Whereas, the Blueberry Wildlife Management Area (BWMA) in Castleton contains a valuable range of hardwood and softwood trees which is an excellent wildlife habitat due to the areaís good southern exposure, and

Whereas, BWMAís southern boundary borders U.S. Route 4, a limited access highway and private property abuts the areaís northern, southern, and western boundaries, and

Whereas, for the past 30 years, the public has been denied access to 1,200 acres of BWMA because of the landís location adjacent to private property, and

Whereas, the fish and wildlife department wished to purchase a 71-acre tract of land providing the public access to the previously inaccessible 1,200 acres, and

Whereas, due to local opposition to the purchase, based on the projected loss of property tax revenue, the department chose not to purchase the tract, and

Whereas, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen, a 128‑year‑old statewide organization comprising 51 clubs of men and women sporting enthusiasts, has purchased the land and has indicated a willingness to pay the annual property tax assessment, and

Whereas, this public-spirited organization is constructing a small parking area to provide parking for hunters, trappers, hikers, and all others engaged in legally-permitted recreational activities on the newly accessible section of the BWMA, and

Whereas, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen is an organization of great importance in the stateís efforts to protect traditional sporting activities, and

Whereas, the property will now be publicly accessible for recreational use for many years into the future, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly recognizes the Vermont Federation of Sportsmenís dedication to the continuing efforts to maintain an important part of Vermontís natural resource heritage, and commends and thanks the federation for all of its work related to expanding public access to the Blueberry Wildlife Management Area, and be it further

Resolved:† That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Henry Holmes of Bethel, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen, and to Bill Leipold of Enosburg Falls, the federationís immediate past president.