Protecting Black Bear Habitat at Parker’s Gore

In the 1980s and 90s, Vermont’s ski areas faced significant pressure to develop, converting to four-season, destination resorts and second home communities. As ski areas made decisions that had negative effects on the surrounding environment (Killington got particular flak for its plans to use treated sewage for snowmaking), VNRC got to work. One of our longest and most contentious battles of this era was over Parker’s Gore.

In 1986, the Killington ski area applied for an Act 250 permit to construct a snowmaking pond in Mendon, VT, in a remote area known as Parker’s Gore East. As the Act 250 hearings progressed, it became apparent that Parker’s Gore was home to black bears, and that the beech forests there were a critical food source for them. Over the next several years, VNRC, along with Friends of Parker’s Gore and the Shrewsbury Land Trust, fought for protection of this area.

An update on VNRC’s work at Parker’s Gore in the Spring 1989 Vermont Environmental Report

Our struggle was rewarded in 1990 when the Environmental Board denied permits to develop at Parker’s Gore. In the ensuing years, VNRC also helped Friends of Parker’s Gore and other parties negotiate over a potential merger of Killington and Pico ski areas that would have included protection of Parker’s Gore in the deal. In 1997, the Friends of Parker’s Gore, Killington, and the State of Vermont finally came together on an agreement. It included a swap of state-owned land in the Killington Basin, in which the ski area could grow, in exchange for thousands of acres in Parker’s Gore that would remain permanently protected.

Our Victories

Girl drinking water

Removing Lead Fixtures from Schools

State house in fall with people on lawn

Furthering Environmental Justice

Advancing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Removing Derelict Dams

Supporting and Strengthening Act 250

VNRC has been very effective in creating change in this area.

Fighting PFAS and Toxic Contamination

Protecting the Land and Views at Exit 4

Guiding Municipalities to Implement Act 171

Forming and Supporting Energy Committees

Protecting the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetlands

Ensuring Clean Streams at Jay Peak

Promoting Statewide Dam Safety

Preserving Downtown Bennington

Convening the Forest Roundtable

Creating Statewide Precedent on Biomass Electricity

Securing Clean Water Funding

Maintaining Current Use

Banning Billboards

Declaring Groundwater as a Public Trust