This week, VNRC submitted comments to the Forest Service about a 71,000-acre project on the southern half of the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) called the Somerset Integrated Resource Project. Find the comments here.
The project has many components. They include improving aquatic habitat for brook trout; reducing erosion and placing barriers on up to 11.7 miles of Forest Service roads; improving water quality and recreation opportunities around Grout Pond; offering backcountry skiing terrain by Mount Snow; and treating 9,328 acres through various timber harvests.
Though we offered support for many aspects of the project, we raised concerns about the extent of new road building currently occurring on the southern half of the GMNF. Combined with another recent project, the Early Successional Habitat Creation Project, the Forest Service is proposing to reconstruct up to 26.7 miles, and build over 46 miles of new and temporary roads, over the next 15 years, which is far more than what was contemplated under the 2006 Forest Plan.