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YCQM - Michael Snyder - April 29, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - Michael Snyder - April 29, 2012

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

April 29, 2012 -- Vt. Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder joins Anson Tebbetts to discuss forestry and state parks.

TRANSCRIPT:

>> GOOD SUNDAY MORNING TO YOU. I'M ANSON TBETTES. TODAY WE'RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT TO BEESTS, PARKS, AND RECREATION SYSTEM IN VERMONT, AND WITH US IS MICHAEL SNYDER, COMMISSIONER OF FORESTS, PARKS, AND RECREATION.

>> THANK YOU.

>> LET'S START WITH THE FORESTS. THERE IS SOME CONCERN OUT THERE ABOUT THE HEALTH OF FORESTS AND PON TEN SHALL THREATS -- POTENTIAL THREATS. EMERALD ASH BURR IS WHAT?

>> A NON-NATIVE INVASIVE INSECT.

>> WHAT IS THE THREAT TO VERMONT IF THIS ARRIVES HERE IN THE GREEN MOUNTAINS?

>> WELL, THIS IS A WOOD-BORING BEETLE, IT'S AN INSECT THAT IS NON-NATIVE, IT DOESN'T BELONG HERE, IT'S NOT FROM VERMONT, AND WHEN IT ARRIVES, AND I SAY "WHEN" BECAUSE WE EXPECT IT, IT'S IN QUEBEC AND NEW YORK STATE. IT ATTACKS ALL SPECIES OF ASH, WHICH ARE NATIVE TO VERMONT, WHITE ASH, GREEN ASH, THEY'RE AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR FORESTS. THE EMERALD ASH BOREER BORES INTO THE TREE, LAYS ITS EGGS, AND DISRUPTS THE INSIDE THE BARK, THE VASCULAR SYSTEM, SO THAT THE TREES DIE. AND IT'S A REAL THREAT. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TREES HAVE BEEN KILLED BY THIS INSECT ELSEWHERE, AND WE REALLY DON'T WANT IT TO BE HERE.

>> YOU SAY IT WAS IN QUEBEC. NEW YORK?

>> YES. SO IT'S GOING TO ARRIVE HERE AT SOME POINT. HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THAT, OR HOW DO WE, BY CHANCE, NOT HAVE IT LAND HERE?

>> IT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION. I'M GLAD YOU MENTION THE PUBLIC. WE UNDERSTAND IT, AND WE HAVE TRAPS, YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THE PURPLE TRAPS THAT ARE OUT, WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH SEVERAL PARTNERS TO BE ON TOP OF IT, BUT VERMONT'S 76% FOREST, AND 85% OF THAT IS OWNED BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS, IT'S NOT PUBLIC LAND, AND EVERY TIME THIS INSECT HAS BEEN FOUND, IT HAS FOUND BY REGULAR PEOPLE WHO SAID THIS DIDN'T LOOK RIGHT AND THEY CONTACTED AUTHORITIES. THAT'S WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN HERE. WE HOPE BY SPREADING THE WORD, WE HAVE OUR OWN FORESTERS PAYING ATTENTION, BUT WE HAVE A VERY AGGRESSIVE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IT IS, WHAT THE THREAT IS, AND HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS. ACCELERATED WOOD PECKER ACTIVITY IN YOUR ASH TREES, THERE IS A PATTERN TO THE HOLES, AND THE WOODPECKERS ARE ATTRACTED. THEY MAY BE FEEDING ON THOSE. A CERTAIN TUFTING OF THE BRANCH PATTERN. WE WANT TO TRAIN PEOPLE TO SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THEIR ASH TREES, AND THEN CALL US. A GOOD WAY TO START WOULD BE TO CALL YOUR COUNTY FORESTER, THERE IS ONE IN EVERY COUNTY, AND THEY'RE THERE TO HELP PRIVATE LANDOWNERS WITH THIS SORT OF THING. DISSEMINATING INFORMATION, AND THEN GETTING PEOPLE RESOURCES TO GET AFTER IT -- THAT'S OUR BEST HOPE.

>> NOW, WHAT HAS BEEN THE EXPERIENCE IN OTHER STATES WHEN IT HAS ARRIVED? WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT?

>> WELL, IT'S A DESTRUCTIVE IMPACT. IT KILLS ASH TREES. AND THE INSECTS FLY AROUND AND TRY TO FIND OTHER TREES TO INFECT, AND IT CAN SPREAD. AND SO ASH TREES ARE LIKE SUGAR MAPLE, WHICH ARE SO COMMON IN VERMONT, THEY'RE PART OF THE FOREST MIX, BUT THEY'RE DON'T DOMINATE THE FOR -- THEY DON'T DOMINATE THE FOREST, BUT THEY PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE. WE WANT TO GET AT IT QUICKLY, FIND TREES THAT HAVE THE INSECT, AND REMOVE THEM. AND FRANKLY, THE BIGGEST THREAT -- THE WAY THIS INSECT MOVES, IT FLIES, BUT IT HITCHES A RIDE, PRINCIPALLY ON FIREWOOD. WE HAVE A VERY AGGRESSIVE CAMPAIGN: DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD. I MYSELF HAVE A WOOD LOT, I CUT FIREWOOD AND BRING IT HOME. MAKE IT LESS THAN 30 MILES. IN OUR STATE PARKS, WE HAVE A FIREWOOD EXCHANGE PROGRAM. IF CAMPERS WANT TO BRING A LOAD OF FIREWOOD, WE EXCHANGE IT FOR THEM AT THE GATE. WE TAKE THEIR FIREWOOD, JUST BECAUSE WE SUSPECT IT COULD HAVE IT, AND THAT'S HOW IT MOSTLY -- THE BEST WAY FOR IT TO MOVE, IS THROUGH FIREWOOD, AND WE TEAR THOSE LOGS APART, PUT THEM IN BAGS, AND SEE IF THE INSECT IS IN IT. WE'VE DONE IT FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS NOW AND FORTUNATELY HAVEN'T FOUND ANY INSECTS. WE'RE SPREADING THE WORD. PARKS, FIREWOOD EXCHANGE PROGRAMS IS ONE EXAMPLE OF COMBATING THAT.

>> THE THING GOES AFTER ASH. WHY IS ASH IMPORTANT TO VERMONT? I SUSPECT IT WOULD BE FOR THE LANDSCAPE, BUT WOULD IT INVOLVE ALSO WILDLIFE AS WELL, IF WE LOSE THE ASH?

>> SURE. SO ASH IS AN ECONOMIC RESOURCE, IT'S AN IMPORTANT TIMBER SPECIES, IT'S AN EXCELLENT FIREWOOD TREE, BUT IT'S A PIECE OF THE NORMAL, HEALTHY, FUNCTIONING FOREST, AND WE WANT TO KEEP ALL THE PARTS. AND IT'S PART OF THE FOLIAGE BACKDROP PROVIDEING YELLOWS AND SOMETIMES PURPING, IT PROVIDES EXCELLENT CAVITIES FOR WILDLIFE, AND MANY WILDLIFE SPECIES BENEFIT FROM IT, AND THERE ARE LIKELY MANY OTHERS THAT WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT ARE USING IT. WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE ANOTHER SPECIES FROM OUR FOREST MIX BECAUSE OF ALL THE CASCADE OF SPECIES THAT BENEFIT FROM IT.

>> DO YOU START A CAMPAIGN OF CUTTING THAT TREE DOWN AND THE TREES AROUND IT DOWN, OR DO YOU SET UP QUARANTINES? HOW DO YOU MANAGE IT?

>> A QUARANTINE APPROACH TO TIMBER, WE WANT TO BE CAREFUL WHERE IT IS AND NOT MOVE IT. THE MAIN MESSAGE IS THE AWARENESS PIECE, AND THEN SUBSQUENTLY, NOT TO PANIC. WE DON'T PEOPLE WANT TO GO OUT AND PRESALVAGE THEIR ASH AND CUT IT. WE EXPECT THE INSECT IS COMING, BUT REMOVING ASH HAS NOT WORKED. WE'RE URGING PEOPLE NOT TO PANIC AND TO KEEP ASH AS A COMPONENT OF THE FOREST, PARTICULARLY YOUNG ASH SO WE HAVE SOME TO REPLACE THE MATURE ASH THAT MIGHT BE KILLED BY THE EMERALD ASH BORER.

>> AND THE ASIAN LONGHORN BEETLE IS A THREAT TO MAPLE?

>> MAPLE SPECIES IN PARTICULAR, AND POTENTIALLY OTHERS. IT'S A NON-NATIVE INSECT, AND IT'S VERY DESTRUCTIVE, IN NEW YORK AND NOW A BIG OUTBREAK IN WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS. IT'S VERY CLOSE. I THINK PEOPLE RECOGNIZE HOW IMPORTANT SUGAR MAPLE AND RED MAPLE ARE. WE'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR SOME TIME, SHARING WITH LANDOWNERS AROUND THE STATE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, AND TO LET US KNOW IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE ONE -- IF YOU SEE IT. IT LOOKS AN AWFUL LOT -- THE ADULT BEETLES LOOK AN AWFUL LOT LIKE NATIVE BEETLES THAT WE HAVE, AND IT'S A MEASURE OF HOW GOOD THE MONITORS ARE AT PAYING ATTENTION. EVERY YEAR WHEN THOSE EMERGE, WE GET CALLS THINKING THEY'RE AN ASIAN LONGHORN BEETLE. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE ONE, CATCH IT, PUT IT IN A JAR, PUT IT IN THE FREEZER. IN EVERY CASE SO FAR, WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO HAPPILY TELL PEOPLE THAT'S A NATIVE BEETLE, AND IT'S NO HARM AT ALL.

>> FROM TIME TO TIME WE HAVE PEOPLE SHOWING UP AT OUR ODOORSTEP, AND SO FAR IT HASN'T ARRIVED. IN WORCESTER, THEY DID CUT THE TREES. YOU TALK ABOUT THE ASH. IT HASN'T WORKED WITH CUTTING THE ASH TREES DOWN, BUT APPARENTLY WITH THIS ONE, PEOPLE HAVE GONE IN IN WHOLE NEIGHBORHOODS, RIGHT?

>> THE INSECTS WERE KILLING TREES, AND THEY DIDN'T WANT DEAD TREES IN THEIR YARD, SO THEY WERE REMOVING THOSE, AND ALSO TO REMOVE THE THREAT, TO SOME EXTENT. IT'S VERY TRICKY AND VERY DIFFICULT, AND WE'RE REALLY WORRIED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, ITS ARRIVAL, AND WE'RE HOPING TO FIND SOME CONTROL MECHANISMS FOR BOTH OF THESE. IN THE CASE OF EMERALD ASH BORER, THERE ARE NO PRACTICAL CONTROLS, BUT THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS A PARASITE WASP, A BIOCONTROL THAT PREYS UPON IT. THAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH INVASIVE ORGANISMS: THEY'RE NOT FROM HERE, SO THEY HAVE NOT EVOLVES -- EVOLVED IN BALANCE WITH OTHER PESTS. IF WE CAN FIND SOMETHING TO TROE THAT CAN A -- INTRODUCE SOMETHING THAT CAN ATTACK THEM, THAT'S IMPORTANT.

>> AND I SUPPOSE YOU HAVE TO BECOME CAREFUL ABOUT INTRODUCING ANOTHER SPECIES THAT MIGHT BECOME A PEST HERE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE SOLUTION BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM.

>> SO ATTACKING MAPLES, THAT'S THE MAPLE SUGAR INDUSTRY, THEY MUST BE EXTREMELY NERVOUS.

>> WE'RE ALL NERVOUS. IT'S THE BACKDROP FOR THE FALL FOLIAGE SEASON, AND FOR MAPLE SUGAR, AND IT'S AN ENORMOUSLY VALUABLE TIMBER SPECIES, AND THOSE ARE DIRECT ECONOMIC BENEFITS FROM THESE FORESTRIES, AND WE'RE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THOSE. BUT THEN IT'S ALSO FOREST HEALTH AND INTEGRITY. YOU START PULLING ONE OF THESE OUT, SUCH A DOMINANT PLAYER ON THAT SCENE, YOU START PULLING IT OUT, SOMETHING WILL TAKE ITS PLACE. WE LOST ELM TREES, CHESTNUT, WE'RE LOSING BUTTERNUTS. SOMETHING STEPS IN AND FILLS THAT VOID. THAT'S THE UP SIDE, IN THE FOREST, THERE ARE WINNERS AND LOSERS. SUGAR MAPLE -- BOY, IT'S SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF VERMONT. WE LOSE THOSE, THE WHOLE THING IS GOING TO START TO UNRAVEL. ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES THAT DEPEND ON THE SPECIES. THERE IS ECONOMIC, WITH THE MAPLE SUGARING, AND HOLDING THE REST OF THE FOREST SYSTEM TOGETHER.

>> HOW DO YOU MONITOR THAT ONE? THE SAME APPROACH AS TO THE EMERALD ASH BORER?

>> YES. IN ADDITION TO JUST THE GENERAL AWARENESS AND TRAINING PEOPLE, IN THE CASE OF THE EMERALD ASH BORER, OUR FIRST DETECTOR, WE'RE TRAINING VOLUNTEERS TO BE OUR EYES AND EARS. I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GO TO OUR WEBSITE TO SIGN UP AND BECOME A FIRST DETECTOR, AND WE'VE PUT ON SIMILAR INFORMATION FOR ASIAN HONG LORNE BEETLE.

>> IF THIS -- LONGHORN BEETLE.

>> IF THIS HAPPENS, IS THERE A PLAN IN PLACE?

>> YES. I'M VERY PROUD OF OUR STAFF IN THE FORESTRY DIVISION. JUST YESTERDAY, THEY CONDUCTED AN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DRILL. I WAKE UP AT NIGHT AND SAY WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WHEN WE GET THE CALL THAT WE FOUND ONE OF THESE? WE HAVE EVERYTHING IN PLACE TO RESPOND TO THAT, AND A COMMAND SYSTEM. THERE IS THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE, FIND IT, DETERMINE WHAT IT IS, AND VERIFY THAT IT'S ONE OF THESE DESTRUCTIVE PESTS, CAPTURE IT, SORT OF LIMIT ITS SPREAD IMMEDIATELY, AND THAT LIKELY WILL INCLUDE ADDITIONAL LEVELS OF QUARANTINE ON WOOD PRODUCTS, BECAUSE THESE INSECTS, THEY BORE IN, AND THEY'RE IN THE WOOD, SO SAWING THEM UP AND TRANSPORTING IT ISN'T ENOUGH TO KILL IT. IT HAS TO BE HEAT TREATED, AND WE HAVE A SYSTEM IN PLACE TO DO THAT. BUT IT LIKELY WILL PUT SOME CONTROLS ON HOW FAR, WHEN, AND WHERE YOU CAN MOVE FIREWOOD AND LUMBER, BUT WE WANT TO HAVE IN PLACE A PLAN TO STOP PEOPLE FROM DOING THAT. WE WANT TO HAVE A REASONABLE, INTELLIGENT PLAN TO CERTIFY THAT YOUR ASH WOOD IS OKAY AND IT CAN MOVE.

>> THE LUMBER BUSINESS IS SO MOBILE, FROM STATE TO STATE OR EVEN QUEBEC TO VERMONT. THAT MUST BE OF CONCERN, THAT YOU HAVE TO BE REAL CAREFUL WITH THIS STUFF.

>> ABSOLUTELY. AND WE'VE DEALT WITH THIS WITH OTHER PESTS OVER THE YEARS, SO WE'RE AWARE OF THAT, AND WE HAVE A VERY STRONG PARTNERSHIP WITH FOREST INDUSTRIES AND UNDERSTAND JUST HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS TO THE ECONOMY OF VERMONT, AND WE WANT TO SUPPORT AND GROW THAT. NOT PUT UP OBSTACLES THAT GET IN THE WAY OF THAT. BUT IN THE LONG TERM, THE FOREST HEALTH IS REALLY WHAT MATTERS. THAT'S FIRST, BUT WE WANT TO PROTECT FOREST HEALTH IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS WORKING FOREST LANDSCAPES TO CONTINUE, AND PEOPLE WHO WORK AND DEPEND ON THOSE WOODS TO DO WHAT THEY DO.

>> ARE THERE ANY OTHER THREATS THAT ARE OUT THERE ON THE HORIZON? THE QUESTION IS, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR FORESTS RIGHT NOW? AS A FORESTER, AND THAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND, WHAT ARE YOU MOST NERVOUS ABOUT?

>> CERTAINLY THESE KINDS OF INSECT PESTS ARE VERY THREATENING, THEY'RE REAL, AND THEY'RE VERY DANGEROUS. THE UP SIDE IS WE KNOW ABOUT THEM, WE HAVE PREPAREDNESS DRILLS, WE HAVE RESOURCES, INFORMATION FOR FORESTERS AND MANAGERS. BIGGER THREATS WOULD BE CONVERSION OF FOREST TO NONFOREST, FRAGMENTATION, DEGRADATION OF FOREST HEALTH, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE FORESTS, AS WE SAID, 76% OF THE STATE IS FORESTS, BUT WE ARE HAVING GROWING PAINS. OUR FORESTS PROVIDE AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF RESILIENCY TO OUR ENTIRE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, AND THEY PROVIDE THE BACKGROUND TO WOULD WORKING LANDSCAPE, BUT THEY'RE PRESSED ON ALL SIDES BY CONVERSION TO NONFOREST AND EROSION, A CULTURE OF CONNECTEDNESS TO THE FOREST. THESE ARE EVEN MORE INSIDIOUS THREATS, THAT THEY SLOWLY CHIP AWAY AT THE INTEGRITY OF FOREST SYSTEMS. WE NEED TO MAINTAIN FOREST BLOCKS, AND WITH HEALTHY SPECIES. CONVERSION OF FOREST TO NONFOREST THROUGH FRAGMENTATION AND CONVERSION TO OTHER USES IS, I THINK, OUR BIGGEST THREAT. SIMILAR TO THE INSECT PESTS, WE ALSO HAVE INVASIVE PLANTS, WHICH ARE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT. THERE IS A WHOLE LIST OF PLANT SPECIES THAT ARE VERY GOOD AT TRANSPORTING THEMSELVES AND GERMINATING AND REGENERATING IN THE UNDERSTORIES OF OUR FORESTS, SO GOOD THAT THEY'RE EXCLUDEING NATIVE PLANTS. WE CAN'T REGENERATE PINE AND MAPLE AND OAK BECAUSE THESE NON-NATIVE BRUSHY SPECIES ARE TAKING OVER THE UNDERSTORY. THAT'S BAD FOR THE FUTURE OF FOREST COMPOSITION, AND FOR SOME OF OUR SONGBIRDS, ITS REPLACING THE SPECIES WITH WHICH THEY EVOLVED. CONVERSION FROM FOREST TO NONFOREST AND INSECT PESTS ARE THE BIG THREATS. AND A GENERAL DISCONNECTION OF PEOPLE FROM THE LAND. AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE CAN HELP WITH, IS THE SAME APPROACH AS TO OUR POLICIES ABOUT LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT, ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO GET OUTDOORS AND BE ACTIVE IN THEIR LAND, ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE, -- IF YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF VERMONT RIGHT NOW, WE MAKE FOOD PRODUCTS AND WOOD PRODUCTS, IT'S VERMONT, AND I THINK WE NEED TO BUILD ON THAT, AND SAY THAT'S WHY WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, AND WE WANT TO KEEP THAT GOING, AND CONNECT PEOPLE WITH THEIR LAND, AND THEN I KNOW FROM WORKING WITH LAND OWNERS FOR MANY YEARS, WHEN YOU DO, GOOD THINGS HAPPEN. THEY BECOME CONNECTED, THEY CARE ABOUT IT, THEY TELL THEIR NEIGHBORS, AND YOU CAN HAVE YOUR FOREST, CUT IT TOO, AND REGENERATING HEALTHY FORESTS, AND KEEPING PEOPLE CONNECTED. THAT'S THE UP SIDE TO SOME OF THESE THREATS.

>> WE WANT TO COVER PARKS AND RECREATION, AND WE'LL

>> WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE FORESTS AND THE PARKS AND RECREATION IN VERMONT, AND WITH US IS THE COMMISSIONER OF THAT DEPARTMENT, MICHAEL SNYDER. COMMISSIONER, WE TOUCHED UPON THE HEALTH OF THE FOREST. LET'S MOVE INTO THE OTHER AREA, WHICH IS INCREASINGLY POPULAR THIS YEAR, YOUR PARKS AND RECREATION ASPECT OF IT. WHAT'S THE HEALTH OF OUR PARKS AND OUR RECREATION?

>> YOU KNOW, JUST SPEAKING ABOUT THE CONNECTION OF PEOPLE TO THE LAND, THIS IS ANOTHER EXCELLENT AVENUE WHERE WE WORK WITH FOLKS BY GETTING THEM OUTDOORS AND GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT STATE PARKS. 52 STATE PARKS, AND THEY'RE MUCH LOVED, AND THERE IS A PARK NEAR JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY. MUCH OF OUR PARK SYSTEM IS DEVELOPED DURING THE CCC ERA, AND WITH UPDATES IN THE 50s AND 60s, BUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE, THE FACILITIES HAVE AGED, AND YOU'VE GOT TO MAINTAIN THEM, AND IT TAKES MONEY AND TALENT AND CREATEIVITY, AND I'M VERY PROUD. WE'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE A STELLAR PARK AND CAMP EXPERIENCE FOR FOLKS, WITH A REAL CAREFUL EYE TOWARDS INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS. IMPROVING AMENITIES AS WELL AS THE UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE THAT YOU NEED, WATER SUPPLIES AND WASTE WATER SYSTEMS. HISTORIC BUILDING RENOVATIONS WITH SOME OF THESE BEAUTIFUL CCC BUILDINGS. WE'VE BEEN DOING THAT SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY, PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK, TRADESPEOPLE TO WORK, MAKING THOSE INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS, TRAINING YOUNG PEOPLE, PUTTING AT-RISK YOUTH TO WORK TOGETHER WITH TRADESPEOPLE. IT'S A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT HOW WE CAN EMPLOY VERMONTERS AND PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK IN THESE PLACES THAT THEY LOVE, BECAUSE THEN WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE TO HAVE ALMOST 850,000 PARK VISITORS LAST SEASON. PEOPLE COME, VERMONTERS AND VISITORS ALIKE, TO ENJOY THESE PARKS, AND THE AMENITIES THEY PROVIDE, AND THE LOCAL ATTRACTIONS THAT SURROUND THEIR PARKS. OUR GOAL IS TO GIVE THEM AN EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE. WE HAVE REALLY WELL TRAINED PARK STAFF WHO ARE ALL ABOUT PROVIDING SERVICE, TO GO WITH THE PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS IN THE PARK.

>> IS THERE MORE DEMAND IN THE PUBLIC THAT THEY EXPECT STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES, THEY EXPECT, YOU KNOW, GOOD RUNNING WATER, GOOD BATHROOM FACILITIES, CLEAN BEACHES, TRASH, A BEAUTIFUL LEAN-TO -- IT BECOMES SORT OF LIKE A RESORT, AND YOU DON'T HAVE THE FINANCES TO MAINTAIN THAT RESORT?

>> YES AND NO. I MEAN, PEOPLE DO HAVE EXPECTATIONS, BUT WHAT'S GREAT IS THEY EXPECT THE VERMONT STATE PARK EXPERIENCE, AND THEY UNDERSTAND IT'S A STATE PARK. IT'S A PARK! AND THEY'RE NOT RESORTS, AND THEY'RE NOT, YOU KNOW, HOTELS. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING WANT A CERTAIN THING, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO GIVE THEM. THEY DON'T WANT SOMETHING ELSE. I THINK THERE IS A SHIFT, WE'RE VERY CAREFUL TO REACH OUT DOING SURVEYS TO FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE LIKE AND DON'T LIKE, AND WE'RE HEARING THAT THEY WANT CERTAIN AMENITIES THAT MIGHT BE INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT WE TRY TO PROVIDE, BUT MOSTLY, THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT. THAT'S WHY WE'VE SEEN SUCH AN EXCELLENT RESPONSE, IN PEOPLE COMING TO THE PARKS AND ENJOYING WHAT WE HAVE.

>> AND LAST SUMMER WE HAD IRENE, AND JUST BRIEFLY, DID THAT IMPACT ANY OF YOUR PARKS OR FORESTS AT ALL WITH THE TROPICAL STORM OR DID YOU ESCAPE THAT?

>> WE DIDN'T QUITE ESCAPE IT. WE WERE VERY LUCKY. THE LAKE FLOODING IN THE SPRING WAS REALLY HARD ON SOME OF OUR LAKESIDE PARKS AROUND LAKE CHAMPLAIN, AND OUR STAFF DID AN AMAZING JOB RALLYING VOLUNTEERS FROM THE COMMUNITY TO CLEAN THAT UP. IT WAS HEROIC. AND IN THE CASE OF IRENE, WE HAD A FEW STATE PARKS WHERE A LITTLE BIT OF DAMAGE WAS IN THE PARKS, BUT A LOT OF LOCAL DAMAGE, ROADS, AND PEOPLE GOT STRANDED IN SOME PARKS BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T GET OUT, AND WE DID HAVE SOME DAMAGE TO SOME PARKS, BUT NOT SO MUCH TO THE PARK FACILITIES THEMSELVES BUT MORE WE HAD DAMAGE TO PARK ACCESS ROADS AND TRAILS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES.

>> AND I GUESS IRENE, THE CENTRAL OFFICE WAS IMPACTED BECAUSE YOU NO LONGER -- YOUR MAIN OFFICE IS NO LONGER THERE, BECAUSE IT WAS FLOODED. HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THAT?

>> IT WAS A CHALLENGE, AND WE WERE WITHOUT OFFICES, AND OUR STAFF RALLIED AND MADE DO WITH SHARED SPACES, WORKING FROM HOME IN SOME CASES, IN MY CASE WORKING OUT OF MY TRUCK FOR A WHILE, AND MY KITCHEN, BUT PEOPLE -- THEY'RE PROFESSIONALS, AND I WOULD HASTEN TO ADD THE AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER BOARD WERE HEAVILY DISRUPTED, BUT MUCH OF THE AGENCY, WE HAVE REGIONAL OFFICES, AND THEY CONTINUED. IT WAS OUR HEADQUARTERS IN WATERBURY THAT WAS DISLOCATED, AND IT WAS A TEMPORARY PROBLEM, AND NOW WE'VE BEEN RELOCATED, WE'RE SETTLING TO SOME EXTENT, IT'S AN ADJUSTMENT, AND I'M PROUD OF OUR FOLKS FOR DEALING WITH THAT AND ADAPTING TO IT, AND MANY WAYS DIDN'T EVEN MISS A BEAT. WE'RE NOT ALL TOGETHER. THAT HEADQUARTER STAFF, WE HAVE NOW SOME FOLKS IN MONTPELIER, FOLKS ARE IN OUR CAL CENTER IS THERE IN MONTPELIER. WE WOULD LIKE TO ALL BE TOGETHER AGAIN.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT LOGGING AND WOOD PRODUCTS INDUSTRY. WHAT'S THE HEALTH OF THAT? WE HEAR ABOUT DAIRY FARMERS STRUGGLING. ARE THERE FLUCTUATIONS OF THE HOUSING AND THE MARKET AND SO FORTH?

>> YES. THE FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY TRADITIONALLY IS LINKED TO HOUSING STARTS, IT'S A FACT, AND WITH HOUSING DOWN AND CONSTRUCTION, NEW CONSTRUCTION DOWN, IT IS LINKED TO THE ECONOMY, SO THE DEMAND FOR WOOD PRODUCTS IS NOT THERE. WHAT WE'RE GOOD AT IN VERMONT, WHICH IS VALUE-ADDED FLOORING, FURNITURE, AND TRIM, AND FROM OUR FANTASTIC HARD-WOOD FLOORS, THAT'S WHERE THE VALUE IS, AND PEOPLE AREN'T BUYING THAT. THAT HURTS FOR SEVERAL YEARS. AND HIGH COST OF ENERGY AND INSURANCE -- IT'S BRUTALLY HARD WORK. IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT, IT'S UNHERALDED, LARGELY MISUNDERSTOOD, AND SO THEY HAVE ALL KINDS OF ROADBLOCKS TO BE EFFECTIVE AT WHAT THEY DO, AND YET SOMEHOW THEY MANAGE TO KEEP AT IT. AND WE SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF OUR FORESTERS, TRUCKERS, SECONDARY MANUFACTURING PLANTS IN THE STATE THAT ARE FAR MORE CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE, AND ADAPTIVE THAN ANYBODY WOULD GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR. I AM HOPING WE CAN REBOUND. WITH THE IMPROVING ECONOMY, THAT'S BOUND TO HAPPEN, BUT I THINK WE NEED TO BE MORE CREATIVE IN HOW WE MARKET AND SUPPORT WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT WE CAN PROVIDE. BUYING LOCAL WOOD, ASKING FOR IT, IS A REALLY IMPORTANT THING FOR ALL THOSE FOLKS WHO LIVE IN AND WORK AND DEPEND ON OUR FORESTS.

>> WITH A MINUTE LEFT, I SUSPECT IT'S AN INTERNATIONAL MARKET. WE'VE GOT QUEBEC, BIG INFLUENCE ON VERMONT, BUT DO LOGGERS HAVE TO GET A NICHE LIKE SOME DAIRY FARMERS DO TO SURVIVE?

>> IT'S BOTH. IT IS GLOBAL, AND MORE AND MORE GLOBAL EVERY DAY, AND I THINK FOR FOLKS WHO MANAGE FORESTS AND SUPPLY WOOD PRODUCTS, WE NEED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE GLOBAL MARKETS AND BIG COMMODITY MARKETS, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO INCREASE OUR ABILITY TO BE INNOVATIVE AND NIMBLE AND RESPOND -- SIMILAR TO WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR, IN FINDING NEW MARKETS AND NICHE MARKETS. I THINK WE'RE STARTING TO SEE THAT, WE HAVE TREMENDOUS CAPACITY TO DO THAT, ESPECIALLY WITH HIGH-VALUE CRAFT AND WOOD FURNITURE AND PRODUCTS OF THAT SORT.

>> WE COULD TALK ALL DAY. WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME. BEST OF LUCK TO YOU.

>> MY PLEASURE. THANKS.

>> THAT'S GOING TO DO IT FOR US.

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    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
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