State plan helps preserve and enhance Camel’s Hump

A recognizable Vermont landmark standing more than 4,000-feet tall is getting protection for years to come.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 8:04 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Camel’s Hump is a recognizable Vermont landmark, standing 4,083 feet tall. Now, it’s getting protection for years to come.

The origins of this plan actually date back to 2017 when a draft plan was released.

A 16-week public comment period with over 700 comments, combined with COVID slowed down planning. But now it’s done and one land manager says he’s excited to get to work on it.

“The plan continues a long tradition of managing for multiple uses,” said Jason Nerenberg with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

The goal of the plan is to preserve all 26,000 acres of the land, fight climate change and create more recreational opportunities.

Nerenberg says these thousands of acres surrounding the mountain have immeasurable value.

“It helps periodically to get the pulse of the public, but also to just revisit our policies,” said Nerenberg.

Nerenberg says in revisiting, they can check things like land-use restrictions for updates.

“We put things in a plan and it sort of gives us a 15-year direction,” said Nerenberg.

It’s a direction Nerenberg says Camel’s Hump State Park and State Forest, Huntington Gap, and Robbins Mountain Wildlife Management Areas are already headed.

“The plan contains resource assessments, management goals and strategies to achieve those goals,” said Nerenberg.

The longer-range outlook schedules forest management of almost 3,800 acres, making it resilient to climate change, also sustaining harvesting forest products and maintaining wildlife habitat.

Nerenberg says he expects the long-term plan to withstand the test of time.

“Those goals will probably still be applicable, the strategies and so forth,” said Nerenberg.

In another 15 years, they will revisit the plan.

“Between now and then, we have a lot of fun stuff to do with implementation,” said Nerenberg.

Big recreation numbers call for big plans to sustain the traffic.

Nerenberg says the plan outlines some new trails, maintenance, as well as upgrades and adjustment to the Catamount Trail and Long Trail. Also, management goals for recreation like mountain biking, cross-country skiing and backcountry ski zones

Nerenberg says planning is done, now it’s just time to move some mountain.

“Planning is super important, and we are ready to kind of get out on the ground with our partners and start implementing the plan,” said Nerenberg.

Some areas will also be designated off-limits to new recreation, showing there is value in nontrailed areas for an enhanced remote experience.

Another addition is enhanced parking areas. WCAX News has reported on increased traffic at some state parks in the state. This would make access to some of our forests a little easier.

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