Conserving our Outdoor Traditions
Having been raised in a small Vermont community, I know just how important the work of Fish & Wildlife truly is to the people across the state. I spent my childhood in the woods near our farm and in an old boat on our pond, learning from being in wild places and with wildlife, without even realizing how important that connection is.
Those of us who are lucky enough to work for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department share with the state’s hunters, anglers and trappers the trust of Vermonters that we will oversee, protect and manage wildlife and their habitats responsibly so that all of us, young and old, will have the chance to experience the same traditions that we value.
In Adamant, where I’m from and live now, as in places across our state, hunting and fishing are more than recreational activities. They form the fabric of our outdoor lives, giving us the opportunity to see the connection between our actions and the survival and health of the species we cherish. Due to the decades of careful management, white-tailed deer have stable populations today in Washington County. Moose stride around the wetlands in Woodbury as regal as royalty. Loons call out to campers canoeing on Buck Lake. And those are just a few examples close to hand.
Conserving these and other species in Vermont, and balancing their needs with our human demands for economic growth and housing, is no easy task. But as your commissioner, I welcome the challenge and am familiar with the test facing Fish & Wildlife.
During the previous year and a half, as I worked as legislative liaison to Governor Shumlin, I was glad to see the state appropriations that help support the Department increased to support the work of the Department. I also applauded the resolution that ensured fish and wildlife will be kept in the public trust, belonging to all Vermonters for all times. I look forward to building on this legacy and advancing policies that conserve wildlife and help hunters and anglers.
As commissioner, I want to ensure that hunting, fishing and trapping remain every bit as much a part of state’s culture as they are of its tradition. Our largest challenge, and one that has particular resonance for me, is making sure Vermonters have access to wildlife, land and waterways. Too many forces have worked to loosen this connection. My job will be to strengthen it once more.
We have several other hurdles ahead, from rebuilding the Roxbury Hatchery to reviewing our deer management regulations, making sure they work for hunters, landowners and protect the health of the herd. We also continue to search for consistent funding to maintain and protect healthy fish and wildlife populations and habitats. The coming year will offer us many opportunities to meet and discuss how we might best address these issues.
The work of the department has been, and will continue to be, stronger with your insights, your knowledge and your experience. Let’s take the time to create a dialogue about Vermont’s wildlife and wild places, and how we can conserve them for the children of today and the future. We have a common goal. Pulling together, we will achieve it.
Louis Porter, Commissioner
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.