Melissa Reichert, forest planner for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest, said the plan contains a number of elements which will be acted upon as funding for them becomes available. Known as the "Dorset Peru Integrated Resource Project" the plan for that area, which also contains parts of Manchester and Winhall, is above and beyond the Forest Service's typical maintenance schedule. Along with the project the Forest Service has released a "Final Environmental Assessment" detailing the plan's impacts.
"It doesn't drastically change anything, it improves it," said Reichert.
The project area is 2,047 acres. Reichert said the management of vegetation is the goal in some places which involves logging contracts and controlled burns in some small areas. This will create areas of new growth which in turn leads to more diverse wildlife habitat, Reichert said. The Forest Service also plans to encourage the growth of more oak trees, which Reichert said the forest there could use more of as it is now primarily beech and maple. Besides this method of controlling vegetation, the areas around apple trees may also be pruned to improve it for those seeking wild turkey or ruffed grouse. Reichert said some of these growth management areas are intended to be managed in stages over time.
Hiking trails are also slated for improvement, she said, especially in the area of Dorset Mountain which contains a network of popular trails that are in rough shape. Reichert said many hikers begin their journey on national forest land there and continue on to other peaks not federally owned. Many trails will be improved and a few will be discontinued.
The area is also known for the numerous stone mill foundations and kilns. Reichert said some of these will be shored up to prevent them from falling in. The watershed is also slated for improvement namely by putting wood debris in the river that provides shelter and food for trout and other fish. Reichert said each type of project gets funding on an annual basis separately and the improvements will happen as money and time allow. She said unless something drastically alters the environment in that area the plan is not likely to change.
"The Dorset Peru project will help to achieve the conditions desired for this area of the national forest as defined in our Forest Plan," said Bill Jackson, district ranger for the Manchester Ranger District in a release. "Our next step is to start putting together a plan for implementing timber sales, stewardship contracts and restoration activities for this project.
According to Ethan Ready, public affairs officer for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest, the next Integrated Resource Project will look at the area between Route 9 and the Vermont/Massachusetts border.