July 7, 2003 Conservation Commission minutes


Present: Alison Bechdel, Lars Botzojorns, Tom Longstreth, Sharon Murray, and Kristian Omland


•Bob Fries, the Bolton Valley Resort owner, and his wife Tina attended. Lars had invited them for an open-ended discussion about conservation in town, and what’s happening at the Resort.


Bob talked for a while about the situation up there. They had a very slow year last year, but he’s expecting things to pick up a lot this season.


He talked about the land situation. Of the 5300 acres that Ned Hamilton had owned, Bob bought the ski facilities, lifts and 700 acres. He has an option on another 270 acres, two pieces on either side of the ski area, which he’s not sure yet whether to buy or not. GMC bought 1000 acres. The Point radio bought 142 acres including Goose Pond. 3200 acres remained. 1000 on the SE side, Bone Mountain way, and 2300 to the north. (Hamilton kept sewer & water co. and parking garage) Redstone Commercial Group will close on these pieces 7/24, and will lease Bob the hotel with option to buy. Will sell sewer & water to fire district they just formed.


Bob had been talking to Land Trust, who had been interested in the parcel. He’s unclear on what Redstone is planning to do with the land, but doesn’t think they could possibly develop all 3000 acres. And with the 10 acre interim zoning, and the sewer at capacity, nothing will happen soon.


Bob has a 2 year license to use the Nordic trails. He had hoped for an easement but the banks and VEDA didn’t want the property to be encumbered. As far as Bob can see, anyone who owns the land will want to keep xc trails there. So he rolled the dice, went with the 2 yr. Plan & will see what happened.


Bob has no immediate plans for expansion, but mentioned possibly another parking lot and a lodge/condos. But nothing’s in the works except getting the existing facilities in shape. The septic system is a rate limiting factor, and it will take probably $200-300,000 to improve it and put in a new leach field.


Bob would also like to build a storage pond. There’s not really enough water for snowmaking. There’s a flat area across from the sugar shack that he thinks might work.


•Bob and Tina left, and next we talked about the Preston Pond trail project. Tom did some work on the trail, at sections 1 and 4 on Lars’ map. He ditched section 4, deepened the upper track, filled in lower one, did some water bars.


Kristian, Lars, and Tom talked about various trail possibilities to Libby’s Look. We make a plan to organize regular monthly outings for trailwork, every fourth Saturday through the fall.


Sharon suggested we get someone from ANR to check the pond for endangered plants & stuff.


Tom plans to go out and flag a section on the third weekend of July, then the next weekend he’ll go out with whoever shows up to work on it.


Alison sent an article to the Gazette about the trailwork dates, and made flyers to hand out at the Fireworks on the 12th.


•VLT bounced the curb cut permit back to us. They think the town should handle it. Sharon suggested that we go in to the Select Board and try to work this out. Alison got us on the agenda for the 7/28 meeting


Kristian came up with a rough schedule for the trail work. 7/26, work on ditching segments 1 and 4. August, clipping segments 5 and 6. Sept, do 17 & 18, ditching and clipping. It would be nice to get something done for XC skiing before winter, especially if we’re going to do Jerry Mullen’s primitive biathlon plan. We’ll need to get permission from the Mullens to use segment 10.


•We’ll need to decide on a trail marking system. Blue would be good since it’s visible year round. But we’ll need to make sure the markers are different from the LT side trails, which are also blue. Get plastic markers?


•Fundraising. We need to get on the ball and raise $12,000 by the end of the year. The LWCF grant only gave us 28,000 and not 50K. If the National Fish & Wildlife grant also cuts back, that’ll be a drag.


Lars said that he would follow up with Rob Mullen’s plan to sell or auction off paintings of the Preston Pond area. Lars will also follow up with Jerry about the primitive biathlon plan.


Sharon mentioned possibly getting Gardiner Lane to donate some of his artwork to the cause. None of us knows him. Does Jen? Alison will ask her.


We’ll do a letter writing campaign in the fall to the people who’ve already donated.


Lars suggests getting the names of the 25 biggest landowners, and doing a special solicitation to them. Alison and Sharon will start on that project when they go in to the town office for the 7/28 meeting. Get the top 25 names from the grand list.


Kristian mentioned some artists he knows on Nashville Rd., John and Diane Shulenberger. He’ll talk to them to see if they’re interested in hosting a soiree or something.


•Lars will copy the approved interim stewardship plan and send it to the Select Board.


August Agenda:


•Report on Sara Holbrook hike (Sharon thinks, Winooski valley park district might be interested, since there’s not good access by road? Canoe landing.)


•Status of members.


•MPG update by Jen. (whether to rezone BV land)


•do safe hunting, safe ATV workshops?