A great outdoors Happy New Year
By DARREN MARCY
STAFF WRITER | December 30,2012
Hereís hoping your holiday was a great one and Santa delivered that headlamp, ice-fishing combo, rifle, set of skis, four-wheeler, or whatever was on your list.
Hopefully, you found some time to get out of the house a little and now that we have snow, you have the perfect reason to try those new snowshoes, skis or that new sled your kids received that just happens to be big enough for adults as well. Well played.
With the new year just around the corner, there is some business at hand.
We have to ó I believe there is a law ó make New Yearís resolutions. In other words, we need to make stuff up weíre not going to do, despite our good intentions.
So, even if youíre not going to follow through, make a few resolutions. Who knows what miracle might come true and youíll end up following through.
Because I have poor luck with resolutions, I like to make them for other people.
Here are a few Iíve managed to come up with this year. I hope the groups and organizations listed here are able to keep my resolutions.
Fish & Wildlife
Coming off a deer season in which there seemed to be an increase ó at least a small increase although itís yet to be determined officially ó in the annual deer kill, the Fish & Wildlife folks are already defending themselves against a barrage of folks who say the antler restrictions arenít working and there are no deer in the woods.
Yet, photos and buck pools seem to show otherwise as there are more 200-pound whitetails and deer with large racks showing up. Itís all relative, however.
If you kill a 200-pound, 10-pointer, the season was a pretty good one. But if you went out and didnít see any or many deer, the deer herd has crashed and Fish & Wildlife is to blame.
My New Yearís resolution for Fish & Wildlife is to manage and stateís deer herd based on biology.
I fully understand that social issues play a big role in what state deer managers consider when they determine how many permits will be issued, where numbers need to be grown or thinned out, and whether to continue a management plan like the antler restrictions or, as some have called for, shooting more spikehorns.
But the No. 1 goal the Fish & Wildlife Department needs to put out front is what is best for the deer. I think everybody agrees this winter is going to be worse than last year. The storm at the end of December puts the current winter ahead of all of last year already.
Deer have had it easy the last couple, but this year that may not be the case.
I hope the Fish & Wildlife biologists and leaders will choose the manage the herd in the woods, not the herd of naysayers at the winter deer meetings.
Resolutions are easy to come by. Changing the minds of people set in their ways isnít quite as easy. But letís hope this resolution finds a way to daylight.
After losing at every step, people trying to prevent anglers, kayakers and others from using Berlin Pond still wonít give up.
After losing a Vermont Supreme Court challenge, and after the state refused to ban recreation on the pond, and after an overwhelming vote during the November election supporting recreation on the pond, those in charge of allowing access have refused to do so.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has said theyíll put in a small parking and boat launch area for people to put their canoes and kayaks in the water, but so far the town board has remained silent.
It makes one wonder who has the ear of the town board, the majority of residents who supported access, or the handful of local residents and others who want to keep the pond for their own specific method of recreating since hiking and biking around the pond and bird watching wonít be curtailed.
Thereís also the troubling aspect of the pond being used as a private oasis.
Photos on Facebook show a path from a local home to a dock and mini-cabin on the shore of the pond, and several people who live nearby say they just want things left the way they have been for a century or more.
My resolution is that the board will accept the stateís offer to build a couple of parking spaces and launch for nonmotorized water craft.
Public spaces should not be held hostage for the privileged few.
Pine Hill Park
Letís also give credit where credit is due. The Rutland parks and rec crew have a gem on their hands in Pine Hill Park and the community hiking, biking and skiing trail system just keeps getting better.
They continue to maintain and improve this little trail system, built almost exclusively with volunteers and donated money, and Pine Hill continues to grow in stature.
Itís not often you hear of a community trail system, available for free access, that costs the town very little, mentioned in the same breath with some of the more famous commercial offerings in the area. Many folks are coming to the area with the intentions of riding or hiking some of the areaís great trails, but have already penciled in Pine Hill Park for a morning or afternoon as well.
Thatís a great feather in the Rutland cap.
My resolution is for the Rutland brain rust (oh, that troublesome ďTĒ key) and the good people at Rutland Recreation and Parks to keep the pedal to the floor and continue to support and enhance one of the nicest trail systems any town can boast.
And if other towns are looking for a longterm project, come visit the folks in Rutland to see how it can be done.
Contact Darren Marcy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.DarrenMarcy.com.