MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) is beginning a public engagement process to identify opportunities to help Vermont chart a path forward to protect the long-term viability of forest-based businesses, and the many benefits they provide to the state’s environment, economy, and quality of life.
To launch the project, FPR is asking all users of forest products to complete a survey to help understand their perspectives and opinions about key topics shaping the future of the forest economy and forest products sector in Vermont. The survey includes a series of 12 main topic questions and will take about 30 minutes to complete. It can be found at www.lab2.future-iq.com/vermont-forest-future/ and is open until Jan. 31, 2023.
“Vermont is losing thousands of acres of forestland to non-forest uses each year, destabilizing the forest economy and threatening Vermont’s working forest landscape and the many ecological, cultural, and economic benefits it provides,” said Commissioner of FPR, Michael Snyder. “A revitalization of the forest products economy has been identified by the legislature as one of the primary strategies for keeping forests forested while supporting Vermonters engaged in the working forest landscape – from landowners to end user.”
By January 2024, FPR will deliver to the General Assembly the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap – a ten-year plan to strengthen, modernize, promote, and protect Vermont’s forest products sector and the broader forest economy. The project was authorized by the Vermont Legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott in Act 183 of 2022.
Vermont’s private and public forestlands provide a wide range of unique and irreplaceable resources and benefits, including protection of wildlife habitat, conservation of air, soil and water, mitigation of the effects of climate change, as well as providing necessary forest products and the natural infrastructure of Vermont’s outdoor recreation and tourism economies. They also support a forest products sector that provides nearly 14,000 jobs, generates $2.1 billion in annual sales, and produces products used and enjoyed by Vermonters every day.
“This survey is an initial step to hear from a wide cross-section of Vermont, so we have confidence that the ten-year roadmap will include the opinions of all Vermonters,” said Danielle Fitzko, FPR Director of Forests, and Forest Future Roadmap project lead.
From January through June 2023, there will be additional opportunities to get involved. For more details on the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap project and to be part of the process, visit www.lab2.future-iq.com/vermont-forest-future/.