Published: 11/12/2022 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 11/12/2022 10:00:13 PM
As the biologist who manages the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s 826-acre Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area (WMA), I am writing to remind the public that target shooting is prohibited on the property.
WMAs are conserved and managed for many uses. Activities including hunting, hiking and wildlife watching are all permitted on Windsor Grasslands WMA and the department’s 100 other WMAs. Participants in these and other activities have enjoyed them side-by-side on the roads, trails and trailless areas our WMAs offer.
However, target shooting requires additional infrastructure for safety and to minimize environmental impacts — infrastructure that is not present at Windsor Grasslands WMA.
That is why the department prohibits target shooting at Windsor Grasslands WMA. Since acquiring the property in 2018, we have installed signs to make the rules for public use of this property clear. Our game wardens have investigated reports of target shooting on the WMA, and issued warnings and tickets to violators. Unfortunately, illegal target shooting there continues.
In October, department staff met with town officials, legislators and WMA users to discuss solutions. Following from that meeting, I am asking the public to take two steps to help ensure that the WMA is enjoyed safely and responsibly.
First, I ask local target shooters to choose the department’s Hammond Cove Shooting Range as a safe location to practice. Just 15 minutes by car from Windsor Grassland WMA, Hammond Cove has the infrastructure necessary for safe, responsible and enjoyable target shooting.
Second, I encourage all Windsor Grasslands WMA visitors to help stop illegal target shooting on the WMA by reporting violators. Reports should include a license plate number and can be made by calling 802-828-1000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, hunting remains legal on the property and should not be reported.
Caring for our public lands for the enjoyment of all Vermonters and for the well-being of our state’s natural resources is everyone’s responsibility. Honoring the rules under which these lands are conserved ensures their continued access for the public and benefit to Vermont’s biodiversity.
The writer is a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and oversees Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area.
Join us if you think it’s wrong to use half of our federal tax dollars to fund wars and 800 military bases around the world while families in Vermont and New Hampshire are living on the street. Join us on Tuesday mornings at the Ledyard Bridge with our message “No War.” You will find, like we have, that many of the hundreds of people who pass during the morning rush hour respond positively to the “No War” and “Defuse Nuclear War” message. In fact, given the solid pro war messaging of the mainstream media, we think you will be pleasantly surprised.
But there needs to be more of an outcry against war. After all, it is we the people who pay for this military while the White House (Republicans and Democrats) always keeps the door open to visits from the big weapons manufacturers. A case in point, and a conflict of interest you may agree, is our current secretary of defense who was recently on the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies. These politicians are supposed to be public servants not corporate servants. We the people will not stand idly by while our young people and our tax money are wasted on these wars abroad.
If you would like to express words of peace to your neighbors, bring a sign and join us — while the weather permits — Tuesdays anytime between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. on the Norwich side of the Ledyard Bridge. For a list of sponsors and contact information please see the announcement in the Valley News Calendar.
Attend a local school’s
As the high school fall sports season draws to a close, families are looking forward to the holidays and anticipating the winter sports season. We begin thinking of gifts and pulling out the warmer clothes; trying to figure out what can be accomplished before the sun sets at 4:30.
In the midst of this flurry of late fall activity, I ask you to consider attending an arts performance at your local school, whether it is the fall play or a holiday band and chorus concert. In this time when support of and value given to arts programs seems to be waning, community support for the work of these students is incredibly meaningful.
As with our sports teams, these students have also practiced and rehearsed for months, working to achieve their desired level of perfection. All the while, maybe unknowingly, they are building skills that will serve them beyond their middle and high school years. Our school communities are not just the budgets and the building renovations that we vote on each year. They are primarily the students within and the families affected. Consider supporting this slice of your community.
Our teachers and school staff work very hard each and every day supporting these students in the classroom and, as a former teacher, I know the school day does not end with the last bell. I also ask our teachers and staff… please take an hour and a half after that last bell. Take a moment of your closely defended and deserved personal time and attend a performance of your students. This brief moment of support could mean the world to one of your performing students.