State seeks input on Whipstock Hill Wildlife Management Area plan
BENNINGTON — A meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, to discuss long-term plans for the Whipstock Hill Wildlife Management Area.
The meeting, hosted by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, will be held at One World Conservation Center on Route 7 South in Bennington from 6 to 8 p.m. The primary topic of discussion will be the draft long-range management plan for the site, the first such plan that has been created. The document, which is over 100 pages long, is currently available on the Vermont Forest, Parks, and Recreation Department's website. Comments are being sought at the meeting, and can be submitted by email to either Wildlife Biologist Doug Blodgett at firstname.lastname@example.org or State Lands Stewardship Forester Lisa Thornton at email@example.com, anytime before Oct. 1.
The Whipstock Hill Wildlife Management Area is a 425-acre parcel in Bennington that is owned by the state and operated by the Fish and Wildlife Department. It was purchased by the Department of Transportation in 2008 and transferred to Fish and Wildlife as mitigation for deer wintering habitat that was lost with the construction of the Bennington bypass. It is located west of the William H. Morse State Airport, south of Route 279, north of Route 9, and is adjacent to the border with New York.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Department, the area serves as a wintering spot for deer, provides valuable habitat for frogs and salamanders, and serves as an important migration corridor along the border with New York.
"The meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the public to review the highlights of the draft long-range management plan and ask questions," said Tom Rogers, the department's information and outreach director, "This is the first management plan that has been created for this site. The plan focuses on restoring native plant species, particularly in and around the deer wintering area, to deal with invasive plants such as bittersweet, honeysuckle, and buckthorn."
The parcel is also used for non-motorized recreation, and can be accessed from Whipstock and Walloomsac roads in Bennington. There are currently no designated trails within the WMA. The area also provides habitat for bobcat, coyote, bear, otter, mink, beaver, weasel, rabbit, and several species of waterfowl.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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