VT: GMNF Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project Comment Period


The US Forest Service is seeking public comment on a project called the Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project (Telephone Gap IRP). The scope of the project is broad and it includes a number of proposed activities including timber harvesting, wildlife habitat enhancement, recreation & forest access activities, and soil & wetland restoration work. Last year, the New England Chapter participated in the scoping period of this process and will be submitting comments again during this period. 

The Telephone Gap IRP is located on the Rochester and Middlebury Ranger Districts in the towns of Brandon, Chittenden, Goshen, Killington, Mendon, Pittsfield, Pittsford, and Stockbridge. The project area encompasses approximately 72,253 acres, 49% of which is National Forest System (NFS) land. The Forest Service has been gathering data and working with individuals, organizations, towns and federal and state agencies since 2019 to develop potential management activities designed to implement the Forest Plan, and work toward desired future conditions at the site-specific level, within the Telephone Gap IRP area.

Regarding the timber harvest portion of the project, the original proposed action has been modified, and three additional alternative proposals have been developed to address public comments:

  • Alternative B - Modified Proposed Action
  • Alternative C - Developed to address public issues regarding the amount of mature and old forests proposed for harvest.
  • Alternative D - Developed to address public issues regarding the quantity of fossil fuel emissions from timber harvest activities.

The information provided HERE gives a very comprehensive overview of the process of forest management and the three alternatives.  



We generally support the proposed forest management alternatives as the plan stays in line with VT Conservation Design

Concerns outlined a year ago still holds valid to the Vermont BHA team and those concerns include:

  • Trail Expansion and Development (+/- 42 miles of new and addition trails)
    • Expanding and maintaining trails and facilities to desired standards could lead to increases in health and safety risks and potential damage to resources such as soil, water, and fisheries.
    • Increased human presence associated with the ongoing use of these trails can profoundly affect both wildlife and the backcountry characteristics of the landscape. 
    • We do support decommissioning of poorly designed/located trails and broadly support accessible trails that serve a variety of mobility types, if they are located close to existing infrastructure.
  • Road Expansion
    • We advocate for no permanent expansion of roads.
    • We support culvert work that assists in flood resiliency and aquatic organism passage.
    • We support gates and access areas that allow for dispersed recreation on GMNF land.
  • Huts
    • We are concerned about the addition of more huts on the GMNF. There should be areas where the touch of human existence is exceedingly light and in line with the idea presented by the Wilderness Act.
    • There are many cabins available to interested parties in nearby towns, where infrastructure and its maintenance have little-to-no impact on wild experiences.

Be sure to get any comments you may have in before April 8th HERE.

About New England BHA Chapter

New England BHA is a voice for the sporting community in New England that values solitude, silence, clean and free flowing rivers, and habitat for large, wide-ranging wildlife.