Message from Mike Fraysier, Director of Lands Administration
State lands under the jurisdiction of the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) comprise an important and highly visible part of Vermont's natural resources. They encompass many of Vermont's most prominent natural, scenic, wildlife, and recreational areas including Mt. Mansfield, Camel's Hump, and other notable summits along the spine of the Green Mountains; wonderful beaches, significant wetlands, and beautiful islands on Lake Champlain; expansive tracts of productive and diverse wildlife habitat and forestland; miles of linear streambank parcels providing valuable fishing access and riparian corridors; and one of the finest state park systems in the nation. These lands are conserved in perpetuity for the enjoyment and use of the public and for the protection of important natural resource values.
The State of Vermont has made a tremendous public investment in state-owned conservation and recreation lands. Agency lands now total over 346,000 acres. In addition, the Agency holds conservation easements, public access rights, or other "less than fee" interests on another 135,000 acres of private land. Collectively, these lands comprise approximately 7% of Vermont's land base with holdings scattered across the state in 425 management units in 212 towns.
Lands administration is a necessary but sometimes invisible function of state land ownership and stewardship. It includes coordinating and carrying out land transactions (including the acquisition, exchange, and occasionally even the disposition) of lands, the care and maintenance of land records and associated maps, property survey and related boundary work, mapping, administration of leases and licenses for uses of state lands, state lands management planning activities, and conservation easement stewardship, and other activities.
Administrative responsibilities associated with state land have increased with the increase in lands under state ownership. In particular, the dramatic increase in state land holdings since the early 1990’s have added significantly to the division’s responsibilities. During this time period, the Agency acquired more than 75,000 acres of land, and conservation easements on over 120,000 acres. Notable acquisitions during this period include the former Champion lands property (now West Mt. Wildlife Management Area), Green River Reservoir State Park, the Hancock working forest conservation easement, numerous Long Trail purchases, and many other significant properties. There are now more state properties to survey, more boundary issues to resolve on state lands, more state land management plans to develop, and more requests for special uses of state lands than ever before. The lands administrative needs associated with these recent purchases, when combined with the division’s new initiatives (such as the restoration and protection of important wetland properties under the Agency’s Clean and Clear program) and the many on-going administrative responsibilities for all Agency lands creates a very challenging work environment. We look forward to meeting this important and necessary challenge!