FPR COVID-19 Response

Due to the coronavirus and COVID-19, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is taking community protection measures. While many of us who can are now working remotely, our goal remains to provide the absolute best possible service to the public during this time. Please see the list below of FPR services that may be delayed or the processes that have changed and how to stay connected with us with questions and for new information.  For more information about the state’s response to COVID-19 visit the Vermont Department of Health.

Our Offices

While our offices are temporarily closed to the public, the State is still open for business. Please call in advance about any existing appointments, to request one, or to make other arrangements to conduct necessary business. All of our offices have developed a plan for receiving mail, and other items that need to be dropped off. Please communicate electronically or via phone.

Online and phone options

We ask that you communicate with us by phone, email, or online. Here are your options:

Postponed Events

Public events have been canceled or postponed through April including all Town Forest Fire Warden trainings, the Annual Forest Health Information Meeting, VT LEAP continuing education trainings for logging contractors, and Vermont’s Arbor Day Conference. Rescheduling of events will begin when circumstances allow.

Vermont State Parks

At this time, all Vermont State Parks are planning to become fully operational — with appropriate planning and precautions in light of the disease pandemic — according to normal schedule and we are currently not planning any park closures. We will continue to monitor the situation, with changes possible, and will keep you updated.  Learn more.

Outdoor Recreation, State Forests and Trails

The Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” addendum to the Emergency Declaration still allows us to enjoy Vermont’s outdoors while staying close to home. We thank the public for their cooperation and understanding during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Keeping trails, parks, and other public outdoor spaces open for appropriate public use is challenging with limited staffing and all state and municipal agencies are doing their best to balance the requirements of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order with Vermonters’ need for exercise and stress relief.

Currently, state parks, forests and trails are open for public use but are being monitored for public safety and Mud Season conditions. Learn more.

Information for Vermont’s Forest Economy

To keep Vermont’s forest economy as up to date as possible on health and safety issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are maintaining links to the most recent information and guidance from the Vermont Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, Agency of Commerce and Community Development and other sources here. FPR wants to ensure functions critical to the forest economy’s needs are met and that they are carried out in the interest of public safety and public health. Resources and response website are changing frequently, so please visit this page or the pages we are linked to often so that you have the most current information.

Use Value Appraisal Program – Current Use

The following adjustments have been made to help consulting foresters and landowners through the submission of required forest management plan updates during this time. Reach out to your county forester with questions.

Heavy Cutting (Intent to Cut Notifications)

FPR is continuing to field questions and respond to Intent to Cut Notifications at this time. Because FPR employees are currently teleworking, until further notice, Intent To Cut Notifications should be filed with the appropriate forester by email until we return to our offices. Review of applications that are mailed in hardcopy during this time may be delayed due to limited mail access.

Acceptable Management Practices

For the duration of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, FPR will not be able to respond to requests for technical assistance in the field. However, we will do our best to provide guidance by phone, email, or methods such as video calls or sharing geospatial maps. Please contact the appropriate forester with any inquiries.

Heavy Cut and AMP Enforcement

FPR will continue to support the Department of Environmental Conservation Enforcement Division in investigations and enforcement actions. Questions or concerns can be directed to the appropriate forester.

Licenses and Special Use Permits

  • FPR will not be accepting permit applications for activities (with group sizes 10 or greater) scheduled to take place between now and April 30, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and extend as necessary. Please check back for updates.
  • Recognizing that some activities requiring a permit do not involve large group sizes (i.e. research), we will continue to consider permits for those activities even if they are scheduled to occur between now and April 30, 2020.
  • We will continue accepting applications for permits involving activities involving group sizes of 10 or greater scheduled after April 30th.  If the situation continues to call for social distancing practices, we reserve the right to cancel the permit to protect the health and safety of our community. Learn more.

Think Before You Burn

Given Vermont is now experiencing community-wide spread of COVID-19, it is strongly advised that the public postpone all outdoor burning. Open burning creates the risk of an escaped fire and places emergency personnel in potential contact with people who may have COVID-19.

Postponing open burning will eliminate the potential for emergency personnel to respond to an unnecessary event. Additionally, requesting a “Permit to Kindle Fire” puts both the permittee and town Forest Fire Warden at increased risk when a site visit is needed. Town Forest Fire Wardens have the statutory authority to stop issuing burn permits and many fire wardens throughout the state have taken this step. Please be considerate and patient when assessing the need to conduct any open burning. Contact your Town Forest Fire Warden.

Questions?

Contact FPR via phone or email, or submit a question online.