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Forest Future Strategic Roadmap

As established in Act 183 of 2022, the Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation shall create the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap to strengthen, modernize, promote, and protect the forest products sector and the greater forest economy for the many values and benefits they provide to all of us. FPR will contract with a qualified contractor for its creation with funding appropriated by the General Assembly. Over the next eighteen months, the Department will lead a robust public input process to identify opportunities to help Vermont chart a path forward to protect the long-term viability of forest-based businesses – and the many benefits they provide to our state’s environment, economy, and quality of life.

Lucy Rodgers Vermont House Representative and employee at Laughing Stock Farms
Lucy Rodgers, Vermont House Representative and employee at LSF sawmill

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Intended Outcomes

The intended outcomes of the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap are to:

  1. increase sustainable economic development and jobs in Vermont’s forest economy;

  2. promote ways to expand the workforce and strengthen forest product enterprises in order to strengthen, modernize, promote, and protect the Vermont forest economy into the future;

  3. promote the importance of healthy, resilient, and sustainably managed working forests that provide a diverse array of high-quality products now and in the future; and

  4. identify actionable strategies designed to strengthen, modernize, promote, and protect the forest products sector in Vermont, including opportunities for new product development, opening new markets for Vermont forest products, adopting modern manufacturing processes, and utilizing new ways to market Vermont forest products.
     

About the Forest Future Strategic Roadmap

Why is it needed? 

  • Vermont’s forest economy provides more than 13,000 jobs, more than $2 billion in economic output, and supports the growing recreational and tourism sectors. 

  • The relationship between the forest economy and Vermont’s forest landscape is a balancing act of benefits and costs. Vermont’s forest economy relies on access to forestlands, while forest landowners rely on the economic benefits from the forest economy to maintain intact forestland.

  • Vermont is losing thousands of acres of forestland to non-forest uses each year, destabilizing the forest economy and threatening Vermont’s forested working landscape. A revitalization of the forest economy has been identified as a primary strategy for keeping forests forested for the many values and benefits forests provide while supporting Vermonters engaged in the working forest landscape - from landowners to sawmills.

How will it be developed? 

  • Act 183 of 2022 instructs the Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation to create the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap. It authorizes the use of a qualified contractor to assist in the development process.

  • The Forest Future Strategic Roadmap will build on previous efforts to provide actionable strategies and practical recommendations for the development and support of a thriving, modern, and strong forest products sector and the broader forest economy that will continue to be a significant source of economic activity in Vermont and provide economic incentives for forest landowners to maintain intact forest land and practice sound forest management. 

  • The Forest Future Strategic Roadmap will be developed with public stakeholder input and an advisory panel of stakeholder representatives. 

  • The Forest Future Strategic Roadmap will be a living document, reviewed periodically and updated at least every ten years. 

How will it be used?

  • The plan will identify critical infrastructure investments, workforce, and policy recommendations to the Vermont Legislature to ensure a viable future for Vermont’s forest economy.
     

Advisory Panel

The Commissioner shall select representatives to an advisory panel to review and counsel in developing and implementing the Vermont Forest Future Strategic Roadmap. The advisory panel shall include representatives of forest products enterprises, State agencies, investors, forestland owners, foresters, loggers, truckers, wood products manufacturers, recreational specialists, education representatives, trade organizations, and other partners as deemed appropriate.

Members of the Advisory Panel

  • Trevor Allard, Allard Lumber Company  

  • Chris Brooks, Vermont Wood Pellet Company LLC  

  • Chris Castano, Maine Woods Company  

  • Scott Duffy, Rockledge Farm Woodworks

  • Jamey Fidel, Vermont Natural Resources Council 

  • Chris Fife, Weyerhaeuser 

  • Charlie Hancock, North Woods Forestry  

  • Steve Hardy, Green Mountain Forestry  

  • Liz Gleason, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board 

  • Dave Lane, Farm Credit East

  • Ed Larson, Vermont Forest Products Association  

  • Elizabeth Lesnikoski, Burlington Electric Department 

  • Chris Lindgren, University of Vermont Extension  

  • Abby Long, Kingdom Trail Association

  • Gabe Russo, Southwind Forestry LLC  

  • Luke McNally, Ruffed Grouse Society 

  • Tucker Riggs, Laughing Stock Farms (LSF) Forest Products LLC  

  • Stanley Robinson, Stan Robinson Wood Procurement  

  • Chief Don Stevens, Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki Nation 

  • Joe Short, Northern Forest Center 

  • Allan Thompson, Vermont Woodlands Association 

  • Molly Willard, Vermont State University Education  

Meetings

AnticpatedTimeline

  • July 2022 - Request for proposal (RFP) issued to hire a contractor to facilitate plan development. Future iQ has been awarded the contract.

  • August 2022 - Advisory Panel members appointed and kick-off meeting

  • October 2022 - Contract finalized

  • October 2022 - October 2023 - Stakeholder meetings to inform plan development

  • July 1, 2023 - Draft Recommendations due to the General Assembly

  • January 1, 2024 - Final Recommendations and Report due to the General Assembly 
     

Stay Informed

To stay informed on the process and opportunities to engage, sign up for our Vermont Forest Economy Listserv.

If you have questions, contact Danielle Fitzko at danielle.fitzko@vermont.gov or 802-598-9992
 

Supporting Resources