Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171
Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that the State of Vermont filed a civil lawsuit in Orleans County Superior Court for timber trespass at Hazen’s Notch State Park. The State alleges that, in 2019, the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) observed an area of trees and shrubs cut on State land within a designated natural area of the Park. In its Complaint, the State alleges that Thomas Tremonte, an abutting property owner, cut timber and brush on the State park land without approval. Mr. Tremonte in an interview confirmed the cutting was for the purpose of backcountry skiing. The lawsuit seeks treble damages for the value of the timber damaged in the cut and also requests remediation of the affected area.
“Environmental stewardship is a proud Vermont tradition,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Cutting down trees on public land for private use is a violation of the law that comes at a cost to Vermonters and our environment. It is incumbent on all of us to protect and responsibly utilize Vermont’s natural resources, including our State parks.”
In the complaint, the State alleges that FPR received a report of hearing chainsaws in the Park on June 21, 2019. A Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden visited the area the same day and allegedly spoke with the adjacent landowner, Thomas Tremonte, on his log landing and camp driveway. The State alleges Mr. Tremonte had been cutting trees on his own land and stated to the Game Warden that he may have cut too far. FPR foresters on subsequent inspections found evidence of cutting prior to 2019 within the area, as well.
“We’re grateful to the person who reported this incident to our department and we rely on the public to notify us when they notice anything of concern in Vermont’s state forests and state parks. These public lands are to be enjoyed by all – including for backcountry recreation – and also provide important natural habitat. When individuals conduct unauthorized cutting of trees for private benefit, they encroach on the public benefits of state lands available to everyone,” FPR Commissioner Michael Snyder said.
A portion of the Park is a designated natural area due to cliffs of serpentine rock that support rare plant species. Historically and in recent years, peregrine falcons have also nested at the Park.
The State’s complaint filed today is available here.