Telecommunications is not a use that is typically associated with Department lands. Nonetheless, state forest and state park land include many mountain top and high elevation areas that serve as strategic telecommunication sites. These sites provide for radio communications for essential emergency service providers, cell and broadband service, radio and television transmission, and other related uses that collectively provide a critical public service.
These uses are managed under various lease and license agreements that provide for these important activities while protecting the public’s interest in these state-owned lands. Major telecommunication sites on Department lands include the North and South Peak sites at Ascutney State Park, the Burke Mountain telecommunication site at Darling State Park, and the Killington Peak telecommunication site at Coolidge State Forest. Smaller telecommunications facilities exist at Mount Olga at Molly Stark State Park, Mount Philo State Park, Okemo Mountain Resort at Okemo State Forest, and at Stowe Mountain Resort and Smugglers’ Notch ski areas at Mount Mansfield State Forest.
Annual lease and license revenue from telecommunication providers using Department lands is growing and now totals close to $100,000. By agreement, 50% of this revenue is transferred to the Vermont Department of Public Safety in return for their management of the Killington Peak electronic communication site. The remaining 50% of this revenue is used to help fund state park operations.