The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 2600. Findings
The General Assembly finds that:
(1) Private and public forestlands:
(A) constitute unique and irreplaceable resources, benefits, and values of statewide importance;
(B) contribute to the protection and conservation of wildlife habitat, air, water, and soil resources of the State;
(C) mitigate the effects of climate change; and
(D) benefit the general health and welfare of the people of the State.
(2) The forest products industry, including maple sap collection:
(A) is a major contributor to and is valuable to the State's economy by providing jobs to its citizens;
(B) is essential to the manufacture of forest products that are used and enjoyed by the people of the State; and
(C) benefits the general welfare of the people of the State.
(3) Private and public forestlands are critical for and contribute significantly to the State's outdoor recreation and tourism economies.
(4) Forestry operations are adversely affected by the encroachment of urban, commercial, and residential land uses throughout the State that result in forest fragmentation and conversion and erode the health and sustainability of remaining forests.
(5) As a result of encroachment on forests, conflicts have arisen between traditional forestry land uses, and urban, commercial, and residential land uses convert forestland permanently to other uses, resulting in an adverse impact to the economy and natural environment of the State.
(6) The encouragement, development, improvement, and preservation of forestry operations will result in a general benefit to the health and welfare of the people of the State and the State's economy.
(7) The forest products industry, in order to survive, likely will need to change, adopt new technologies, and diversify into new products. (Added 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2601. Policy and purposes
(a) The conservation of the forests, timberlands, woodlands, and soil and recreational resources of the State are hereby declared to be in the public interest. It is the policy of the State to encourage economic management of its forests and woodlands, to sustain long-term forest health, integrity, and productivity, to maintain, conserve, and improve its soil resources, and to control forest pests to the end that forest benefits, including maple sugar production, are preserved for its people, floods and soil erosion are alleviated, hazards of forest fires are lessened, its natural beauty is preserved, its wildlife is protected, the development of its recreational interests is encouraged, the fertility and productivity of its soil are maintained, the impairment of its dams and reservoirs is prevented, its tax base is protected, and the health, safety, and general welfare of its people are sustained and promoted.
(b) The Department shall implement the policies of this chapter by assisting forestland owners and lumber operators in the cutting and marketing of forest growth, encouraging cooperation between forest owners, lumber operators, and the State of Vermont in the practice of conservation and management of forestlands, managing, promoting, and protecting the multiple use of publicly owned forest and park lands; planning, constructing, developing, operating, and maintaining the system of State parks; determining the necessity of repairs and replacements to all Department-owned buildings and causing urgent repairs and replacements to be accomplished, with the approval of the Secretary of Administration, if within the limits of specific appropriations or if approved by the Emergency Board; and providing advice and assistance to municipalities, other political subdivisions, State departments, and nongovernmental organizations in the development of wholesome and adequate community or institutional recreation programs.
(c) The Commissioner shall implement the policy established under this section when construing the provisions of this chapter related to the management of forestlands and the construction of chapters 85 and 87 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1993, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 44, eff. June 21, 1994; 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 2602. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Agency" means the Agency of Natural Resources as created by 3 V.S.A. chapter 51.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation within the Agency of Natural Resources.
(3) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(4) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Natural Resources.
(5) "Forest product" mean logs; pulpwood; veneer; bolt wood; wood chips; stud wood; poles; pilings; biomass; fuel wood; maple sap; or bark.
(6) "Forestry operation" means activities related to the management of forests, including a timber harvest; pruning; planting; reforestation; pest, disease, and invasive species control; wildlife habitat management; and fertilization. "Forestry operation" includes the primary processing of forest products of commercial value on a parcel where the timber harvest occurs.
(7) "Timber" means trees, saplings, seedlings, bushes, shrubs, and sprouts from which trees may grow, of every size, nature, kind, and description.
(8) "Timber harvest" means a forestry operation involving the harvest of timber. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 76, § 18; 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 2603. Powers and duties: Commissioner
(a) The Department shall be under the direction and supervision of a Commissioner appointed by the Secretary as provided in 3 V.S.A. § 2851. In addition to the duties and powers provided under this chapter, the Commissioner shall have the powers and duties specified in 3 V.S.A. § 2852 and such additional duties as may be assigned to the Commissioner by the Secretary under 3 V.S.A. § 2853. The Commissioner shall implement the policy and purposes specified in section 2601 of this title where appropriate and to the extent that resources of the Department permit.
(b) The Commissioner shall manage and plan for the use of publicly owned forests and park lands in order to implement the policy and purposes of this chapter, promote and protect the natural, productive and recreational values of such lands, and provide for multiple uses of the lands in the public interest. The Commissioner may sell forest products and other resources on public lands and shall administer the State park system and a community recreation program as is in the best interests of the State and is consistent with the purposes and policies of this chapter.
(c)(1) The Commissioner, subject to the direction and approval of the Secretary, shall adopt and publish rules in the name of the Agency for the use of State forests, or park lands, including reasonable fees or charges for the use of the lands, roads, camping sites, buildings, and other facilities and for the harvesting of timber or removal of minerals or other resources from such lands, notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 603.
(2) The Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall be permitted to temporarily (not to exceed one season per project) adjust fees and charges at any area for the purpose of bona fide scientific research.
(3) Notwithstanding subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall be permitted to develop State park services, promotional programs, and vacation or special event packages and adjust rates and fees for those services and packages to promote the park system or increase campground occupancy.
(4) Fees charged under this section shall be reported in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 605.
(d) The Commissioner or designee shall be the State fire warden and may act as, and in place of, the fire warden of any municipality as provided under subchapter 4 of this chapter.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to allow the Commissioner to grant oil and gas leases.
(f) Associations of amateur radio operators licensed as such by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission shall not be required to pay a fee or other charge as provided by subsection (c) of this section, as a condition of either a lease or a sublease of State property executed under this title, for access to mountaintop electronic sites designated as such in conformance with policy of the Secretary of Natural Resources, except that each such association shall by January 1 annually pay a $ 25.00 access fee and submit to the Commissioner at that time a list of the association's current membership.
(g) The Commissioner shall consult with and receive approval from the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services concerning proposed construction or renovation of individual projects involving capital improvements which are expected, either in phases or in total, to cost more than $200,000.00. The Department of Environmental Conservation shall manage all contracts for engineering services for capital improvements made by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(h) All interest accrued from bonds deposited in the Agency Fund and forfeited bonds in the Agency Fund for the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation's timber management program may be transferred annually by the Commissioner, with the approval of the Commissioner of Finance and Management, to the Natural Resources Management Fund. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 28, 1982; 1991, No. 83; 1999, No. 49, § 157; 2001, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 89, eff. June 27, 2002; 2009, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § B14; 2011, No. 63, § E.704.1; 2015, No. 23, § 99.)
§ 2604. Repealed. 2009, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 26(4)(A).
§ 2605. Governor's council on physical fitness and sports
(a) The governor's council on physical fitness and sports is created within the department of forests, parks and recreation, to be composed of 20 members with appropriate interests and representing the various geographical areas of the state. The members shall be appointed by the governor for staggered terms of two years expiring on March 31 in the appropriate year. The governor may reappoint any person who has served or is serving as a member of the council. The governor shall appoint a member of the council to serve as chairperson, and the council shall elect other officers as needed. The council shall meet annually and at the call of the chairperson.
(b) In order to promote physical fitness, the council shall have the responsibility to:
(1) develop, foster and coordinate services and programs of physical fitness for the people of Vermont;
(2) sponsor physical fitness and sports workshops, clinics, conferences and other similar activities;
(3) give recognition to outstanding developments and achievements in, and contributions to, physical fitness and sports;
(4) stimulate physical fitness research;
(5) collect and disseminate physical fitness and sports information and initiate advertising campaigns promoting physical fitness and sports;
(6) upon request assist schools to develop health and physical fitness programs for students;
(7) encourage local governments and communities to develop local physical fitness programs;
(8) encourage the private sector to develop programs for promotion of personal health and physical fitness;
(9) enlist the support of individuals, civic groups, amateur professional sports associations and other organizations to promote and improve physical fitness and sports programs;
(10) promote the development of a program of statewide amateur athletic competition to be known as the Green Mountain State Games. The games shall be designed to encourage the participation of athletes representing a broad range of age groups, skill levels and Vermont communities in a variety of activities. Participants shall be residents of this state. Regional competitions shall be held throughout the state, and the top qualifiers in each sport shall proceed to the final competitions to be held at a site in the state with the necessary facilities and equipment for conducting the competitions. The frequency of the games shall be determined by the council.
(c) The council may accept grants, gifts and bequests and enter into contracts to carry out the purposes of this section. (Added 1985, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2606. Acceptance of gifts; exchange, purchase or lease of lands
(a) The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, may accept gifts of land to the state or may purchase land in the name of the state to be held and administered as state forests or state parks.
(b) With the approval of the general assembly, which may be granted by resolution, the commissioner may exchange or lease lands under his or her jurisdiction when in their judgment it is advantageous to the state to do so in the highest orderly development and management of state forests and parks.
(c) The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, may lease mine, quarry or other resource sites or rights as may be discovered on state forest or park lands unconditionally owned by the state.
(d) The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, may lease for a term of years, or otherwise, such lands as he or she deems necessary for the protection of state forest or park lands or for use by the state in connection therewith.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to allow the commissioner to grant oil and gas leases. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 28, 1982; 1997, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 70, eff. April 29, 1998.)
§ 2606a. Mountaintop use as communications sites
(a) State policy. It is hereby adopted as state policy to permit limited use of designated state-owned land under the jurisdiction of the department for electronic communications broadcasting by both public and private entities. Use of the designated sites shall be in compliance with the policy set forth herein under the management of government and private users of the mountaintops. This policy implementation has the objectives of:
(1) protecting state-owned mountaintops from the development of new communications facilities which have a significant adverse environmental impact;
(2) protecting mountaintop communication signals from interference by existing or subsequent users; and
(3) maximizing use of limited mountaintop facilities through consolidation of equipment, efficient development and economic management of each site.
(b) Specific sites.
(1) Mountaintop designation. The state-owned mountaintops to which this section shall apply are: Ascutney Mountain North Peak and Ascutney Mountain South Peak, Burke Mountain, Okemo Mountain, and Killington Mountain.
(2)-(5) [Repealed.] (Added 1993, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 63, eff. June 21, 1994; amended 1995, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 10d, eff. May 22, 1996; 2009, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 26(4)(B).)
§ 2606b. License of forestlands for maple sugar production
(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) Maple sugaring is an important cultural tradition of Vermont life that should be maintained and encouraged.
(2) Maple sugaring is an important component of the agricultural and forest products economy in Vermont and is increasingly necessary for farmers that must diversify in order to continue to farm in Vermont.
(3) Maple sugaring is a sustainable use of forestland.
(4) State forestland should be managed and used for multiple uses, including maple sugar production.
(b) It is hereby adopted as State policy to permit limited use of designated State-owned land under the jurisdiction of the Department for maple sugar production.
(c) Pursuant to guidelines developed by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, in consultation with the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association, the Department may issue licenses for the use of State forestland for the tapping of maple trees, the collection of maple sap, and the transportation of such sap to a processing site located off State forestland or to sites located on State forestland if approved by the Commissioner. All tapping of maple trees authorized under a license shall be conducted according to the guidelines for tapping maple trees established by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, in consultation with the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association. Each person awarded a license under this section shall maintain and repair any road, water crossing, or work area according to requirements set by the Department in the license. Each license shall include such additional terms and conditions set by the Department as may be necessary to preserve forest health and to assure compliance with the requirements of this chapter and applicable rules. A license shall be issued for a fixed term not to exceed five years and shall be renewable for two five-year terms subsequent to the initial license. Subsequent renewals shall be allowed where agreed upon by the Department and the licensee. The Department shall have power to terminate or modify a license for cause, including damage to forest health.
(d) The Commissioner may adopt rules to implement the requirements of this section.
(e) There is hereby established the Maple Advisory Board to provide the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation with guidance on licensing of State forestland for maple sugar production, including identification of potential sites on State lands for licensure. The Board shall be composed of:
(1) Three employees of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, appointed by the Commissioner.
(2) Three sugar makers, at least one of which is an independent sugar maker unaffiliated with an association, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
(3) One member of the Vermont Forest Products Association designated by the Association.
(4) One member of either the University of Vermont Proctor maple research center or the University of Vermont agricultural extension service, appointed by the Commissioner.
(f) A per tap license charge shall be imposed on the taps installed in the license area. The Commissioner shall establish this per tap license charge at a reasonable rate that reflects current market rates. Charges collected under this section shall be deposited in the Lands and Facilities Trust Fund established under 3 V.S.A. § 2807.
(g) [Repealed.] (Added 2009, No. 21, § 1; amended 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)
§ 2607. Natural areas; designation
(a) The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, may designate and set aside areas in the state forests and state parks as natural areas.
(b) "Natural areas" means limited areas of land which have retained their wilderness character, although not necessarily completely natural and undisturbed, or have rare or vanishing species of plant or animal life or similar features of interest which are worthy of preservation for the use of present and future residents of the state and may include unique ecological, geological, scenic and contemplative recreational areas on state lands.
(c) Land uses and practices in natural areas shall be subject to regulations of the department to carry out the purposes of this chapter to manage or maintain the areas for the preservation of their natural condition. Areas so designated may be removed from such designation only by approval of the governor following public notice and hearing. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2608. Enforcement; penalties; liability
Enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or rules adopted hereunder shall be in accordance with chapter 201 or 211 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)
§ 2609. Forest parks revolving fund
There is hereby established in the state treasury a fund to be known as the state forest parks revolving fund, to be administered by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation from which payments may be made for the planning, design, development, operation and maintenance of state parks.
There shall be deposited in said fund all monies which are received from state parks and forest recreational areas including those received from fees, leases, licenses, concessions, rentals or sales, together with such sums as may be appropriated to said fund by the legislature. All balances in such fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain a part of such fund. (Added 1979, No. 13, § 45, retroactive to July 1, 1978.)
§ 2609a. Income from lease of mountaintop communication sites
Annually on February 15, the Agency of Natural Resources shall submit a report to the Senate and House Committees on Natural Resources and Energy containing an itemization of the income generated through the end of the previous fiscal year from the use of sites for communication purposes. (Added 1995, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 10b, eff. May 22, 1996; amended 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 14, 2012.)
§ 2610. Relocation assistance; when required
(a) When the department undertakes any project which results in the acquisition of real property subject to the provisions of the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-646, 84 Stat. 1894 (1971), as amended, and as a result of that acquisition a person is displaced from his or her home, business or farm, the department shall provide relocation assistance and make relocation payments to the displaced person in compliance with the Federal Uniform Relocation Act.
(b) Payments made under this section shall not be deemed compensation for real property acquired or compensation for damages to remaining property.
(c) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer the provisions of this section. Such rules shall be consistent with the Federal Uniform Relocation Act and applicable federal regulations. (Added 1989, No. 5, eff. April 1, 1989.)
§ 2611. Vermont youth conservation corps
(a) The secretary of the agency of natural resources in cooperation with the commissioner of labor is hereby directed to develop and implement a youth work, education and community service program to improve, restore, maintain and conserve public buildings, lands, waters and parks.
(b) The Vermont youth conservation corps program may be offered throughout the year. It shall be the purpose of the program to provide economic, vocational, community service and educational opportunities for Vermont youths. At least half of the youths enrolled in the program shall be disadvantaged.
(c) To effectuate the purposes of this section, the secretary may:
(1) Employ a Vermont youth conservation corps director or coordinator and the support staff necessary to direct, supervise and implement the program.
(2) Subject to the limitations of 32 V.S.A. § 5, apply for and accept grants or contributions from funds from any public or private source.
(3) Purchase a policy of liability insurance for the benefit of the state, its employees and enrollees while performing their official duties pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(4) Enter into an agreement with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Inc. regarding the cooperative management and operation of the youth conservation corps program. (Added 1993, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 11, 1994; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006.)
§ 2612. Designation; Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Inc.
(a) The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Inc. is designated the organization in the State to accept federal and State funds and private donations for the purpose of developing and maintaining the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps Program.
(b) The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Inc. and the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall enter into a management agreement for the purpose of managing and operating the program.
(c) [Repealed.] (Added 1993, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 11, 1994; amended 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 51, eff. May 14, 2012.)
- Subchapter 002: FOREST CONSERVATION
§ 2621. Duties of owners
It shall be the duty of a landowner or operator of forest land, whether public or private, to manage, operate and harvest forest crops which promote conditions favorable for regrowth consistent with the policies of this chapter. All forest land on which a lumbering operation is conducted should be left by the owner or operator in a favorable condition for regrowth by preserving trees of commercial species sufficient under normal conditions to maintain continuous forest growth or restocking so as to assure continuous or successive forest crops. So far as practicable, all desirable seedlings and saplings should be protected during logging operations. When necessary, reforestation practices should be employed to assure renewed forest growth after harvesting of forest crops. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2622. Rules; harvesting timber; forests; acceptable management practices for maintaining water quality
(a) Silvicultural practices. The Commissioner shall adopt rules to establish methods by which the harvest and utilization of timber in private and public forestland will be consistent with continuous forest growth, including reforestation, will prevent wasteful and dangerous forestry practices, will regulate heavy cutting, will encourage good forestry management, will enable and assist landowners to practice good forestry management, and will conserve the natural resources consistent with the purposes and policies of this chapter, giving due consideration to the need to assure continuous supplies of forest products and to the rights of the owner or operator of the land. The rules adopted under this subsection shall be advisory, and not mandatory except that the rules adopted under section 2625 of this title for the regulation of heavy cutting shall be mandatory as shall other rules specifically authorized to be mandatory.
(b) Acceptable management practices. On or before July 1, 2016, the Commissioner shall revise by rule the Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont. The revised acceptable management practices shall ensure that all logging operations, on both public and private forestland, are designed to: prevent or minimize discharges of sediment, petroleum products, and woody debris (logging slash) from entering streams and other bodies of water; improve soil health of forestland; protect aquatic habitat and aquatic wildlife; and prevent erosion and maintain natural water temperature. The purpose of the acceptable management practices is to provide measures for loggers, foresters, and landowners to utilize, before, during, and after logging operations to comply with the Vermont Water Quality Standards and minimize the potential for a discharge from logging operations in Vermont in accordance with section 1259 of this title. The rules adopted under this subsection shall be advisory and not mandatory. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 15, § 1, eff. May 6, 1997; 2015, No. 64, § 49.)
§ 2622a. Water quality assistance program
(a) Creation of program. There is established the Water Quality Assistance Program under which the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall provide technical and financial assistance to timber harvesters and others for compliance with water quality requirements in the State. The Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation shall coordinate with natural resources conservation districts in the implementation of the Program.
(b) Eligible assistance. Under the Program, the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation is authorized to expend monies for the following activities in order to facilitate compliance with water quality requirements:
(1) Award financial assistance in the form of grants to timber harvesters and others to purchase or construct skidder bridges and other equipment.
(2) Purchase premade skidder bridges and other equipment to loan or lease to timber harvesters and others.
(3) Purchase available, premade skidder bridges and other equipment and provide those bridges or equipment to cooperating processing plants for sale to timber harvesters and others at cost, subject to storage and handling fees.
(4) If premade skidder bridges are not available on the commercial market, issue in a calendar year two requests for proposal for the construction of skidder bridges for delivery to cooperating processing plants for sale to timber harvesters and others at cost, subject to storage and handling fees. The Commissioner shall issue one request for proposal for the northern part of the State and one request for proposal for the southern part of the State.
(c) Financial assistance. An applicant for a grant under this section shall pay at least 10 percent of the total cost of the equipment. The dollar amount of a State grant shall be equal to the total cost of the equipment, less 10 percent of the total as paid by the applicant. A grant awarded under this section shall be awarded in accordance with terms and conditions established by the Commissioner.
(d) Spill kit. The Commissioner shall provide a person who purchases, constructs, or loans out a skidder bridge under subsection (b) of this section with a spill kit for containing or absorbing fluids released during timber harvesting activities. (Added 2017, No. 75, § 14, eff. June 12, 2017.)
§ 2623. Reports, management plans, and licensing
In order to implement the purpose and policies of this subchapter, the commissioner may:
(1) Require the filing of an annual report by a mill operator covering timber products cut, lumber produced, and source of timber. Such report shall be in conformity with reports required by other agencies;
(2) Accept a management plan presented by a forest owner or operator as alternative to compliance with any rules issued under this subchapter. A plan, when approved by the commissioner, shall be deemed to be in compliance with the regulations issued under this subchapter so long as the plan is complied with.
(3) Require the annual licensing and registration of portable sawmills, portable chip harvesters and other similar portable forest product utilization systems. The operator receiving a license shall comply with all requirements stipulated for the operation of such equipment. Regulations relating to licensing requirements shall be adopted in accordance with chapter 25 of Title 3. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2624. Marked timber sales
(a) The department of forests, parks and recreation may provide marked timber to Vermont citizens for personal use at a reasonable price to be determined by the secretary of the agency of natural resources.
(b) The commissioner of forests, parks and recreation may establish a firewood-for-homes program. As part of this program, the commissioner shall designate areas of state-owned lands, situated at various locations throughout the state, that will be available to members of the general public for harvesting firewood for purposes of heating their own homes. (Added 1979, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 124, eff. May 9, 1980; amended 1987, No. 76, § 18; 2007, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.003.)
§ 2625. Regulation of heavy cutting
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) "Acceptable growing stock" means a stem having a diameter of 4.5 inches or greater at breast height which has the potential of producing a sawlog product of a commercial species of any grade, now or in the future.
(2) "Heavy cut" means a harvest leaving a residual stocking level of acceptable growing stock below the C-line, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture silvicultural stocking guides for the applicable timber type.
(3)(A) "Landowner" means a person or entity that owns or controls the land or the right to harvest timber or other wood products, including:
(i) an individual, partnership, corporation, association, unincorporated organization, trust or other legal or commercial entity, including a joint venture or affiliated ownership;
(ii) a municipality or state agency;
(iii) individuals and entities affiliated with each other for profit, consideration, or any other beneficial interest derived from the harvest of timber or other wood products;
(iv) an individual's parents, children and spouse, unless the individual establishes that he or she will derive no profit or consideration, or acquire any other beneficial interest from the harvest of timber or other wood products by the parent, child or spouse.
(B) The following individuals and entities shall be presumed not to be affiliated for the purpose of profit, consideration, or other beneficial interest within the meaning of this chapter, unless there is substantial evidence of an intent to evade the purposes of this chapter:
(i) a stockholder in a corporation shall be presumed not to be affiliated with others, solely on the basis of being a stockholder, if the stockholder and the stockholder's spouse, parents, children, and siblings own, control or have a beneficial interest in less than five percent of the outstanding shares in the corporation;
(ii) an individual shall be presumed not to be affiliated with others, solely for actions taken as an agent of another within the normal scope of duties of a court appointed guardian, a licensed attorney, real estate broker or salesperson, engineer, land surveyor, forester, or retail or wholesale vendor of wood products, unless the compensation received or beneficial interest obtained as a result of these duties indicates more than an agency relationship;
(iii) a seller or chartered lending institution shall be presumed not to be affiliated with others, solely for financing all or a portion of the purchase price at rates not substantially higher than prevailing lending rates in the community, and subsequently granting a partial release of the security when the buyer harvests timber or other wood products;
(iv) a logging contractor shall be presumed not to be affiliated with others solely for conducting a harvest of timber or other wood products, while subject to supervision and control of a landowner, unless the logging contractor holds an ownership interest in the land or standing timber, or is affiliated with others holding an ownership interest in the land or standing timber.
(b) Notice of intent to cut. The following landowners shall file a notice of intent to cut with a Department field forester at least 15 days before commencing a heavy cut:
(1) A landowner who intends to conduct a heavy cut of 40 acres, or more, on land owned or controlled by the landowner.
(2) A landowner who intends to conduct a heavy cut and has conducted heavy cuts on other lands owned or controlled by the landowner, within the five previous years:
(A) within a radius of 1,000 feet of the proposed harvest, so that the total acreage subjected to a heavy cut has exceeded or will exceed 40 acres; or
(B) within a radius of two miles of the proposed harvest, so that the acreage subjected to a heavy cut has exceeded or will exceed 80 acres.
(c) Exemptions. Upon the filing of a notice of intent to cut, a Department field forester shall determine that the cut is exempt, and that no further review is necessary, if one of the following apply:
(1) The landowner has filed the notice of intent to cut for informational purposes, even though the proposed harvest is not subject to regulation as a heavy cut under the provisions of this section.
(2) The landowner certifies that the proposed heavy cut is intended to carry out an agricultural conversion plan, and that the conversion will be completed and the land will be in agricultural production within five years.
(3) The landowner certifies that the proposed heavy cut is intended to carry out a conversion that is subject to regulation by a district environmental commission under chapter 151 of this title or by the Public Utility Commission under Title 30.
(4) The landowner certifies that the proposed heavy cut is consistent with one of the following:
(A) A forest management plan currently in effect and approved by the Department under the current use assessment program.
(B) A chip harvesting plan currently in effect and approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife under a permit issued under 30 V.S.A. § 248.
(C) Another forest management plan currently in effect and approved by the Department under Department rules in effect at the time of approval of the plan.
(d) Authorization to proceed. If an exemption does not apply and the applicable fee has been paid, a Department field forester shall review the proposed heavy cut. If the proposal is in conformance with the applicable rules adopted by the Department, a Department field forester shall issue authorization to proceed. If the proposed heavy cut is not in conformance with the rules, authorization to proceed shall be denied and the proposed heavy cut shall be prohibited.
(e) Processing of a notice of intent to cut.
(1) Within 15 days of the filing of a notice of intent to cut, a Department field forester shall notify a landowner if a notice of intent is incomplete and more information is required in order to determine whether or not an exemption applies.
(2) Within 15 days of the filing of a complete notice of intent, a Department field forester:
(A) shall determine whether or not a proposed heavy cut is exempt, and
(B) in case a proposed heavy cut is not exempt, shall determine whether authorization to proceed shall be issued or denied, and
(C) shall notify the landowner, and any town in which the cut is proposed, of that determination or those determinations.
(3) If, within the relevant 15-day period, a Department field forester fails to make a determination regarding exemption or fails to request additional required information from a landowner, the proposed heavy cut shall be deemed to be exempt from the review requirements of this section. This exemption shall not relieve the landowner from conforming with the requirements of the approved management or chip harvesting plan, the proposed harvest plan described in the notice of intent to cut, or any applicable rules adopted by the Department.
(f) Appeals. If the exemption is denied or if authorization to proceed is denied, the landowner shall have 30 days in which to file an appeal with the Commissioner.
(1) Upon the filing of an appeal, the Commissioner may appoint a review team of natural resources professionals to visit the site, gather information about the proposed heavy cut, and make recommendations to the commissioner. The Commissioner may also appoint a hearing officer to take sworn statements of the landowner, the review team, and other witnesses called by the landowner or the hearing officer, and make recommendations to the Commissioner.
(2) The Commissioner shall issue a decision in writing within 30 days of the receipt of an appeal.
(3) Appeals of the Commissioner's decision shall be made in accordance with chapter 220 of this title.
(g) Rulemaking authority. The Commissioner shall adopt rules relating to heavy cutting subject to the notice of intent to cut requirements established by this section. The rules shall establish:
(1) Silvicultural guidelines and forestry standards.
(2) Requirements with respect to soil productivity, water quality, wetlands, riparian zones, significant wildlife habitat areas, unique or fragile areas, regeneration, scenic quality, and unusual environmental events such as those causing severe damage from wind, ice, disease or insect infestation.
(3) Procedures relating to the filing and processing of a notice of intent to cut.
(h) Fees. There shall be a fee of $100.00 for filing a notice of intent to cut for a cut that is not exempt from review under the provisions of subsection (c) of this section and when a field review is required to assess the proposed cut. Fees paid for proposals that are later deemed to be entitled to an exemption shall be returned to the landowner. Fees shall be deposited into the environmental permit fund established under 3 V.S.A. § 2805.
(i) Applicability to public lands.
(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to heavy cuts on public lands, except that no heavy cut may occur on certain lands owned by the Agency of Natural Resources, unless the proposed heavy cut is included in the State's management plan that has been adopted subsequent to a public review process.
(2) Any heavy cut on public lands shall be conducted in accordance with applicable rules adopted by the Commissioner.
(j) Enforcement. A violation of the provisions of this section or the rules adopted under this section, false certification under this section, and noncompliance with a harvesting plan or a management plan that constitutes an exemption to this section shall each constitute a violation as defined under chapter 201 of this title and shall be subject to enforcement under that chapter and under chapter 211 of this title. (Added 1997, No. 15, § 3, eff. May 6, 1997; amended 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 45, eff. Jan. 31, 2005.)
- Subchapter 003: STATE NURSERIES
§§ 2631, 2632. Repealed. 1993, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 47(a), eff. July 1, 1995.
- Subchapter 004: FOREST FIRES AND FIRE PREVENTION
§ 2641. Town forest fire wardens; appointment and removal
(a) Upon approval by the selectboard and acceptance by the appointee, the Commissioner shall appoint a town forest fire warden for a term of five years or until a successor is appointed. A town forest fire warden may be reappointed for successive five-year terms by the Commissioner or until a successor is approved by the selectboard and appointed by the Commissioner. The warden may be removed for cause at any time by the Commissioner with the approval of the selectboard. A warden shall comply with training requirements established by the Commissioner.
(b) The Commissioner may appoint a forest fire warden for an unorganized town or gore, who shall serve for a term of five years or until a successor is appointed. An appointed forest fire warden for an unorganized town or gore may be reappointed for successive five-year terms by the Commissioner until the Commissioner appoints and the unorganized town or gore approves a successor. The warden may be removed for cause at any time by the Commissioner with the approval of the unorganized town or gore. The forest fire warden of an unorganized town or gore shall have the same powers and duties as town forest fire wardens and shall be subject to the requirements of this subchapter.
(c) When there are woodlands within the limits of a city, the chief of the fire department of such city shall act as the city forest fire warden with all the powers and duties of town forest fire wardens.
(d) When the Commissioner deems it difficult in any municipality for one warden to take charge of protecting the entire municipality from forest fires, he or she may appoint one or more deputy forest fire wardens. Such wardens under the direction of the fire warden shall have the same powers, duties, and pay and make the same reports through the fire warden to the Commissioner as forest fire wardens.
(e) The Commissioner may appoint special forest fire wardens who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Commissioner. Such fire wardens shall have the same powers and duties throughout the State as town forest fire wardens, except that all expenses and charges incurred on account of their official acts shall be paid from the appropriations for the Department. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 107, § 1; 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 2642. Salary and compensation of town forest fire wardens
(a) The salary of a town forest fire warden shall be determined by the selectboard members for time spent in the performance of the duties of his or her office, which shall be paid by the town. In addition thereto, he or she shall receive from the Commissioner $30.00 annually for fulfilling the requirements of section 2645 of this title and keeping the required State records. He or she shall also receive from the Commissioner $30.00 per diem for attendance at each training required by the Commissioner. He or she shall also receive annually an amount of $10.00 for each fire report that is submitted by the forest fire warden under section 2644 of this title.
(c) [Repealed.] (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 2643. Town's liability for suppression of forest fires; State aid
(a) A municipality in which a forest fire occurs shall pay the cost to suppress a forest fire that occurs on land that is not owned by the Agency of Natural Resources, including the costs of personnel and equipment. The Commissioner may, according to the Department fire suppression reimbursement policy, reimburse a municipality for all or a portion of the costs of suppressing a forest fire on land that is not owned by the Agency of Natural Resources.
(b) For the purpose of suppressing forest fires on lands owned by the Agency of Natural Resources, the State shall reimburse a town for all its forest fire suppression costs at a rate determined by the Commissioner according to the Department fire suppression reimbursement policy. If the total acreage of a forest fire is determined to be partially on land owned by the Agency of Natural Resources and partially on land owned by another party, the Commissioner shall, at a minimum, reimburse the town at a rate determined by the Commissioner according to the Department fire suppression reimbursement policy for costs incurred by the municipality on land owned by the Agency of Natural Resources.
(c) For any forest fire on lands owned by the Agency of Natural Resources to be considered eligible for reimbursement from the State, a town forest fire warden shall have reported the forest fire to the Commissioner within 14 days of extinguishment of the fire as required under section 2644 of this title. For reimbursement of fire suppression costs for forest fires on land owned by the Agency of Natural Resources, the town forest fire warden and the Commissioner or designee shall approve the costs before submission to the municipality for payment. The town forest fire warden may submit to the State on an annual basis a request for reimbursement of fire suppression costs on lands owned by the Agency of Natural Resources. The State shall reimburse a town for all applicable forest fire suppression costs when the reimbursement request is presented in a form approved by the Commissioner to the Commissioner by December 31 of each year. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 2644. Duties and powers of fire warden
(a) When a forest fire or fire threatening a forest is discovered in his or her town, the town forest fire warden shall enter upon any premises and take measures for its prompt control, suppression, and extinguishment. The town forest fire warden may call upon any person for assistance. The town forest fire warden may choose to share or delegate command authority to a chief engineer of a responding fire department or, in the chief's absence, the highest ranking assistant firefighter present during the fire.
(b) A town forest fire warden shall keep a record of his or her acts, the number of fires and causes, the areas burned over, and the character and amount of damages done in the warden's jurisdiction. Within two weeks after the extinguishment of a fire, the town forest fire warden shall report the fire to the Commissioner, but the making of a report under this subsection shall not be a charge against the town.
(c) [Repealed.] (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 2645. Open burning; permits
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not kindle or authorize another person to kindle a fire in the open air for the purpose of burning natural wood, brush, weeds, or grass without first obtaining permission from the town forest fire warden or deputy forest fire warden, stating when and where such fire may be kindled. Wood, brush, weeds, or grass may not be burned if they have been altered in any way by surface applications or injection of paints, stains, preservatives, oils, glues, or pesticides. Whenever such permission is granted, the fire warden, within 12 hours, shall issue a written "Permit to Kindle" for record purposes stating when and where such fire may be kindled.
(c) The provisions of this section will not apply to:
(1) the kindling of a fire in a location where there is snow surrounding the open burning site;
(2) fires built in stone arches, outdoor fireplaces, or existing fire rings at State recreational areas or fires built in stone arches, outdoor fireplaces, or fire rings on private property that are not located within woodland, timberland, or a field containing dry grass or other flammable plant material contiguous to woodland;
(3) the kindling of a fire in a location that is 200 feet or more from: any woodland, timberland, or field containing dry grass or other flammable plant material contiguous to woodland; or
(4) areas within cities maintaining a fire department.
(d)(1) As used in this section, "natural wood" means:
(A) trees, including logs, boles, trunks, branches, limbs, and stumps;
(B) lumber, including timber, logs, or wood slabs, especially when dressed for use; and
(C) pallets that are used for the shipment of various materials, so long as such pallets are not chemically treated with any preservative, paint, or oil.
(2) "Natural wood" shall not mean other wood products such as sawdust, plywood, particle board, or press board.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the air pollution control officer to prohibit open burning in accordance with the rules adopted under chapter 23 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 2646. Proclamation by governor prohibiting kindling of fires: Closing of woodlands
(a) Whenever it appears to the governor that there is excessive danger of forest fires, he or she may prohibit by proclamation the kindling of a fire in or adjoining forest land or close any or all sections of woodland, or brushland, in any town for such time as the governor may designate, to all persons except the owner and his or her household, his or her tenants, servants or agents and persons in the public employment engaged in abating such fire-hazardous condition.
(b) Proclamations shall be published in such newspapers of the state and posted in such places and in such manner as the governor may order in writing. A copy of such publication and order, attested by the secretary of civil and military affairs, shall be filed with the secretary of state and a like copy shall be furnished to the commissioner who shall attend to the publication and posting thereof. The expenses of such publication and posting shall be paid by the department. Notice of removal of restrictions imposed by proclamation shall be in the same manner. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2647. Fires in woods of another; permission
No one shall build a fire in the woodlands of another without the permission of the owner, lessee, holder of right-of-way or his or her authorized agent between April 1 and November 1. A person who builds a fire in or adjoining any woods shall totally extinguish such fire before leaving it. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2648. Slash removal
(a) A person may cut or cause to be cut forest growth only if all slash adjoining the right-of-way of any public highway, or the boundary lines of woodlots owned by adjoining property owners, is treated as follows:
(1) All slash shall be removed for a distance of 50 feet from the right-of-way of any public highway or from the boundary lines of woodlots owned by adjoining property owners.
(2) All slash shall be removed for a distance of 100 feet from standing buildings on adjoining property.
(c) If in the opinion of the town forest fire warden there is no fire hazard as a result of a cutting, the warden may issue, upon request, a statement relieving the operator of the conditions required in this section. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 107, § 2; 2015, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
- Subchapter 005: MUNICIPAL FORESTS
§ 2651. Municipal forest; definition
As used in this subchapter, "municipal forest" means a tract of land primarily devoted to producing wood products, maintaining wildlife habitat, protecting water supplies, providing forest recreation and conservation education. A municipal forest shall not be construed to include landscaped grounds and plantings around residential, industrial, institutional, municipal buildings or municipal areas devoted to off-street recreation. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2652. Municipal forests, state aid
At any legal meeting, a municipality may vote sums of money for the purchase, management and improvement of a municipal forest within or without the municipality. Any appropriation so voted shall qualify the municipality for such matching state and federal funds as may be available, provided that the suitability of such lands is approved by the commissioner of forests, parks, and recreation. Any portion of such appropriated and matching funds not required for the purchase of land may be expended by the municipality, under the direction of the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation, in establishing multiple use and implementing a management program for such municipal forest. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2653. Designation of municipal forest
A town owning a tract of land may have the same examined without cost by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation for the purpose of determining whether the same is suitable for a municipal forest. If, upon such examination, he or she decides that it is suitable for such purposes, it shall be designated as municipal forest and he or she shall give advice as to the subsequent management thereof. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2654. Management
Municipal forests shall be managed under the direction of the commissioner. The protection of such forests shall be under the town forest fire warden who shall be paid for his or her services in connection therewith by the town at the same rate as he or she is paid for fighting forest fires upon the approval of his or her account by the commissioner. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2655. Receipts
All moneys received for the sale of lumber, wood or other products from a municipal forest shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality. In the event any of the lands held by a municipality for municipal forest purposes are sold, advances made by the state or federal government in the purchase thereof shall be repaid to the state by the municipality. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
- Subchapter 006: FOREST PEST CONTROL
§ 2661. Surveys and investigations
The Commissioner shall make surveys and investigations to determine the threat or presence of infestations and control of forest pests. For this purpose, duly designated representatives of the Commissioner may enter at reasonable times on public and private lands for the purpose of conducting such surveys, investigations, and controls. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2662. Control measures
(a) Whenever the commissioner finds that an area in the state is infested or threatened to be infested with forest pests, he or she shall determine whether measures of control are needed and are available and the area over which the control measures shall be applied. The commissioner shall prescribe a proposed zone of infestation covering the area in which control measures are to be applied, and shall publish notice of the proposal in one or more newspapers having a general circulation in the area in which control measures are to be undertaken.
(b) The notice shall include a brief description of the location of the proposed zone of infestation and the approximate time when control measures will be executed. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2663. Infestation control; agreements with owners
The commissioner under the provisions of 3 V.S.A. § 2853 may apply measures of infestation control on public and private forest and other lands anywhere in the state to any trees, timber, plants or shrubs thereon harboring or which may harbor the forest pests. The commissioner may enter into agreements with owners of such lands covering the control work on their lands, and fix the pro rata basis on which the cost of such work will be shared between the state and said owner; provided, that the failure of the commissioner to offer an agreement to or execute an agreement with any owner shall not impair the right of representatives of the commissioner to enter on the lands of said owner to conduct control operations. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2664. Cost prorated; agreements
If in any area the owners of a majority of the acreage to be protected from pests execute agreements with the state, the commissioner shall be authorized to carry out control work on other adjacent or interior holdings, which, if uncontrolled, would cause a re-infestation of the controlled area. The cost of control work on such areas may be prorated among the owners who have executed agreements on the same basis as for their own lands, if they agree thereto. (Added 1977, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
- Subchapter 007: UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION TICKET
§ 2671. Jurisdiction
The criminal division of the superior court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over uniform fire prevention tickets issued under this subchapter. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)
§ 2672. Complaint or information and summons
(a) In any case involving a violation of subsection 2645(a) or 2648(a) of this title, the complaint or information and summons shall be in the form known as the Uniform Fire Prevention Ticket. The court administrator shall prepare the form for the uniform fire prevention ticket. The court administrator shall be responsible for all uniform fire prevention tickets issued to fire wardens, and shall prepare or cause to be prepared records and reports relating to uniform fire prevention tickets. Any fire warden may void any uniform fire prevention ticket by so marking the ticket and returning it to the court administrator. A prosecuting attorney may issue, amend or dismiss a fire prevention complaint.
(b) The uniform fire prevention ticket shall consist of four parts:
(1) the complaint or information, which shall include spaces for the signatures of the fire warden or other issuing officer, prosecuting attorney and judge or clerk;
(2) the fire warden's or issuing officer's record, which shall be a copy of the complaint or information;
(3) the prosecutor's record, which shall be a copy of the complaint or information; and
(4) the summons, which shall include a copy of the complaint or information, a waiver, and an explanation of rights.
(c) The reverse sides of the sheets shall be as set out in the form, with additions or deletions as are necessary to adapt the uniform fire prevention complaint to the court involved.
(d) The ticket shall contain the following two paragraphs which shall be prominently printed in boldfaced type:
(1) Failure to comply with the instructions on this ticket will result in a fine of up to $25.00 for each day of noncompliance.
(2) If you admit you have committed a fire prevention offense or are judged to have committed the offense you may be subject to a fine of up to $25.00 for each day of noncompliance.
(e) The uniform fire prevention ticket form shall be used in all cases involving violations of subsection 2645(a) or 2648(a) of this title, whether the case is prosecuted or the complaint issued by a fire warden or by any other person, or upon information or complaint issued by the state's attorney or other prosecuting officer. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3.)
§ 2673. Procedure on failure to appear; notice; rules
If a defendant fails to appear or answer a fire prevention ticket or summons served upon the defendant and upon which a complaint has been filed, the court shall mail a notice to the defendant at the address stated in the complaint notifying the defendant that failure to appear will result in a fine. The notice shall be in the form prescribed by the court administrator, and a copy of the notice shall be sent to the town fire warden together with a copy of the complaint. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3.)
§ 2674. Answer to uniform fire prevention ticket
(a) A person who is charged with committing a fire prevention offense may waive appearance and trial and plead guilty or nolo contendere or not guilty by a signed statement. The person shall submit a fine in an amount as established by the court with the signed statement. The court shall accept the signed statement accompanied by the fine assessed as a plea of guilty or nolo contendere as indicated on the signed statement and shall proceed accordingly.
(b) Fines shall be paid to, receipted by and accounted for by the clerk as required by court rules. Any fire warden or issuing officer who issues a complaint shall advise the defendant of the fines.
(c) If a defendant fails to answer or appear as directed on the fire prevention ticket or by the criminal division of the superior court judge, or fails to pay the fine imposed after judgment, the court may issue an appropriate order. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)
§ 2675. Penalties
A person who commits a violation under subsection 2645(a) or 2648(a) of this title shall be subject to a fine of not more than $75.00 per violation. In the case of a violation which continues after the issuance of a fire prevention complaint, each day's continuance may be deemed a separate violation. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3; amended 2011, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2676. Supreme court rules
The supreme court is empowered to prescribe and amend rules governing this subchapter in accordance with 12 V.S.A. § 1. (Added 1987, No. 107, § 3.)
- Subchapter 008: IMPORTATION OF FIREWOOD
§ 2681. Importation of firewood; protection from invasive pests
(a) Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
(3) "Firewood" means untreated or treated wood processed for residential, recreational, or commercial use in any wood-burning appliance or fireplace, either indoor or outdoor, that is cut to a length less than 48 inches, either split or unsplit. "Firewood" shall not mean wood chips, wood pellets, pulpwood, logs 48 inches or more in length, or other wood sold or transported for manufacturing purposes.
(4) "Invasive species" means:
(A) nonnative plant pests that are capable of spreading into the State and that threaten forest health; and
(B) native plant pests, designated by the Commissioner, that are present in the State, that are capable of spreading to new areas of the State, and that threaten forest health.
(5) "Plant pests" shall be defined as in 6 V.S.A. § 1030(12).
(6) "Treated firewood" means firewood that has been processed and treated in a manner sufficient to prevent invasive species from surviving.
(7) "Untreated firewood" means firewood that is not treated firewood.
(b) Rulemaking. On or before July 1, 2015, the Commissioner, after consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, shall adopt rules regulating the importation of untreated firewood into the State. The rules shall:
(1) address whether certain types of untreated firewood should be prohibited from importation due to the potential to spread invasive species;
(2) address whether a treatment certificate or some other form of approval shall be required to import firewood from one or more states;
(3) address whether persons who produce or sell firewood in the State shall be required to track purchases of untreated firewood from out of State in order to allow for identification of sources of invasive species;
(4) address whether the State should design and implement a voluntary certification for treated firewood;
(5) include a process under which the Commissioner may waive requirements or prohibitions under the rule related to the importation of firewood when the Commissioner determines that waiver is in the public interest and poses minimal threat to forest health; and
(6) address any other issue the Commissioner identifies as necessary for preventing the importation of invasive species into the State when importing firewood.
(c) Penalties. Any person who violates a provision of this subchapter or the rules adopted under this subchapter shall be subject to a civil citation under section 8019 of this title. (Added 2013, No. 112 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)