The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD) will be completing several road improvements in three state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) from October through mid-December, the agency said Sept. 30.
Those locations are within the Wenlock WMA, West Mountain WMA and Bill Sladyk WMA in the state's Northeast Kingdom, comprised of three counties in the corner of Vermont that border New Hampshire to the east and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
The upgrades to the roads in the densely forested areas are possible due to short-term federal monies the VFWD received.
"We recognize that this is an unfavorable time of year to conduct this work, which could interfere with hunting access and other activities on these lands," said Vermont wildlife biologist Paul Hamelin. "But, in order to take advantage of unanticipated federal funding which became available in recent months and must be used by the end of the year, the projects must be conducted during this period. Most roads will remain open during construction, but drivers should use caution, and travel may be delayed at times."
At the Bill Sladyk WMA Hurricane Brook Road, roadside brush clearing began Sept. 30 for nine days on the section within a mile of the railroad tracks. From Oct. 1 and scheduled to last until Dec. 11, ditching, culvert installation and replacement, and gravel application will be implemented from the railroad tracks for approximately one mile northward. There will be one or two days during which the Hurricane Brook Road will be closed. Signage with closure dates will be posted on the road near the junction with Vermont Route 114.
On North Shore Road in the Holland Pond area of the Bill Sladyk WMA, gravel will be applied from the junction of North Shore Road to the north parking area (Round Pond Trail Access) from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11.
In the West Mountain WMA and Wenlock WMA, roadside clearing has begun in the Dennis Pond and Wheeler Pond sections of the areas and will continue through October on Paul Stream-South America Pond Road, West Mountain Pond Road and Paul Stream Pond Road.
Crews also are performing road resurfacing in the area of Paul Stream Road, West Mountain Pond Road and Paul Stream Pond Road. Additional surfacing is under way in the areas of Dennis Pond, Wheeler Pond and South America Pond Road.
The road activity will be occurring in many parts of West Mountain WMA during much of October, with most work planned to be completed before November.
Although the access projects may cause short term inconvenience or disruption for some hunting and fishing this fall, the VFWD said the long-term benefits of improved road access, parking and maintaining safe infrastructure using this unprecedented funding will benefit all who enjoy these WMAs for many years into the future.