Jensen Afield

Girls learn about the finer aspects of fishing during a week-long stay at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Green Mountain Conservation Camp in Castleton. Applications are now available for both boys and girls camps, held from June to August in Castleton and at Buck Lake in Woodbury.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s plan to close down the Salisbury Fish Culture Station came under much criticism and the response was overwhelming. Now, Fish & Wildlife may come up with another proposal to cut $250,000 from its budget.

Those options under discussion include raising the annual license fees for hunting, fishing and trapping, an alternative that appears, while not exactly popular, to be far more acceptable than the plan to close the Salisbury hatchery.

Louis Porter, the commissioner of Fish & Wildlife, was told by Gov. Phil Scott that his department was required to provide him with a balanced budget and to do that Porter would be forced to slash $250,000 from the Fish & Wildlife budget.

As a result, Porter came up with a plan to close the Salisbury Fish Culture Station. Under that plan, all trout-stocking would be halted for at least several years, the department’s yearly stocking of trout for kids’ fishing derbies would be put on hold and Trout Unlimited would not be able to continue its “Trout in the Classroom” program.

Porter said that the proposal to close the fish hatchery is not sitting well with Vermont legislators. “I haven’t spoken to a single legislator who supports closing” the hatchery, Porter said. Several House committees are “looking for possible ways to fund the hatchery, at least in the short term,” he said.

Porter said he gets telephone calls and e-mails, daily, from Vermonters who are opposed to closing the Salisbury hatchery. “I tell them the truth, which is we have to bring our expenditures in line with our revenues,” he said. “That means lowering our expenditures or increasing our revenues.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott has met with sportsmen and told them that if they are in agreement with raising license fees, that could be part of the answer, Porter said. “Sportsmen’s groups are circulating a letter supporting that idea,” he said.

Four Seasons in Vermont

Gary Moore, a longtime Vermont outdoor writer and former Vermont Fish & Wildlife commissioner, has published a collection of essays that span decades of his experiences as a hiker, explorer, angler, hunter and lover of the outdoors.

While Moore gives a good amount of his writing to hunting and fishing, his insight into the wonders of natural things that another observer might fail to see help to make his book all the more interesting.

For example, a piece simply titled “Stone Walls” was one of my favorites. Here’s why, in Moore’s own words: “What tales they could tell if only we could understand. They would tell us of the dreams and desires of men, women and children who once built and maintained them. … Life was hard a hundred and fifty years ago. Just look in the old cemeteries and see how many children died in their first year.”

In “Summer Sights, Sounds and Smells,” Moore captures the essence of a Vermont summer. He writes: “The smell of fresh mown hay is everywhere this time of year. I love it, although I am glad I no longer have to throw bales of hay high up on a trailer or stack them in the stifling heat of the hay mow.”

This is a very nice read. Moore, a native Vermonter from Bradford and a Vietnam veteran, brings passion to his prose.

A copy of “Four Seasons in Vermont” is available online at www.bondcliffbooks.com, on Amazon or, for an autographed copy by sending a check for $17.95 to: Gary Moore, Box 454, Bradford, Vt. 05033.

Conservation camps

While summer might seem a bit far off, this would be a good time to consider sending your child to one of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Green Mountain Conservation Camps.

The one-week camp programs, for youths 12 to 14, are held at Lake Bomoseen in Castleton and at Buck Lake in Woodbury. Campers learn about fish and wildlife conservation, ecology, orienteering, safe firearm and archery techniques, swimming, canoeing, fishing and more. The camps are led by professionals in the field.

Conservation camps begin on June 16 and continue until Aug. 16. Tuition is $250 for the week, including food, lodging and equipment. However, scholarships are often offered through local hunting and fishing clubs and organizations such as the Lions Club.

Online applications and information are available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. For more information, contact fwgmcc@vermont.gov or call 828-1460.

Contact Dennis Jensen at d.jensen62@yahoo.com

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