Smuggler’s Notch, Vt., August 23, 2007 – Governor Jim Douglas and Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie today announced the creation of the Governor’s Commission on the Future of State Parks, an initiative that will usher in the most significant changes in Vermont’s State Parks in decades.
“Our state parks play a crucial role in keeping us connected to our environment,” Governor Douglas said. “In order to ensure that these resources remain accessible to future generations of Vermonters, this commission brings together leaders in business, education, social services, the environment and others as it embarks on the largest state park renewal effort in the state’s history.”
Win Smith, the owner and president of Sugarbush Resort in Warren, and Tom Hark, the founding president of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, are the chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, which has been charged with developing and implementing a new path for state parks. Their recommendations to the governor are expected by January 31, 2008.
The governor said the commission will work toward massive improvements to Vermont’s state parks using a host of resources, none more important than an eager workforce comprised of some of the state’s young and underemployed residents. To that end, Human Resources Secretary Cynthia LaWare pledged her agency’s commitment to finding young and underemployed workers.
“The governor and I recognize that every Vermonter has unique talents and deserves the chance for meaningful employment,” Secretary LaWare said. “Just as the Vermont economy will require every qualified job seeker to meet the needs of the business community, Vermont State Parks will need to utilize every available individual to help in this rebuilding effort.”
Secretary Crombie said the commission will go a long way toward restoring the parks to the center of the state’s recreational and environmental pursuits. “Our state parks, places where Vermonters engage one-on-one with the environment, are in need of innovation,” Secretary Crombie said. “When they were first established in the 1930s, Vermont’s state parks were never looked at as luxuries, but as important components of the state’s quality of life. They still should be, and this commission will make the parks once again an important part of life in Vermont.”