Partners in PlanningFor starters, they needed more people, so the Parks Commission has partnered with the Conservation Commission and the North Branch Nature Center. With shared funds from both commissions, they’ve allocated $6,000 to hire a UVM graduate student in field studies, Erica Hample. Keep your eyes peeled for Hample this summer; she’ll be the one counting plants and other species for the ecological assessment piece of the plan. “We are about to go full swing into Hubbard and North Branch … it is a massive undertaking,” Frasca said during a walk with a reporter at the North Branch River park recently. Nonetheless, with the joint work of two city commissions and the Nature Center, plus a full-time graduate student, Frasca estimates that a draft plan should be ready this fall and a finalized plan completed in December.
PLACE Making“Our project proposal was not only to conduct the parks survey but also to bring the Place-Based Landscape Analysis and Community Engagement program (PLACE) to Montpelier,” Frasca wrote in an email to The Bridge. “The PLACE program is oriented around connecting people with the place they live, and engaging them in the exploration of the natural and cultural history of Vermont towns.” An initiative of the UVM Field Studies program, Hample said the program provides communities insight into both landscape (including both natural history and human history) and community engagement. “The PLACE program provides local residents with a forum for exploring and understanding the natural and cultural history of their town landscape,” according to the UVM PLACE Program website. Hample will focus on the ecological part of the landscape, she said, creating an inventory of wildlife, mostly plants, including a soil and geology inventory. “It also includes human history,” she added during a telephone interview, “because nothing in Vermont has not been touched by humans.” Frasca said the management plan will include two new parcels of land recently purchased, which has expanded Hubbard Park by 80 acres. While there’s an interim plan in place for those parcels, he said, this new plan incorporates them fully and will guide commissioners in park management for the next 10 years.
Participate in a Parks WalkWant to learn more about the city’s 10-year parks management plan and share your thoughts with commissioners? Join them on one of the park walks scheduled below. For those whose mobility doesn’t allow for a walk, or who can’t make any of these dates, the commission has scheduled an open house on June 14 at the Elm Street Pavilion from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. “This will be an opportunity for folks to meet with the full parks commission and discuss the entire park,” Frasca wrote in an email to The Bridge, adding that, “Each walk will be led by two commissioners and go for about an hour. This will be a space for park users to share their thoughts and opinions on park use and management of that particular area.”
Hubbard Zone 1Southern half (pre-expansion), which includes all vehicle access, both shelters, tower, frog pond, sledding hill, etc. Wider trails, easier access, much more populated. Ends at the park HQ. Friday, May 27, 12 p.m., and Saturday, May 28, 12 p.m.
Hubbard Zone 2Northern half (pre-expansion) beginning at park HQ, includes seven fireplaces, streamside, parks connector, and nature center trail. Thursday, May 12, 6 p.m., and Wednesday, May 18, 12 p.m.
Hubbard Zone 3New parcels. Wednesday, May 11, 10 a.m., and Monday, May 23, 6 p.m.
North Branch Zone 1Lower section from Cummings Street to Nature Center bridge. Includes the river path, meadow, beaver pond, stream drainages, pump track, and riparian areas. Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m., and Wednesday, May 25, 5:30 p.m.
North Branch Zone 2Hillside with all the trails. Tuesday, June 1, 9 a.m., and Saturday, June 11, 4 p.m.
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