Monday, August 9, 2010

Nelson misses another deadline - so what else is new?

Our thanks to Candy Page for following up on this violation of the public trust of wildlife. I bet the Ag Dept grants the extension and a bunch more to follow.

Where's the plan for the park that Pete (the Moose) saved?


 Candace Page / Free Press -Richard Nelson fills a feeding trough at Big Rack Ridge in Irasburg as an elk approaches to feed on Monday, June 14, 2010.


By Candace Page, Free Press Staff Writer • Monday, August 9, 2010

Free Press environment writer Candace Page filed this entry in her blog, “Tree at My Window:”
Remember Pete the Moose and Big Rack Ridge? That’s the orphaned moose and his elk-hunting-park home I wrote about earlier this summer after Vermont lawmakers cut a special deal to exempt the park from Fish and Wildlife regulations. Well, the park’s owner missed an Aug. 1 deadline last week to submit a management plan for monitoring and protecting the health of animals inside — and outside — his seven miles of fence.

Well, the park’s owner missed an Aug. 1 deadline last week to submit a management plan for monitoring and protecting the health of animals inside — and outside — his seven miles of fence.
Instead, on Aug. 2, Doug Nelson of Derby wrote to the Agriculture Agency to request a two-month extension because “my management consultant is located in Texas and has been unable to come to Vermont.”
State veterinarian Dr. Kristin Haas said she is consulting with the attorney general’s office about whether to grant the exemption.
It is not clear what effect granting the postponement would have on other deadlines facing Big Rack Ridge, including compliance with the Agriculture Agency’s rules for deer farms by Sept. 1 and construction of a second, interior fence by Oct. 1.
“We are reviewing how to go forward,” Haas said.
“I’m not surprised,” Fish and Wildlife Board Chairman Brian Ames said of Nelson’s failure to meet the deadline. “He never made any attempt to come into compliance with our rules.”
Doug Nelson and his son Richard did not return my telephone calls of inquiry last week or Monday.
In May, Vermont lawmakers granted Nelson’s park an exemption from Fish and Wildlife regulations and transferred oversight to the Agriculture Agency.
They acted because new Fish and Wildlife regulations would have required Nelson to kill the native whitetail deer and moose trapped inside his fence, as a precaution against the spread of chronic wasting disease and other animal illnesses. The Nelsons have operated Big Rack Ridge since 2001; no disease has been detected in any of their elk.
The proposed killing provoked a public outcry because Nelson is providing a home for an orphaned moose, Pete, who had a Facebook page and a large following of humans.
But the Legislature’s action outraged some parts of the hunting community. Hunters not only fear the spread of disease to Vermont’s wild deer herd, but object to a deal that gave Nelson ownership of the wild animals trapped inside his fence.
Ames said the controversy isn’t over.
“We are going to try to have this issue re-addressed” by the 2011 Legislature, he said. “The ramifications for the privatization of wildlife are significant — we can’t let that continue.”

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