(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he won’t change an executive order that guarantees public access to all the former Champion lands in the Northeast Kingdom.
The order was signed by Governor Howard Dean two months before he left office last November. Douglas was pressured to rescind the order by some hunting groups. They felt that the order could tie the new governor’s hands on how the lands should be managed.
Douglas says he agrees with critics about the planning process for the Champion lands:
(Douglas) “Although the process may have been flawed, in the final analysis the executive order does not and could not change the legal conditions and restrictions on management of the land, contained in the law authorizing the purchase and in the conservation easements that run with it. An executive order cannot undo those provisions.”
(Dillon) Douglas says he wants to move beyond the Champion debate. He says he plans to listen to all sides in future debates over public land management.