Forest supervisor Colleen Madrid kicked off the festivities by acknowledging the national significance of the Weeks Act that President William Taft signed into law a century ago.
Amidst nature’s fall grandeur of red, orange and yellow, Madrid discussed the cultural, political and environmental dynamics of the United States leading to the significant 1911 legislation that eventually created 52 national forests on 20 million acres of land in the eastern United States.
“This is a special time for our residents, our visitors, our forests and those of us that work to manage our public lands,” said Madrid.
To mark this occasion, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin also signed a Weeks Act commendation to showcase the state’s support of the Forest Service.
Activities at the festival included a display of conservation exhibits, a visit from Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, the opportunity to taste locally-made apple cider, and enjoying the foliage from a chair lift ride.
The Green Mountain National Forest is one of the more heavily recreated national forests in the nation, serving between 3 to 4 million visitors per year. It is a major contributor to local economies and some of its popular recreation activities include fishing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, hiking, camping, and alpine and cross-country skiing.