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North Branch River Park 

Natural History 
 
Description229389_10152097831365398_1696870973_n.jpg North Branch River Park extends along almost three quarters of a mile of river, with important wetlands and a rich diversity of wildlife.  The park includes: river, river shore, classic riparian buffer, nationally registered wetlands, relatively young stands of hardwoods and softwoods, mixed stands, and a older stand of hemlocks that provide shelter for deer in the winter. Additionally there are some unusual geological features including some sharp ridges, several small intermittent and year round streams. The wetlands are at the bottom of a long hillside and built up into a series of ponds by industrious beavers.


Invasive Plants: 
The riparian zone at the North Branch River Park has been taken over by an array of invasive plant species. These species are: Japanese Knotweed, Goutweed, Tartarian Honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry and Buckthorn. Efforts are being placed into invasive plant management and control so the natural history of vermont remains protected. 




Wildlife and Dogs

To help protect the wonderful diversity of wildlife and vegetation we enjoy in the North Branch River Park, we ask that all dogs be kept on a leash and that people.

Why dogs 
are 
Required to be on leash
In the North Branch River Park 


The Goals

1. To have at least one significant park where wildlife can be protected, viewed, and enjoyed in a natural environment.
2. For residents, and other park visitors, to have at least one park they can go to without having to worry about being confronted by unleashed dogs.
 
Background

• One important reason the North Branch River Park was set aside was because it was appreciated and valued for its wildlife and its diversity.
• More and more dogs are being included in walks in the parks, and not all dog owners are following city ordinances or the Parks code of conduct. Relaxed interpretations of “under control” have had negative impacts on park visitors.

The Conflicts with wildlife and other park users

• Some dogs “playfully” hunt, while others have more serious responses to instinctual urges. Even if dogs are unsuccessful in their “hunts” the stress from the chase, disruptions to home or nest, or the extra expense of precious energy in winter can often prove fatal (Indirect Predation). Many animals found historically in the North Branch Park, like the wood turtle, otter, moose and turkey are sensitive to harassment by dogs. Now signs of wildlife many have appreciated in the North Branch are becoming rare.

• Dogs can and have killed numerous animals and birds (Direct Predation). At least two adult deer and one fawn have been killed by dogs in the last couple of years, known since virtually all remains were uneaten. The park has been home to many varieties of birds and small animals that live in the tall grasses near the paths. 

• Numerous people have had negative experiences with uncontrolled dogs sometime in their lives. Having a place where people can go, without having to worry each time a dog comes by, is helpful in creating positive and peaceful park experiences. 

Dogs can be off leash in Hubbard Park as long as the city ordinance is followed, "dogs must be under control at all times"… this also means no charging or threatening, as well as the ordinance regarding taking responsibility for dog waste.

Hunting Season
Hikers please be aware of when you are in and out of the park, as one trail extends deep into East Montpelier. During hunting season it is recommended that you wear bright colors.