MILTON — After 24 years, longtime Milton Conservation Commissioner Judy Kinner is retiring.
Kinner first got involved as a volunteer with the commission in 1996. She loved hiking and was looking for trails to recreate on in Milton when she first moved to town. She wanted to learn more about the trails that were available and met the founder of the Milton Town Forest who convinced her to join the MCC. She was appointed to the commission in 1997.
“I’ll miss Milton," she said. "I think they have a strong conservation commission with Dan Garety as the chairman. I just wish them luck in the future."
With a background in a different field, Kinner was trained in conservation through a number of municipal workshops. Everything else she learned from hands-on experience.
“What I learned I learned on my own,” Kinner said.
After living for many years in Milton, Kinner and her husband are moving to Williston.
“I’m planning on getting settled into the town, but I hope to be involved in some environmental conservation. The organization of trails…trails are my first love,” she said.
At its June 21 meeting, the Milton Selectboard passed a resolution recognizing Kinner for her service and dedication to the town.
“Judy has worked tirelessly to promote the use of the Town Forest, Eagle Mountain Natural Area and the Lamoille River Walk,” the resolution states. “The hundreds of hours she has committed to these areas… ensure that users had a good experience during their visit to these beautiful Town properties.”
During her time on the commission, Kinner spent hours working on protecting natural areas around Milton and making them accessible to people.
“The positive interaction citizens have experienced as a result of the Conservation Commission and Judy’s work are important to the goodwill of our community,” the resolution states.
Kinner spent countless hours conserving and creating management plans for the Lamoille River Walk, a 1.5 mile walk that follows the lower Lamoille River, an 85 mile waterway that flows into Lake Champlain.
“It’s a good asset to the town," she said. "That’s one of my prouder accomplishments."
Kinner also was particularly devoted to the Milton Town Forest. Creating the trails there was one of the first projects that Kinner was involved in when joined a Town Forest subcommittee in 1996.
“There are wonderful trails there, and it’s used a lot," she said. "Every time you drive by there are cars there.”
The Milton Town Forest is 485 acres of woodlands with six miles of walking trails established throughout. In 2017, a project was completed with a state grant to create a handicap accessible trail. The MCC recently applied for another grant to extend this trail, but it was denied.
“It’s a very important place in people’s lives because you get to enjoy the environment and the natural beauty of the area,” said Kinner, speaking of the natural areas in Milton. “It’s an outlet for recreation and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.”
Carolina de Buy Wenniger is a summer 2021 intern for the Milton Independent, Essex Reporter and Colchester Sun. Her primary reporting focus is on conservation, sustainable transportation and the environment. Email her at email@example.com.