RUTLAND—Forest Service officials announced Sept. 10 that the Rutland-based headquarters for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest (GMFL) is transitioning to a full-time virtual work schedule. Most employees have been working remotely for more than a year now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this will continue until their new office is completed on Route 4 in Mendon in 2023.
The lease for the current headquarters located at 231 North Main Street expires on Sept. 30, 2021 and all Rutland-based employees will transition to working virtually or in the field by then.
Like many federal agencies, the U.S. Forest Service has been challenged with and has succeeded in working in a virtual environment. The agency has pivoted to holding meetings online and worked to find innovative ways to serve the public with reduced in-person interactions.
“We have and will continue to find ways to serve the public and our partners as we make the transition to our new location in Mendon,” said John Sinclair, forest supervisor for GMFL. The Forest Service has maintained a headquarters in the Rutland area for the past 70 years.
“The city of Rutland has been a wonderful host community for many years, and we will miss many aspects of being able to call Rutland home. The delivery of our services might look a little bit different than in past years, but we remain committed to our mission of caring for the land and serving people,” added Sinclair.
While the office building in Rutland will no longer physically house the federal agency, services will remain available online, via mail, and over the phone. In person service will remain for the visiting public at the Manchester and Rochester District Offices for all official Rutland-based Green Mountain and Finger Lakes U.S.
The new state-of-the-art Forest Service-owned headquarters will be built on existing U.S. Forest Service land just outside of Rutland City, on the heavily traveled east to west Route 4 corridor, within three miles of the popular Appalachian Trail/Long Trail. The office will be 11,550 square feet and will be constructed to meet current energy efficiency and sustainability standards.
The GMNF encompasses more than 400,000 acres in southwestern and central Vermont, forming the largest contiguous public land area in the state.
Located within a day’s drive of more than 70 million people, the GMNF is a destination for visitors seeking a variety of recreation opportunities.