Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge
The Nulhegan Basin Division, part of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, was established to protect the diversity and abundance of native species within the 7.2 million-acre Connecticut River watershed. An extensive road system gives visitors the ability to experience the rugged quality of the Division and access to scenic vistas, perfect for wildlife dependent recreation. For the more actively inclined visitor, wooded pathways and stream courses can be used to hike off the roads for a deeper backwoods experience. The Lewis pond overlook provides a scenic vista of the Nulhegan Basin and the surrounding mountains. The Mollie Beattie Bog interpretive boardwalk provides visitors with information on bog habitat and wildlife.
This organization is also part of a Geotourism Initiative. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, located in northeastern Vermont, has long embraced the ideals that comprise National Geographic's geotourism programs. Geotourism, as defined by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations is "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place. It's a destination where you can have an authentic travel experience without harming the place." Jonathan Tourtellot, director of the Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations, describes the NEK as "the real Vermont...This is rural America at its most nostalgic, enlivened by a vibrant cultural arts community and the wonderful Vermont scenery. There are scenic back roads to drive, quaint little towns to explore, wonderful hiking in the summer and great skiing in the winter." To ensure the development of a geotourism program that is true to the Kingdom, a Geotourism Alliance was established to help steward the formation of this program. Today, this Alliance is comprised of over 20 member organizations who provide input and support as the Northeast Kingdom Geotourism Program evolves.