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The Northeast Kingdom is a term used to describe the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Vermont, comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia Counties and having a population of 62,438. In Vermont, the written term "NEK" is often used. The term is attributed to the late George D. Aiken, former Governor of Vermont and a U.S. Senator at the time of a 1949 speech, the first recorded use of the term. The area is often referred to by Vermonters simply as "The Kingdom."

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Contents

Geography

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The Northeast Kingdom is bisected by Interstate 91/U.S. 5. On the east it is bordered by the Connecticut River. The highest point is Jay Peak at 3,681 feet (1,122 m).[1]

The Kingdom encompasses 55 towns and gores, with a land area of 2,027 square miles (5,250 km2), about 21% of the state of Vermont.[2] The city of Newport is the single incorporated city in the tri-county area.

The area is a year-round recreation destination known for skiing, fall foliage viewing, and production of maple syrup .

As of 1997, 80% of the Northeast Kingdom was covered by forest.[3] 59% was northern hardwood, 29% spruce or fir.

The Northeast Kingdom has been listed in the North American and international editions of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die", the New York Times best-selling book by Patricia Schultz. In 2006, the National Geographic Society named the Northeast Kingdom as the most desirable place to visit in the country and the ninth most desirable place to visit in the world.[4]

Geology

The presence of Kame terraces in the counties are of interest in connection with the drift that gave the Northeast Kingdom its soil, and its surface stones and boulders. These terraces have beds of sand and clay from which bricks were once manufactured.[5]

Fauna

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In 1996, the moose population totalled 2,000, about 1.75/mi² (0.676/km²). In 2005, the population was 5,000; 3.4/mi² (1.313/km²). State officials determined that the herd had become stressed due to overpopulation, and that the 1996 figure was more desirable. As a result, 1,260 hunting permits were issued in 2008 to cull the herd.[6] In 2009, state officials aimed for 1 moose per 1 square mile (2.6 km2).[7]

Climate

The average growing season is about 123-130 frost-free days.[8]

On December 30, 1933 the lowest recorded temperature in the New England states was registered as -50.8 ºF (-46 °C), at Bloomfield in Essex County.[9][10]

Current Weather Conditions from the NEK - Northeast Kingdom Weather.[11]

Government

Vermont's system of government provides for virtually no authority at the county level except for a County Sheriff, providing basic law enforcement coverage and acting as an officer of the County Court. There are numerous county officers, all funded by the state. See, for example, Orleans County Government.

Municipalities are governed by an elected Board of Selectmen and managed by an elected town or city clerk.

Public health and safety

Various organizations are tasked with aiding public health including the Northeast Kingdom Human Services.

Economy

NGOs

There are a number of non-profit, non-governmental agencies, supported by the government, that either offer services or promote business. These include The Northern Community Investment Corporation, based in St. Johnsbury.[12]

Transportation

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In 2008, 74% of the roads were rated in poor or very poor condition. There were 480 bridges with spans of 20 feet or more. There were a number of bridges deemed structurally deficient. Sixty-three percent of those were municipally owned.[13]

Railroads

Two railroads traverse the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont:

Washington County Railroad (The Vermont Railway System) - WACR has just recently been awarded a 30 year contract to operate the track running from White River Junction North through St. Johnsbury and Newport.

The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad - Six trips a day between Island Pond and Maine. Four trips a day between Island Pond and Canada. Lumber is the principal freight.[14]

Bus

Rural Community Transportation runs out of Saint Johnsbury and services Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille and Orleans Counties.

History

Geologic

Two land masses collided at the end of the Ordovician Period about 466 million years ago. This collision first formed what are now the Green Mountains which extend into the westernmost part of the Northeast Kingdom.[15]It also created great pressure within the earth resulting in active volcanoes. The resultant eruptions produced igneous rock which became the granite often seen near the mountains and in the Connecticut River Valley.[16]

The remaining geology was created during the Silurian-Devonian Period, about 400 million years ago, and left behind slate, with some granite, schist, and limestone.[17][18]

An expansion of the polar glaciers resulted in an ice age which greatly affected the geology. A one mile thick sheet of ice covered the Kingdom several times over million years until 13,500 years ago.[19] It brought the many boulders seen in the area and created many prominent features, including Lakes Memphremagog, Willoughby, and Crystal Lake.[20]

The retreat of the Laurentide glacier allowed the Green Mountains again to arise, but much eroded.[21] A saltwater incursion from the Atlantic covered much of Vermont including what is now Lake Memphremagog. This incursion stopped 11,000 years ago and became fresh water. Forests later appeared after the water receded.

Early human history

The retreating glacier allowed the northern migration of early humans in 9300 BCE, descendants of Asian immigrants during the Ice Age. By 7300 BCE, people and a changing environment had eliminated large game from the area such as caribou and mastodons.[22]

From 1000 BCE to 1600 CE, Abenakis inhabited the Kingdom..[22]

Perhaps as many as a thousand Cowasuck Indians lived in Essex County near the Connecticut River in 1500. This tribe included all people from the Cahass, Cohassiac, Coos, Coosuc, and Koes tribes.[23] The Cowasucks were Abenakis, themselves members of the Wabanakis, the Algonquin pact of five tribes which banded together to combat Iroquois aggression perhaps about 1500, though the exact date of the Iroquois pact is unknown.[24][25]

European diseases, such as typhus, contracted from exposure to traders, killed many of the Cowasucks until only a few hundred were left in the Northeast Kingdom by 1600.[26]

Media

Author Howard Frank Mosher has written works of fiction set in the Northeast Kingdom, typically in the fictitious Kingdom County.

Archer Mayor's second "Joe Gunther" novel, Borderlines, was set in the fictitious village of Gannet, in Essex County.

Peacham, Vermont was used as the filming location for the 1993 movie Ethan Frome based on Edith Wharton's novel of the same name.[27]

Robert Frost wrote a poem with the Kingdom as its topic entitled A Servant to Servants.[28]

Newspapers

  • The Caledonian-Record, the area's largest newspaper, is published in St. Johnsbury
  • The Chronicle - published weekly in Barton
  • The Newport Daily Express - published daily except Sundays in Newport
  • The North Star Monthly - published monthly in Danville
  • The Hardwick Gazette - published weekly in Hardwick

Radio

[29]

Television

  • UHF Channel 20, WVTB (PBS), St. Johnsbury, Vermont Public Television
  • Channel 14 W14CK Newport, ion, Rebroadcast of WWBI-LP
  • Cable Channel 7, KATV, Kingdom Access Television, Lyndonville, Public Access

See also

References

  1. ^ Various Vermont Mountains
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "The National Geographic Society Press Room". Northeast Kingdom Geotourism Mapguide Debuts at Vermont Travel Industry Conference. http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/index.jsp?pageID=pressReleases_detail&siteID=1&cid=1164733316076. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  5. ^ Child, Hamilton. (May 1887). Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884. Hamilton Child. 
  6. ^ Rathke, Lisa (October 17, 2008). State hopes moose season culls herd. Burlington Free Press. 
  7. ^ Richard Creaser (2009-10-28). "Cow are giving birth to fewer offspring" (in English). the chronicle. Chris and Ellen Braithwaite. pp. 13. 
  8. ^ Draft Environmental Assessment retrieved May 28, 2008
  9. ^ Though this was tied by Black River, Maine in 2009
  10. ^ Adams, Glenn (February 11, 2009). Maine ties Vt. for record low temperature. Burlington Free Press. 
  11. ^ [http://www.nekweather.net
  12. ^ The Chronicle, June 3, 2009, page 27, "Economic development debated in Barton". Joseph Cresser
  13. ^ Creaser, Richard (October 22, 2008). State transportation money is based on traffic. the Chronicle. 
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ "Shelburne Geology". Geologic history of the Champlain Valley. http://www.uvm.edu/shelburnelandscape/nature/geology.html. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  16. ^ "Digital Commons - Middlebury". Depth Constraints on the Origins of Northeast Kingdom Granites, Vermont. http://digitalcommons.middlebury.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=theses. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  17. ^ "About Geology". Generalized Geologic Map of Vermont. http://geology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=geology&cdn=education&tm=14&gps=79_7_796_432&f=20&su=p284.21.140.ip_&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/geo/images/geo5.JPG. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  18. ^ "Geological Society of American Conference". Ordovician Sedimentary Breccia and Magnetite-Coticule Metasiltstone, Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2001NE/finalprogram/abstract_2396.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  19. ^ "The University of Vermont". A Brief History and Overview of Vermont's Physical Landscape. http://www.uvm.edu/place/analyze/history_vt.php. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  20. ^ "America's Volcanic Past". Crystal Lake. http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/LivingWith/VolcanicPast/Places/volcanic_past_vermont.html. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  21. ^ "The Mountains of Vermont". The Green Mountains. http://academics.smcvt.edu/vtgeographic/textbook/mountains/mountains_of_vermont.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  22. ^ a b "The Flow of History". Native Americans in Vermont. http://www.flowofhistory.org/themes/movement_settlement/abenaki.php. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  23. ^ "First Nations Histories". Abenaki History. http://www.tolatsga.org/aben.html. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  24. ^ "Native Languages". Wabanki Confederacy. http://www.native-languages.org/wabanaki.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  25. ^ "Native Languages". Iroquois Confederacy. http://www.native-languages.org/iroquois.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  26. ^ "Manataka American Indian Council". Abenaki History Part I. http://www.manataka.org/page380.html. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  27. ^ New York Times accessed February 1, 2008
  28. ^ New York Times retrieved June 29, 2008
  29. ^ List of Vermont Radio Stations
  30. ^ MOO 92 retrieved on May 13, 2007
  31. ^ VPR (October 28, 2008). VPR Classical broadcasts from I.P.. the Chronicle. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Northeast Kingdom is the northeastern portion of Vermont, south of Canada. It is highly forested and sparsely populated and is like Vermont as it was in 1950. Here is the best chance for hearing an authentic Vermont accent.

  • NEK Border with Canada - including Derby Line
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