The mission of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society is to advocate the preservation of historic covered bridges by: educating the public on the value of historic covered bridges; working with the towns or other entities owning or overseeing covered bridges; supporting other organizations committed to the preservation of historic covered bridges.
To guide the VCBS in its preservation mission, the Covered Bridge Preservation Committee was formed. The "kick-off" meeting of the committee was convened on January 20, 2001 at the Neighborhood Connections Building in Brandon, Vermont. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss historical bridge preservation and establish a preservation policy for the Society.
Participating in the meeting were: Ed Barna, writer and author of the book Vermont's Covered Bridges; Neil Daniels, of Neil H. Daniels Construction, Inc. of Ascutney, Vermont; Jan Lewandoski, owner of Restoration and Traditional Building, Greensboro Bend, Vermont; Irene O'Dell, covered bridge hobbyist; Phil Pierce, P.E. and owner of Phillip C. Pierce, P.E., Consulting Engineering; Doug Porter, Preservation Consultant; John Weaver, P.E., Structural Engineer, VAOT; David Wright, President of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.
Serving as Moderator was Joe Nelson, writer/photographer and author of the book Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges, and President of the VCBS. Ruth Nelson, VCBS Secretary/Treasurer served as Recording Secretary. All participants are members of the VCBS.
The meeting was conducted around a large table. A microphone was passed clockwise around the table serving as a "talking stick." Only the person holding the microphone was permitted to speak, no interruptions or debate was allowed. The "talking stick" made two circuits. The moderator had written a draft proposal of a covered bridge preservation policy to provide talking points. A copy of the draft proposal, which is presented in bold type in the following summary, was sent to each participant prior to the meeting.
It was planned that a preservation policy be drafted by the Preservation Committee to be voted upon by the VCBS Board of Directors. It was found that differing views make that chore a complex one. Work is continuing toward that objective.
[ This article was originally posted March 17, 2002 and revised on March 25, 2002]