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Attorneys General Clark & Formella Perambulate the Vermont-New Hampshire Border

AGs Clark and Formella Speak at 12th Perambulation
October 6, 2023

Event marks the 12th “perambulation” since U.S. Supreme Court ended a two-decade border dispute between the two states in in 1937.

As directed by their respective legislatures decades ago, Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark and New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella today met on the Norwich, Vermont-Hanover, New Hampshire bridge spanning the Connecticut River to “perambulate” the sister states’ border. The Attorneys General also enjoyed a short boat ride in the Connecticut River to inspect the border.

New Hampshire and Vermont laws require state officials, in consultation with the Attorneys General, to meet periodically to “perambulate” the border between their respective states to assure that all markers and monuments of the boundary between the two states are properly renewed and maintained. The last perambulation occurred in 2012. For over 20 years, Vermont and New Hampshire litigated over where the boundary line between the states should be located.

In 1915, a border dispute arose when New Hampshire officials attempted to tax a paper mill that was located partially in the riverbed of the Connecticut River adjacent to Bellows Falls, Vermont. At the time Vermont had claimed that its border extended to the centerline of the river. In a series of Orders issued between 1933 and 1937, the dispute was finally resolved when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the boundary was the low-water mark on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River. Both states passed laws to ensure that the boundary monuments would be positioned and maintained in perpetuity. This year marks the 12th time that the states have perambulated the border.

“On the Vermont side of Connecticut River, we are fortunate to enjoy what I, of course, consider the best maple syrup, craft beer, fall foliage, hiking, and winter sports destinations,” said Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark. “But Vermont is also lucky to share a border with New Hampshire and the people of the Granite State. Perambulation serves as a technical, legal reminder of the official border between our states, but it also serves as a reminder of our connection to our neighbors and shared values as people who have chosen to call Northern New England home. Thank you to our Vermont Agency of Transportation survey team for its survey work and thank you to New Hampshire Attorney General Formella for being here today to meet as good neighbors and confirm our border.”

“Born out of a one-time border dispute, the perambulation of our state border has come to symbolize the close relationship that we are fortunate to have with our colleagues in Vermont. Bi-state coordination and cooperation are essential to ensuring the rule of law. Whether they be environmental issues, bridge construction projects, emergency management planning and assistance in civil matters, or criminal cases that might arise at or near the border, it is vitally important to understand exactly where the lines of state jurisdiction start and stop and to maintain good cross-border cooperation in law enforcement and every other government function,” said New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella. “On a lighter note, it is always fun to remind our neighbors that New Hampshire has everything Vermont has to offer, but more. We have more ski areas, taller mountains, and actual ocean beaches. Fun boasting aside, I am truly grateful to have Attorney General Clark and her team here today to continue this tradition of confirming our border. I also extend my sincere thanks to the transportation professionals from New Hampshire and Vermont who helped complete this important survey work.”

Survey experts with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation accompanied the Attorneys General. 

Courtesy photos of Attorneys General Clark and Formella, captured at today’s event, are attached for media.


CONTACT:   Lauren Jandl, Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Michael Garrity, NH Department of Justice, Director of Communications, 603-931-9375