Conservation Easement Secures The Outdoors For Thousands Of Youth In South-Central Vermont
May 31, 2011
Photo courtesy Farm and Wilderness Foundation
Forest Legacy Easement Protects 444 Acres near Green Mountain National Forest for the Continued Use of Farm & Wilderness Summer Camps
Windsor County, Vt. — The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), the Farm & Wilderness Foundation (F&W) and The Conservation Fund announced today the completion of a Forest Legacy project that protects 444 acres of private forests, ridgeline and vista near the village of Plymouth. A conservation easement, held by the ANR’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, will conserve this exceptional tract of verdant working forest and critical wildlife habitat near Woodward Reservoir for campers, counselors and outdoor enthusiasts. The property will continue to be used by Farm & Wilderness for educational and recreational activities during youth summer camps and will remain open for public recreation including hunting and hiking.
“This is great news and a tremendous accomplishment,” said Michael Snyder, Commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. “I appreciate the vision, dedication, and tireless work of department staff, our partners The Conservation Fund, and the Farm and Wilderness Foundation to complete this landmark conservation project.”
“This easement has value for our campers, for the town of Plymouth and for Vermont,” said Pieter Bohen, F&W’s Executive Director. “We wanted to ensure this special place stays available to campers and visitors and strengthens their connection to the land. At F&W, we believe knowledge of wildlife habitat, sustainable forestry and responsible recreation are vital for future generations to flourish.”
Thanks to the dedication of Senator Patrick Leahy and the Vermont congressional delegation, funding for this project was provided by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy Program, a grant program co-created by Sen. Leahy that supports State efforts to protect environmentally sensitive working forest lands. After years of effort, the easement, negotiated by The Conservation Fund, enhances a local, state and federal initiative that protected a vital wildlife corridor encompassing approximately 20,000 acres between the north and south units of Green Mountain National Forest and various state owned parcels.
Sen. Leahy stated: “Congratulations to the Farm & Wilderness Foundation, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and The Conservation Fund, three groups that have worked together tirelessly to permanently conserve these unique woodlands through the Forest Legacy Program. We live, work, plan and think in compressed and often artificial time horizons—the next year, the next quarterly report or the next Congress. The lands conserved through good works like these extend our horizons and broaden our reach into future generations.”
“When I created this program in 1990 as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I envisioned helping to maintain the integrity of our country’s valuable forest lands so that they could not only supply timber products but also wildlife habitat, soil and watershed protection, recreational opportunities and the quality of life that helps make Vermont such a great place to live, work and raise families,” said Sen. Leahy. “As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee I have fought to increase funding levels for the Forest Legacy Program and was delighted to see it reach the 2 million acres protected nationwide last fall, with 76,686 acres conserved in Vermont.”
“The unique features of the Farm & Wilderness forest make its permanent protection and conservation so important,” added Sen. Leahy. “Farm & Wilderness is special for the experience that it offers children every summer and throughout the year learning new skills while enjoying Vermont’s natural beauty, but this forest also serves as an important wildlife habitat in the Plymouth Valley. The many generations of families who have attended Farm & Wilderness camps over the years will be able to return and again visit these beautiful natural forest communities of rich Northern hardwoods that will remain the legacy of all, on into the future.”
Proceeds from the sale will allow Farm & Wilderness to strengthen programs, improve buildings and offer more financial aid to campers across the country. The Quaker organization focuses on outdoor education, community and adventure with an organic farm, retreat facilities and six overnight summer camps serving children ages 4 to 17.
“Protecting important forests like the Woodward Reservoir Forest Legacy tract is a perfect example of what the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program can accomplish. The ability to coordinate across political boundaries, maintain high standards associated with the acquisition of the conservation easement, and the required periodic monitoring ensures these important forests provide public benefits into perpetuity,” said Mike Dudley, Acting Director of Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service.
“Vermont’s forests have always been vital to our economy and critical to our character as a state,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “I am very pleased that by working together with local, federal, and state partners, the Farm & Wilderness Foundation has helped ensure that this beautiful and valuable natural resource will be protected for generations to come.”
“As Vermonters we take great pride in our rural landscape,” Rep. Peter Welch said. “This agreement will help preserve and protect over 400 acres of forest land, ensuring future generations will enjoy Vermont’s pristine landscape for years to come.”
“With the conservation of this property, Farm & Wilderness exemplifies the values they espouse in their extraordinary programs for youth by ensuring their continued commitment to exemplary stewardship of their lands and the generosity of sharing them with the public,” said Nancy Bell, Vermont Representative for The Conservation Fund and Shrewsbury resident.
Adjacent to Coolidge State Forest, the protected tract is critical to linking core black bear breeding habit as well as protecting headwater streams of the Ottauquechee River. The property, which boasts a rich hardwood forest, will continue to be sustainably harvested for its high value timber.
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.
About the Farm & Wilderness Foundation
The Farm & Wilderness Foundation is a nonprofit, which began in 1939, offering summer camp programs with common themes: wilderness experiences, organic farms and gardens, living in community, cooperative work and service, life of the spirit and homegrown art, music and dance. The F&W experience is designed to awaken each person's sense of truly being alive; a sense of purpose, connectedness and joy.
About the Forest Legacy Program
Funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the USDA Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program supports voluntary partnerships between states, forest landowners, conservation organizations and others to help conserve environmentally important forests from conversion to nonforest uses. The main tool used for protecting these important forests is conservation easements to provide for jobs, water quality, wildlife, recreation and a host of other public benefits.
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pieter Bohen, Farm & Wilderness Foundation, (802) 922-2407, Email: email@example.com