775 Acres In The Taconic Mountains Will Remain “In The Trees”
June 28, 2011
Brook running through the forest at Spruce Peak. Photo by Nancy Bell/The Conservation Fund
U.S. Forest Service Acquisition Secures Favorite Recreation Locale in Southern Vermont
Bennington County, Vt. — Today the U.S. Forest Service and The Conservation Fund announced the protection of a 775-acre property in the Taconic Mountain range near the town of Arlington. A popular destination for hunting, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing and winter sports over the last two centuries, the Spruce Peak tract features ideal wooded habitat for an array of wildlife and will be incorporated into the Green Mountain National Forest.
Located near the northern end of the Taconic range—a Native American name meaning “in the trees” —the property and the adjacent public lands rest within an expansive forested area of roughly 16,000 acres on the New York border. The conserved parcel contains some of the highest quality northern hardwood forests in Vermont along a series of ridges ranging in elevation from 1,300 feet to the 3,033-foot Spruce Peak. Two important headwater tributaries of the Batten Kill watershed—an internationally famous river for its trout fishery—can also be found on the property.
“This is a very significant acquisition for the Green Mountain National Forest as it will help to conserve more than 750 acres of public land for generations to come,” said Colleen Madrid, Forest Supervisor for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. “I find it quite fitting that this land was acquired in the same year that the U.S. Forest Service and the public are celebrating the centennial of the Weeks Act, landmark legislation that enables the federal government to purchase lands for incorporation into the National Forest system,” added Madrid.
With support from the Senator Patrick Leahy and the Vermont delegation, U.S. Congress appropriated $471,000 in funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to enable the Service to acquire the property from The Conservation Fund. The LWCF program receives significant revenue from the development of federally-owned offshore oil and gas rights.
“Through important projects like Spruce Peak, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is ensuring that critical natural resources and recreational opportunities are not lost forever,” said Senator Patrick Leahy. “In these difficult times, our parks and recreation areas are important economic generators drawing in new visitors and also where people can get much needed physical activity, regardless of their means. I want to also thank the U.S. Forest Service for their leadership in taking on such an important project. This is exactly the outcome that I envisioned when, 20 years ago this month we expanded the National Forest boundary to include the Taconic range.”
“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 the U.S. Forest Service and The Conservation Fund have worked together to ensure that this beautiful, unique, and invaluable natural resource will be protected for generations to come.”
The Conservation Fund acquired the property from Meadowsend Timberlands LTD, a New Hampshire-based, family-owned forestry business that manages for the health, sustainability and long term productivity of their forestlands. The acquisition will further the Service’s effort to protect existing national forest system lands from invasive species while increasing public access to recreational opportunities.
“The Taconic Range is regionally unique for its geology and diversity of species, said Nancy Bell, Vermont Representative for The Conservation Fund. “Veins of marble surface in the higher elevations of these mountains in southeastern Vermont create ‘sweet’ calcareous soils that grow rich northern hardwoods and offer an unusual diversity of rare plants and associated species not found anywhere else. They are special and special to the people who live there.”
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.