Featured News | Vermont

Exceptional Vermont forest takes a giant step closer to permanent protection

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board grant bolsters conservation effort


MONTPELIER, VT – At a meeting on September 20, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) committed $160,000 to Northeast Wilderness Trust for the permanent preservation of 359 acres of forestland in Bridgewater Corners. The area will be managed “forever-wild” to benefit nature and people, with public access for swimming, hunting, fishing and hiking. VHCB will co-hold a conservation easement with Vermont River Conservancy, which will work to improve parking areas and trails, while Northeast Wilderness Trust will own the property.

Nearly two miles of stream flow through the property.

“Only 3% of VT is conserved as wild areas that prioritize biodiversity,” said Jon Leibowitz, Executive Director for Montpelier-based Northeast Wilderness Trust, which is raising funds to purchase the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve. “This special property harbors rare, mature forest and protects an intact riparian ecosystem supporting native brook trout, moose, salamanders, and other species threatened by Vermont’s rapidly-changing climate. ‘Forever-wild’ means that these lands will be left as they are. The public is welcome but the forest will be allowed to grow old and wild, without timber harvest, mineral extraction, or other commercial uses.”

In addition, the project safeguards the vulnerable Appalachian Trail corridor, managed by the National Park Service, from development. The steep, forested tract is surrounded by 60,000 acres of managed forestland in federal, state and private ownership known as the Chateauguay No Town Conservation Area, located east of the Green Mountain National Forest in the towns of Barnard, Bridgewater, Stockbridge and Killington.

“Vermont has a long history of supporting responsible forestry, but we have relatively few places where we can compare actively managed forests with ones that are managed with a hands-off approach,” adds Lydia Menendez Parker, Assistant Director of Vermont River Conservancy. “This is an exceptional opportunity to protect a reference landscape – a forest of future old-growth and nearly two miles of free-flowing stream in the midst of several thousand acres of actively-managed forests.” The forest also serves as an insurance policy for towns downstream along the Ottauquechee River by improving flood resiliency and reducing the threat of storm runoff.

With the VHCB grant, Northeast Wilderness Trust has raised $209,000 of $760,000 required to permanently conserve the property, owned by Paedra Bramhall of Bridgewater Corners, Vermont.

Mature forest in the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve

“VHCB appreciates the opportunity to permanently protect Bridgewater Hollow, conserving a special piece of forest land,” said Vermont Housing & Conservation Board member David Marvin, a forester and President of the Vermont Maple Sugar Company. “This property will create a valuable and uncommon learning laboratory for scientists, naturalists, educators, and the public to compare natural processes over time to the managed forestland surrounding it.”

In a letter of support for the project, Peter Gregory, Executive Director of the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, said, “The Bramhall Preserve has been identified as a key conservation priority for the region since the Chateauguay No Town Conservation Project’s inception. ­The opportunity to connect this currently private land with public lands meets an important goal of many. We are especially pleased that the Wilderness Trust is poised to become the newest conservation partner in the region.”

Founded in 2002, Northeast Wilderness Trust conserves forever-wild landscapes for nature and people, to date protecting more than 27,000 acres across New England and the Adirondacks.

Donate today to support the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve.


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