Campaign Update | Featured News | Press Release | Vermont

One Step Closer to Saving Bridgewater Hollow

We are so grateful to have received a $35,000 grant from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy towards the protection of the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve. This property would be the first wilderness preserve in the Chateauguay No-Town area, which includes Bridgewater, Barnard, Killington, and Stockbridge.

We have been working with landowner Paedra Bramhall since 2017 to raise the funds to secure this pristine forest and its streams as a protected wildland. The Wild East Action Fund of the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy awards grants to protect the wild, scenic, and cultural wonders of the Appalachian Trail and its surrounding landscape. The Appalachian Trail passes just north of the future Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Wilderness Preserve.

Even in winter, a forest never rests. This pristine land keeps waters that feed into the Ottauquechee River clean year-round.

Clear, clean tributaries of the Ottauquechee River provide habitat for brook trout, and bear, bobcat, and moose roam the forest. Each spring, songbirds build their nests in the trees and vernal pools fill with water, providing breeding grounds for amphibians.

With this grant, we have raised 40% of the funds necessary to purchase and conserve the land as wilderness. Once we meet our final fundraising goal, NWT will own the land while the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the Vermont River Conservancy will hold a forever-wild conservation easement on it. Plans for the future preserve include a short footpath, swimming hole access, hunting, and fishing. 

This year Woodstock High School teachers Kat Robbins and Matt McCormick are launching a brand new Wilderness Studies class, and are including this conservation effort in the curriculum. “Our relationship with nature is undeniably changing in current times, with more development than ever and the climate crisis well underway,” said Sophie Leggett, a Woodstock High School student who is the Teaching Assistant for the class. “It is vital that students take time in school to develop their personal relationship with nature, wilderness, and society.”

Flora, fauna, and fungi thrive in Bridgewater Hollow. The land has been largely unscathed by logging as landowner Paedra Bramhall has allowed the land to follow nature’s lead.

The new class visited Bridgewater Hollow this October to get a firsthand glimpse at a northern hardwood forest that is healthy and wild. The class then spoke with Tom Butler, a former Wilderness Trust board member, to discuss wilderness in today’s world.

“We are lucky to be working with the Northeast Wilderness Trust to have a deep and meaningful educational experience with local wilderness,” added Sophie. “Using the Bramhall Preserve as a lens for more global thinking, this class is a step in developing personal and cultural values surrounding wilderness.”

To help us protect this special place, please consider making a donation. Select the Bramhall Preserve project when you choose where you’d like your support to go. Thank you!

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