The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) has acquired conservation easements on two properties in Hartford, including one that protects an ecological gem located along Safford Road in Quechee. The “Quechee Fen” is an exemplary wetland community type identified by state officials during a survey for the Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. A fen is a type of wetland that has alkaline water chemistry and supports certain plant species.
The conservation of the 10-acre Quechee fen parcel has been a priority for the Town of Hartford because of the rare natural community there. Now that the land is conserved, UVLT and the Hartford Conservation Commission look forward to teaching the community about the ecology of the area. “This is very exciting,” says Jon Bouton of the Conservation Commission, “Fens are amazing and easily damaged by changes in water flow and other changes that might be caused by development. I’m proud that the communities in my home town of Hartford support our conservation commission. We are deeply grateful to the UVLT and the owners of this parcel for their contributions. They recognized that this is a rare, irreplaceable community of organisms, and, together, they removed the threat of construction that could have damaged this fen. Our future looks brighter today because of this easement.”
In addition to the Quechee Fen, Quechee Lakes Resorts Limited Partnership (QLR) has conveyed a second conservation easement that protects 18 acres of upland forest adjacent to other lands conserved in 2012 by Virginia and Ted Taylor and dedicated green space of QLR, adding to a growing corridor of open land which now totals nearly 900 acres. Neighboring landowners have also been instrumental in guiding this conservation effort through to completion. “This was a complex and dynamic transaction, “says UVLT VP of Conservation, Peg Merrens, “Everyone was genuinely interested in the significance of the fen and these projects certainly would not have happened without the efforts and engagement of all.” She notes “These are the first conservation easements conveyed to UVLT by QLR, a major land owner in Hartford and we are pleased to see these important undeveloped lands protected in perpetuity.”