Our goal: Establishing access to natural areas, parks and trails for all Upper Valley residents.
How important is open space to you? Our survey of Upper Valley residents found that people who live in apartments and own homes on small lots value land conservation even more than owners of farm and forestland do. So, once we’ve conserved land and stream, we strive to ensure that community members enjoy and benefit from them. Engaging with the outdoors can range from the active – hiking or mountain biking – to the very, very still, whether it’s sitting on a bench next to a river or watching in the woods for a deer.
Most of our conserved lands remain in private ownership and 40% of those provide some form of public access. We maintain seven primitive canoe campsites, two boat launches and numerous trails on conserved properties. Obviously, public access may not be appropriate in some places where farming is ongoing, where timber harvests are underway, or where sensitive plants and animals are located. Check our list of trails and conservation areas to learn about the lands we welcome you to visit. We are working towards making our trails more accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices, to make sure that all of the region’s residents can get outside and enjoy conserved land.
It is our priority to conserve key parcels near schools and village centers — properties within walking distance of the places people gather. Today’s children are spending less time outdoors than any prior generation. Spending time in nature has documented physical and mental health benefits. So we believe that outdoor classrooms should be for people of all ages. The conservation areas we own include rugged and remote properties that offer “wilderness,” as well as in-town parcels. Through our ownership of these lands we seek to provide stewardship experiences and lifelong learning, as well as the simple pleasure of being in nature.
CURRENT OUTDOOR CLASSROOM AND TRAIL PROJECTS*:
Warner Meadow Trail, Norwich. In support of a successful community effort to conserve land and extend trail connections near the village of Norwich, The Warner Meadows Associates, an association of homeowners, have agreed to place a trail easement on land they conserved in 1991. This trail will be linked to the Rosemary Rieser Trail on the recently conserved Sample’s Woods property. Completed Fiscal Year 2016!
Mount Ascutney, West Windsor. UVLT has joined with the Town of West Windsor, The Trust for Public Land, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to protect the western face of Mount Ascutney, adding 1,581 acres, including old ski slopes, to the Town’s Forest. UVLT will hold a conservation easement on the Town-owned land which will be managed as a community forest. This complex project will protect exemplary natural communities and also restore active recreational uses such as biking, hiking and back country skiing that are important to the local economy. Completed Fiscal Year 2016!
River Park, West Lebanon. A six-acre open space parcel that protects Connecticut River shoreline and provides access to the river within walking distance of “old” West Lebanon will be conserved in conjunction with the development of a major office park.
* UVLT manages dozens of conservation projects. Some solutions arise quickly, but others evolve over years, as landowners think through all of the decisions involved in conserving a parcel. During that period, we honor the confidentiality of landowner information and relationships. Thus, the projects reported above are those that have received public funding or are associated with a public planning process, and those where fundraising campaigns are underway.