Conserving Land for Wildlife & Public Good
Chris Curtis and Tari Swenson have lived on North Hill in the heart of the Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor since 1974 where their children grew up loving the woods, animals and serenity of the land. During the summer of 2019, Chris and Tari sold a conservation easement below appraised value to the Vermont Land Trust on 63 acres of their property, ensuring the land will remain undeveloped. This conservation project was an effort of the Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor Partnership, of which Stowe Land Trust has been a part since 2010. Here's what Chris had to say about what protecting his family's land means to him:
"I grew up in Stowe, and as kids we used to wander the hinterlands, through fields and woods rarely needing to think about crossing too close by someone’s house or maybe disturbing their barking dog. Only 60 years on, that is no longer possible. Roads and buildings have cropped up, shrinking the area that a couple of marauding kids could adventure through and feel free in. So I can relate to the animals of the State. They struggle with shrinking space and travel corridors every day.
We live in the Shutesville Corridor, and know our land is an important block of forest for animals. We also know that it is just one small chunk of forestland, and by itself is not useful for wildlife travel. We know that only by being part of a group of likeminded landowners can a patchwork of animal friendly forest land be assembled. We’re grateful that organizations like the Stowe Land Trust and The Vermont Land Trust are working hard for this objective and we’re glad to be a part of it.
In a secondary way, conserving this land is also an affirmative action for public good. In today’s governance, political and physical spheres, it is easy to feel discouraged and insignificant with respect to public policy and policy making. Conserving this land is a private act with a public policy effect. It is one action we can take that directly provides immediate and perpetual benefits to people and animals. It feels like a tangible, positive step." - Chris Curtis
The “Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor” crosses Route 100 on the Waterbury-Stowe town line and is the only viable connection between the Green Mountains and Worcester Range. It is one of the five most important wildlife crossings in the state and a critical part of an international network of connected forest habitats in the northeast. Stowe Land Trust has been part of an effort together with other local, statewide, and regional partners to study and protect the corridor since 2010.