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Press: 86 Acres Vital to Regional Wildlife Corridor Protected

Posted Thursday, February 15, 2024
HikingHuntingSnowshoeingWildlife ViewingRecreation and Public AccessWildlife and BiodiversityPressShutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor

Front row, from left, Stowe Land Trust staffer Carolyn Loeb, AmeriCorps Member Nicole Corriveau and Metzi Anderson of Stowe Land Trust with Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor Partnership members Bob Heiser of the Vermont Land Trust and Steve Hagenbuch of the Waterbury Land Initiative, standing from left, on a visit to the new conserved property. Photo by Tom Rogers.

Published by the Stowe Reporter, February 15, 2024. Original link with photos here.

The Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor is now a bit more secure for animals on the move.

On Jan. 24, Stowe Land Trust purchased 86 acres in the heart of the corridor with assistance from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, Canadian Friends of Stowe Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust and support from community members.

Collectively, these groups contributed $709,000 to permanently protect this parcel of forest land from development after it had been on the market for more than a year. The sellers, Brad and Charlotte Gardner, also generously provided a $25,000 discount on the sale, which helped bring the purchase within reach.

This protected piece of the regionally important wildlife corridor plays a pivotal role in maintaining connections for wildlife between the Worcester Range and the northern Green Mountains, especially in the face of climate change.

According to the land trust’s stewardship director, Carolyn Loeb, the plan is for these 83 acres to be owned and cared for by Stowe Land Trust who will ensure the land is well-managed with sustainable forestry, wildlife and climate resilience in mind.

“Because of the focus on wildlife habitat protection, no trail development is planned, but the land will be accessible to the public for dispersed recreation, including hunting,” Loeb said.

Local and regional conservation organizations have been collaborating to protect the corridor for more than a decade. The Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor Partnership includes the Waterbury Conservation Commission, Waterbury Lands Initiative, Stowe Conservation Commission, Stowe Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Vermont Agency of Transportation, two regional planning commissions, and many community volunteers.

“The protection of these 83 acres is a testament to our dedication to environmental stewardship and the long-term health of our natural surroundings,” Amy Stewart, board chair of Stowe Land Trust, said.

Located off Megan’s Way in Stowe close to Route 100 within the most critical crossing, the protected forest boasts an area of bear-scarred beach, deer wintering yard, several rock ledges and small wetlands, as well as a section of active sugarbush.