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Press: Stowe Land Trust Closes on Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor Property

Posted Friday, January 26, 2024
Wildlife and BiodiversityWorking ForestsNewsPressShutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor
An aerial view showing the fall foliage of the protected property alongside Route 100.

Photo by The Gardner Group at RE/MAX North Professionals

A locator map showing the protected property in the Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor.

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

On January 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, the Canadian Friends of Stowe Land Trust, the Vermont Land Trust, and local support from community members. 

Collectively, these groups contributed $709,000 to permanently protect this key 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 for the land trust. 

This protected piece of the regionally important wildlife corridor plays a pivotal role in maintaining connections vital 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 86 acres to be owned and cared for by Stowe Land Trust who will ensure the land is well-managed with wildlife, sustainable forestry, 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,” said Loeb. “We are thrilled that this special place will remain open for wildlife and people alike for years to come.” 

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, the 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. These groups and individuals are working together to use several key strategies for keeping high quality, connected forest permanently protected. 

"This is a momentous occasion for wildlife and our community. The protection of these 86 acres is a testament to our dedication to environmental stewardship and the long-term health of our natural surroundings," said, Amy Stewart, board chair of Stowe Land Trust. 

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.  

The property joins five other community natural areas owned and managed by Stowe Land Trust, including Wiessner Woods, Kirchner Woods, and the Mill Trail. For more information on the land trust, the wildlife corridor, and properties you can explore, visit