Main content

Stowe Land Trust Raises $6 million to Purchase Unique 750-acre Property

Posted Tuesday, July 2, 2019
PressBrownsville - Story Ridge Forest

An aerial view of the 750-acre property in Stowe that will be conserved. Photo by Steven Mermelstein.

Stowe Land Trust will close at the end of the month on a 750-acre property that was originally on the market for nearly $10 million, but which the owners agreed to sell to the trust for $5.5 million.

The land, known as the Brownsville Forest, is laced with trees, meadows and beaver ponds. It butts up against more than 13,000 acres of the C.C. Putnam State Forest and the Worcester Mountains, creating a fortress of near wilderness with abundant wildlife, including bears.

The land trust exceeded its fundraising goal of $5.75 million, raising $6 million for the property, including a $5 million anonymous donation through the Vermont Community Foundation.

The contributions also featured a $175,000 grant award from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and a $75,000 challenge grant awarded to the land trust by a group of supporters, once the number of donations reached 750 last week. More than 150 Stowe Elementary School students who collected "coins for conservation" during the last two weeks of the school year were counted among those donors.

Kristen Sharpless, the land trust's executive director, said the response to the fundraising effort far exceeded her expectations. Now that fundraising is complete, Sharpless said the trust is focused on getting ready for the closing on July 30, and having a management plan in place.

"We want to be ready for this land to become public, and people to be wanting to get out there and experience it," Sharpless said.

The 750-acre property will be open to non-motorized recreation, including primitive camping, hunting, wildlife watching and "rambling," according to Sharpless. 

The land trust had set a fundraising goal of $5.75 million in order to cover the expenses of the sale and pay for stewardship going forward. Having raised an additional $250,000 above that goal, the land trust is in an even better financial position for the long-term care of the property, as well as other protected property.

The Stowe Land Trust will have a total of 4,250 acres under conservation once the 750-acre Brownsville Forest is added to its portfolio.

Source: The Burlington Free Press