Brownsville-Story Ridge Forest Conserved!

On July 30, 2019, representatives from Stowe Land Trust and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) gathered in Stowe to protect the 750-acre Brownsville-Story Ridge Forest with a permanent conservation easement and transfer ownership of the land to the State of Vermont as an addition to the surrounding C.C. Putnam State Forest.  

The land is now open to the public for dispersed recreation. A limited trail network is currently open to pedestrian use, and all trails on the property are closed to bikes until trail improvements can be made to meet industry standards for mountain bike trails. Click here to see a map of open pedestrian trails.

Permitted uses of the property include:

  • hiking
  • hunting, trapping, fishing
  • skiing
  • snowshoeing
  • wildlife observation

Mountain biking, horseback riding, and motorized recreational activities are restricted to town roads.

With support from local partners, including Stowe Trails Partnership and Stowe Land Trust, the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation will continue assessing and working on the trail network with the goal of opening additional trails and allowing more uses as improvements are completed. 

To celebrate this historic conservation project, Stowe Land Trust and its project partners will host a public ribbon cutting celebration at Brownsville-Story Ridge Forest on August 21st at 9 am. The ribbon cutting will be followed by an opportunity to take a guided walk on the land. We hope to see you there! 

Directions to the land: From Stowe Village take Route 100 north to Brush Hill Road. Turn right and follow Brush Hill Road up to the top of the hill where it takes a sharp right turn at the Morrill Farm and becomes Brownsville Road. The closest portion of the property will be an open field on the right in half a mile. Brownsville Road then continues through Brownsville-Story Ridge Forest and connects on the other side of the property with Moss Glen Falls Road.

Parking: Parking is along the road or in small pull-offs on the side of the road. Please pull out of the way of driveways and traffic, and be respectful of neighbors and adjacent private land. 

Fundraising goals met and exceeded early!

June 26, 2019

Thanks to the outpouring of support from the Stowe area community, we have met and exceeded our goal to raise $5.75 million for protecting Brownsville Forest now and helping to care for this new state forest and other SLT-conserved land well into the future! We have also met our challenge to secure 750 donations to the Brownsville Forest campaign before July 2019, which means a group of land trust supporters will contribute another $75,000 to the effort.

Funds raised through the Brownsville Forest campaign will cover:

  • The $5.5 million acquisition cost of the 750-acre Brownsville Forest;
  • Associated project costs for protecting the land and making it a new state forest and;
  • A significant contribution to SLT’s stewardship endowment for the long-term care of Brownsville Forest and other SLT-conserved lands.

Thank you to everyone who has donated for your generous support and for getting us close to the finish line for this big project! The closing is scheduled for July 30, and we look forward to continuing to keep you updated on our progress.

A Forest for the Future

Although Brownsville  Forest was an active hill farm community through the 1940s, today, it feels wild and remote. Before the property was posted several years ago, neighbors and community members long appreciated using the land for hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross country skiing, walking and more.

Big. Beautiful. Beloved. Owned by the Story family for decades, Brownsville Forest is our last chance to protect vast room to wander on the wild side of Stowe.

Brownsville Forest is part of the Worcester Range: one of Vermont’s most wild and least protected mountain ranges. The State of Vermont has designated the Worcesters as a Highest Priority Area within the state and the region for maintaining biodiversity and an ecologically resilient landscape in the face of climate change. Protecting Brownsville Forest is a local conservation effort that will have a global impact.

The Threat

Owned by Genevieve Story and her family since 1950, this one-of-a-kind property was listed for sale in August 2018 for $9.95 million. It was at risk for development and being permanently closed to the public.

The Opportunity

Stowe Land Trust had  window of opportunity to purchase Brownsville Forest from the Story family who wanted to see the land to stay as is for the next generation to enjoy. In July 2019, we successfully bought the land and transferred it to the State of Vermont as an addition to the C.C. Putnam State Forest subject to a conservation easement held by Stowe Land Trust and an interim management plan.

This historic conservation effort has protected:

  • The largest remaining undeveloped and unprotected property in Stowe
  • The wild and remote character of the Worcester Range
  • 750 acres of critical forest, wetland, and open habitat for moose, deer, songbirds & more
  • The water quality of Moss Glen Brook
  • A special part of Stowe's hill farm history
  • Scenic views from many vantage points
  • Public access to the land for non-motorized recreation, and continued enjoyment of Class IV roads