Stories

Merton Pike is a retired farmer and a Stowe Land Trust founding & Emeritus Director. When Merton’s parents moved to Stowe in 1921, there were about 200 farmers in town. By the 1980s, things had changed. Farmland was being developed at a rapid rate and many residents were getting worried about the loss of open space. John McVickar – a local lawyer – had been inspired by attending several Land Trust Alliance national meetings and started gathering concerned citizens together to discuss what could be done. More...

This spring in celebration of SLT’s 30th anniversary, we sat down with founding member and Emeritus Director, John Merrill, to ask about how the land trust got started. John began coming to Stowe to ski when he was a college student in the 1960s. After finishing business school and working in finance, and then real estate development, he moved to the area, eventually managing the Turtle Fur® Company started by his wife Millie. John was serving on Stowe’s Board of Adjustment (the predecessor to the Development Review Board) when the community first began thinking about starting a land trust. More...

Meg Kauffman and her husband decided to relocate to Stowe from the Boston area in 2003 because they had grown weary of long commutes and interminable lines of traffic. They wanted a simpler, more relaxed lifestyle in a quintessential New England town, without limiting their children’s' academic and recreational opportunities. Once they moved into their home in Stowe Village, Meg quickly discovered the wooded trails and scenic vistas of Sunset Rock at the end of her street. Walking her dog there became a regular routine that she couldn’t imagine living without. After Meg joined the Stowe Land Trust board in 2013, she realized that there were once very different plans for Sunset Rock and just how fortunate we all are that it was conserved. More...

After moving to Stowe with his wife Gibby in 1987, Charlie Berry wanted expand his work life outside the corporate world where he had spent much of his career. Toward this goal, he decided to buy and run a small property management company that came with a fleet of a dozen, well-worn Electrolux vacuum cleaners. Repairs and replacement parts for the old, heavy-duty machines were needed, so it didn’t take long for Charlie to seek out Gerry Kirchner, Stowe’s local Electrolux sales and repairman. Charlie's friendship with Gerry grew into a relationship with the Stowe Land Trust through which Charlie eventually helped to conserve Gerry's beloved sugarbush, Kirchner Woods. More...

Christine Kaiser was ready to retire. She had been running her family’s farm in Nebraska Valley for decades, first milking cows then switching to operating a goat dairy. She also sold eggs, pork and chicken to her neighbors and area restaurants. When she started nearing 70, Christine began looking for a farmer interested in buying her land and buildings. It wasn't easy to find someone. Ultimately, Stowe Land Trust, the Vermont Land Trust's Farmland Access Program, and the Stowe community all chipped in to make possible a unique deal that saved the farm and made it affordable for future farmers.  More...