Worcester Woods Conservation Initiative
The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) as of October 2014 purchased approximately 5,600 acres of forestland known as Worcester Woods. This land purchase from the Deer Lake Timber Company is in an effort to achieve the overall goal of conserving more than 19,000 acres of land within the north-central areas of Vermont. Worcester Woods has an ideal combination of favorable management history and numerous contiguous tracts of undeveloped land. Wildlife habitat protection through the Staying Connected Initiative, is a major objective with the conservation of forestland. This area provides a critical connector for east-west movement of wildlife.
Elmore, Hardwick, Woodbury, Worcester
Forest Land, Land Protection, water, wetland, wildlife
This effort is in its early stages. To date the towns of Hardwick, Elmore, Worcester and Woodbury have all provided enthusiastic letters of support, a number of landowners have offered to consider donating conservation easements to advance the conservation effort in the region and VLT has purchased the 5,600 acre parcel from Deer Lake Timber Company. A funding application was submitted to the federal Forest Legacy program, but failed to rank high enough to receive funding.
Deer Lake Timber Company
High Meadows Fund
The Nature Conservancy
Vermont Community Foundation
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
Vermont Land Trust
Vermont Rivers Conservancy
Yankee Farm Credit
The Deer Lake Timber Company owner's commitment to sound stewardship and conservation made this entire effort possible. Beyond that, the willingness of Vermont Land Trust to borrow the fund used to purchase the property in order to anchor the broader conservation effort was a critical step. This could not have come about without the support of The Nature Conservancy and Yankee Farm Credit's willingness to lend the required funds. Town and individual support, encouragement from the VT Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation, committed landowners and the interest of Vermont Rivers Conservancy in developing a public recreation area along Route 12 added additional incentive to take the risk.
Challenges in regard to the purchasing process of Worcester Woods include a large financial risk for VLT associated with repayment uncertainty.
The Staying Connected Initiative
Vermont Land Trust