GUILFORD — In the spirit of giving this holiday season, a few southern Vermont landowners protected a total of 306 acres in Windham County by donating conservation easements on their properties, the Vermont Land Trust announced Dec. 30.
In the past four decades, more than 135,500 acres have been protected with the Vermont Land Trust by generous landowners who donated conservation restrictions on their properties.
The owners of the recently conserved land manage their properties for various purposes including timber, recreation, wildlife habitat, stream and wetlands protection, and scenic appeal. All are enrolled in Vermont's Current Use Program, which helps keep property taxes stable in exchange for responsible forest management.
Just south of the Green River village in Guilford, Michael and Heide Baram conserved 64 acres that they have carefully tended for close to 50 years. Their land has frontage on the Green River and steep terrain leading to the summit of Owl's Head Mountain. It also neighbors 300 acres previously conserved by the Vermont Land Trust.
In Marlboro, Lisa and Bob Unsworth conserved 123 acres of woodlands and fields along Lower Dover Road and Larrabee Road. Worden Brook runs through their property, which is adjacent to other conserved lands.
Former Vermont Senator Peter Galbraith conserved 119 forested acres in his hometown of Townshend. His land is adjacent to a large forest in the Townshend Dam area and provides habitat for diverse wildlife with its varied terrain and forested wetlands.
The three properties were protected by a legal tool called a conservation easement, which limits development on the land. The landowners continue to own, manage and pay taxes on the land and can sell their land; however, the conservation easement permanently remains on the property.
Land conservation helps families achieve their personal dream of protecting their land, while also making a lasting gift to their community.
"The generosity of all three landowners ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy this land," said Joan Weir of the Vermont Land Trust. "So much of the land we protect is through the donation of conservation easements by landowners who have a deep family connection with their property."
The Vermont Land Trust is a statewide, member-supported, nonprofit land conservation organization. Since 1977, the Vermont Land Trust has permanently conserved more than 1,900 parcels of land covering more than 550,000 acres, or nearly nine percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. The conserved land includes more than 900 working farms and farmland parcels, hundreds of thousands of acres of productive forestland, and numerous parcels of community lands. This conservation work changes the lives of families, invigorates farms, launches new businesses, maintains scenic vistas, encourages recreational opportunity, and fosters a renewed sense of community. For more information or to become a member, contact Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Avenue, Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-223-5234.