PUTNEY -- The Putney Mountain Association has been awarded a $195,000 grant to help the organization make an important land purchase.
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board gave the group the funding to help buy a 144-acre parcel on Holland Hill Road in Putney.
Putney Mountain Association board member Pat Shields said the VHCB money gives the group about half of the funding it needs to complete the deal and the organization will start a major fund raising campaign early next year to raise the rest of the money.
"This is very good news," Shields said. "If we did not receive this grant there was no way we would have been able to complete this deal."
The Putney Mountain Association is a volunteer group that has been working to preserve land on Windmill Ridge and develop trails in the area. It is working with the Pinnacle Association, and other conservation groups, to create an extended trail system across Windmill Ridge.
Shields said the 144-acre parcel is important for the group because it abuts the group's Dine property on one side and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on another side.
"This would give us a huge block of land on Holland Hill," Shields said. "It's like getting twice of what we are paying for because it connects two other pieces."
She said if the Putney Mountain Association is able to raise the other money the group will be able to develop new trails that connect Holland Hill with Putney Mountain and The Pinnacle lands.
The group needs to raise about $407,000 in total to establish an easement on the land, cover closing costs and set up an endowment to pay taxes on the land.
She said they hope to complete the land deal in the summer of 2014.
"We have wanted this piece of land for a long time and the family that owns it is ready to sell" Shields said. "They would like to see it conserved, and we are hoping to do that."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.