CHITTENDEN, VT (April 4, 2023)— With support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), nearly 2,800 acres in Vermont have been transferred to the U.S. Forest Service as an addition to the Green Mountain National Forest. The “Rolston Rest” property was the largest unprotected inholding remaining in the National Forest. The permanent protection of the property, led by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), will shield the land from the threat of development, connect wildlife habitat, and expand public access to the outdoors.
Located in Vermont’s Green Mountains just outside the city of Rutland, the Rolston Rest property connects to more than 140,000 acres of protected land. The property is also within the viewshed of the iconic Appalachian National Scenic Trail and has long been a popular destination for hikers, hunters, and skiers.
Protection of the property was funded in part through the OSI’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF), which is made possible thanks to major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Fund supports the protection of climate resilient lands for wildlife and communities.
“The protection of this property is an exciting achievement for long-term efforts to create connected forests for wildlife habitat and expanded public access to the outdoors,” said Joel Houser, OSI Field Coordinator. “We thank the Trust for Public Land for its outstanding efforts to protect this land, forever.”
“Rolston Rest is poised to become an integral part of Vermont’s outdoors – an iconic trail crossroads with awe inspiring views and thousands of acres of previously off-limits Green Mountain backcountry. Its permanent protection will not only improve climate resiliency by keeping mountainous forestland intact, but it is also a critical puzzle piece in the envisioned state-wide Velomont Trail and Huts system,” said Shelby Semmes, Vice President of the New England Region for Trust for Public Land. “We’re thrilled to be part of giving Vermonters and visitors alike expanded access to the Green Mountain National Forest to explore, recreate, and rejuvenate.”
The Green Mountain National Forest will assume management responsibility for the property once the land is transferred from TPL. “We are pleased to have such an important land acquisition being added to the Green Mountain National Forest,” stated John Sinclair, Forest Supervisor of the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. “Completing a large acquisition such as this will not only add to the continuity of management but enhance the restoration and reliance of the landscape through the continued conservation of public lands.”
Three trails converge on the Rolston Rest property, including three miles of the Long Trail, two miles of the Catamount Trail, and a proposed section of the new, multi-use Velomont Trail that will one day connect mountain bike networks and local communities along the entire length of Vermont.
The property includes forested habitat, including important aquatic resources, that support bobcat, moose, otter, and the threatened northern long-eared bat.
The Open Space Institute is proud to partner with TPL and play an important role in funding the protection of properties like Rolston Rest from development. OSI’s ALPF Northern Appalachian program is made possible thanks to major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jane’s Trust, and several New England-focused family foundations.