News

OSI Supports Protection of Climate-Resilient ‘Windmill Ridge’ Lands in Vermont for Recreation and Wildlife

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

BROOKLINE, VT (March 22, 2018) – With support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), the Putney Mountain Association has conserved two properties along the scenic Windmill Ridge in rural southeastern Vermont for public recreation. The property will be accessible for public recreation and will also provide key habitat for sensitive plants and animals, even as climate patterns continue to change.

Approximately 20 miles north of Brattleboro, VT, the conservation project totals 161 acres and builds on nearby acreage that OSI previously helped conservation partners protect. The newly-conserved lands are steep and entirely forested, and include a vernal pool — an ephemeral springtime pool — that is used by wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and other amphibians to reproduce.

The West Cliff Trail, well-used by hikers, traverses this property and provides access to the entire 38-mile trail system along the Windmill Ridge.

Enjoying a hike on newly conserved land, from left: Nancy Everhart, of Vermont Housing & Conservation Board; Dan Healey, Geordie Heller, and Pat Shields from Putney Mountain Association, and Allaire Diamond from Vermont Land Trust.
Enjoying a hike on newly conserved land, from left: Nancy Everhart, of Vermont Housing & Conservation Board; Dan Healey, Geordie Heller, and Pat Shields from Putney Mountain Association, and Allaire Diamond from Vermont Land Trust.
Photo Credit: Vermont Land Trust

“The protection of this property adds a critical component to a decades-long effort to conserve this climate resilient corridor that is used by hikers and wildlife alike,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president of OSI. “We congratulate Putney Mountain Association and Vermont Land Trust for their collaborative efforts to conserve this beautiful place.”

Along the same ridgeline, OSI previously supported the conservation of the 144-acre Salmon Brook property in 2014, and the 506-acre Black Mountain property in 2015.

OSI selected the project for a grant from its Resilient Landscape Initiative, which is made possible with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, because of the land’s diverse topography, connection to other undeveloped land, and important geologies – all indications of a climate-resilient place. The Resilient Landscape Initiative builds the capacity of conservation organizations to respond to a changing climate using land protection and sound science.

To conserve the land, the Putney Mountain Association acquired the property, then conveyed a conservation easement to Vermont Land Trust and to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. Looking ahead, Putney Mountain Association will remain owner of the land, while Vermont Land Trust will monitor the easement.

In addition to OSI, generous partners the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Davis Conservation Fund, and William Wharton Trust made this project possible.

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