Trust for Public Land and Park Forestry NY have protected over 600 acres which will be permanently conserved as additions to the Green Mountain National Forest.
Adjacent to Sugarbush Resort and under threat of sale and fragmentation, the Lincoln Peak properties – 516 acres in Warren and 103 acres in Lincoln – boast ample recreation opportunities, important headwater streams, and rare wildlife habitat, explained Trust for Public Lands senior project manager Kate Wanner.
Lincoln Peak will buffer nearly a half-mile of the Long Trail, a national recreation trail and the nation’s oldest long-distance hiking trail. It will also protect more than a mile of the Catamount Trail, a 300-mile ski trail that, like the Long Trail, runs the length of Vermont.
“Lincoln Peak has been a conservation priority for over three decades and I’m thrilled to be able to officially announce it is now protected,” said Wanner. “Within a day's drive of over 80 million people, this forestland offers increased opportunities to enjoy the Green Mountain National Forest and also includes old growth hemlock stands, rare plants and rare natural communities. I am particularly grateful to my hometown of Warren, who generously supported the project with $84,000 from the Warren Conservation Fund, and who consistently demonstrate their dedication to protection of our town’s natural heritage.”
In addition to recreational opportunities, the property lies within the largest north-south wildlife linkage in Vermont, allowing species to take refuge across elevations as climate change brings changing temperatures. Protecting these flagship trail corridors not only benefits the recreation experience but also complements Vermont’s ability to combat and adapt to climate change.
“We are extremely thankful for the energy and effort that our partners have put in to the Lincoln Peak acquisition project in the towns of Lincoln and Warren,” said Chris Mattrick, Rochester district ranger for the Green Mountain National Forest. “Their efforts will provide public benefits for generations to come including increased recreation access for Vermonters and visitors, the protection of clean water, and enhanced habitat connectivity for wildlife and plants.”
When the timber rights for these parcels went on the market, Trust for Public Land and Park Forestry NY secured these rights while working to obtain federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and separately purchase the fee rights from other owners.
Protection of the property will benefit anglers, hunters, and wildlife-viewers visiting the Mad River Valley who’ll be able to enjoy the popular Lincoln Brook, Wanner said. Acquisition of the headwaters and recent removal of barriers along the brook also improve water quality and decrease sedimentation in this important native brook trout fishery, she added.
The appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund was secured with support from Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Peter Welch.
“The acquisition of the Lincoln Peak acreage will benefit Vermonters and visitors by conserving land along key recreation trails, providing access for hunting and fishing, and protecting land occupied by vulnerable species including the Northern long-eared bat and Bicknell’s thrush," said Senator Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Vermonters value our outdoor spaces, and many of us will use this land to hike, fish, hunt and ski, as will visitors to our state. Lincoln Peak is a welcome and valuable addition to the Green Mountain National Forest. I thank the Trust for Public Land for their leadership on this important conservation achievement.”
In addition to funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the project was supported by the Warren Conservation Fund, the Fieldstone Foundation, Lawson’s Finest Sunshine Fund, the Oakland Foundation and many private donors.