Fayston’s Boyce Hill Farm is currently town-owned and a recreational resource for the community. But what about in years past? How was the land used when it was the Boyce Farm? What did the earliest structures look like? What crops were raised? How did indigenous people use that land?
Local folks want to know the answers to those questions. To that end the Mad River Valley Certified Local Government/Rural Resource Commission is seeking a qualified consultant to conduct historical research and documentation of Boyce Hill in North Fayston. The research will be primarily focused on buildings, structures, and agricultural infrastructure on the property; indigenous peoples research/survey; agricultural land use history/record search; and history of family inhabitants. The deadline for submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP) is October 1, 2022, by 5 p.m. A complete list of specifications for the RFP and proposed project timeline is available on the Mad River Valley Planning District’s (MRVPD) homepage at www.mrvpd.org.
“The Boyce Hill Education Project is an initiative of the Mad River Valley Rural Resource Commission/Certified Local Government (MRVPD serves as the umbrella for this group),” MRVPD community planner Amy Tomasso said in an email. “Through this designation, we are able to apply for grants through VT Department of Historic Preservation. . . The Boyce Hill project came about because one of our commissioners, Brad Long, is a master naturalist and history buff who is passionate about this site. He explained that Boyce Hill was a very prominent hill farm in The Valley. Given that Boyce Hill is a newer town forest with an independent steering committee currently developing a management plan, the CLG project complements this work and will provide additional historical information to visitors about this significant site in MRV history. We are also working with the steering Ccmmittee as part of the grant,” Tomasso said.
In the MRVPD’s CLG grant application, MRVPD executive director Joshua Schwartz wrote, “The Boyce Hill Town Forest (BHTF) in North Fayston is a historically significant, 93-acre parcel set on a high knoll with sweeping views of the Green Mountains to the west, the Northfield Range to the east, and the rolling hills of Fayston. This town of Fayston property, which was conserved through Vermont Land Trust in 2020 and is managed by the BHTF steering committee, boasts rich cultural, agricultural, and natural history, including extensive stone fences, a cellar hole, a viable apple orchard, and a stone corral. The project proposed as part of this CLG application is a vital part of understanding and promoting this historic hill farm to the local Mad River Valley community through conducting a thorough site history with documentation, and publicly sharing this history. The purpose of this project is to inform the general public about the vast historic resources at the BHTF and the preservation work underway by the BHTF steering committee.
“The proposed project complements and enhances the existing work of the BHTF steering committee to identify natural resource history, research deeds and agricultural census data, and conduct oral histories. BHTF was a significant hill farm in The Valley; this project will consolidate the complex history of the property and its inhabitants in one accessible format, which is an invaluable educational resource for the community. The research and copy produced through this CLG project will be printed on a future informational kiosk on site, ensuring that all visitors understand the legacy of the land on which we are lucky enough to recreate.”