FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2022
Conservation Partners Secure Further Protection of the Long Trail and Surrounding Corridor
13 acres and 100 feet of Long Trail permanently protected
WATERBURY, VT – The Green Mountain Club (GMC), Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) successfully conserved the Judevine Headwaters property in Johnson, Vermont. The 13-acre property is now owned and managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation as part of Long Trail State Forest. As an addition to Long Trail State Forest, the acquisition permanently protects a 100-foot stretch of the Long Trail, provides the opportunity to develop an off-road trailhead parking area, and enhances public access to the State Forest. This conservation project is the latest accomplishment of the Long Trail Protection Campaign, a collaborative partnership to permanently protect all 272 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont. This is the second property in the Johnson area recently protected by the partnership. In 2020, the partners conserved 160.7 acres in Johnson and Waterville, just north of the Judevine Headwaters property, as an addition to Long Trail State Forest.
“Since 1986, the Green Mountain Club has been working with partners and landowners to form a permanent route for the 272-mile Long Trail. With just over 6 miles of trail left unprotected, every parcel is a critical piece of the puzzle to secure a permanent, legally protected corridor for the Long Trail,” said Mike DeBonis, GMC Executive Director.
The Long Trail is a long-distance hiking trail along the spine of the Green Mountains and runs the length of Vermont, from Massachusetts to Canada. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail and, along with its side trails, provides for 500 miles of hiking trails in Vermont. The Long Trail draws thousands of locals and visitors each year and provides economic and wellness benefits for local communities. Permanent protection of the Long Trail will ensure that hikers and local communities continue to have access to and benefit from this incredible recreation asset.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, Americans are seeing how essential it is to be able to access public lands and have the opportunity to hit the trail for both physical and mental health,” said Shelby Semmes, VP, New England Region, at Trust for Public Land. “TPL is honored to have helped protect this vital trail access point, while being able to add lands to Vermont’s iconic Long Trail State Forest.”
The Long Trail and its surrounding natural landscape also provide connected and healthy habitats for native fish, plants, and wildlife. The forestlands and connectivity corridors near the Trail are of mounting national importance in an era of climate change. Specifically, the property sits within the regionally significant Northern Green Mountain wildlife linkage, which connects the Berkshires and southern Green Mountains to the Northern Appalachians of southern Quebec. The property also contains significant riparian areas that flow into the Lamoille River Basin and Lake Champlain, the source of drinking water for thousands in Vermont, New York, and Quebec.
“Long Trail State Forest is unique in that it was created to protect one particular resource- the Long Trail. In addition to protecting the Long Trail though, projects like these protect so many ancillary resources, like water quality, forest health and outdoor recreation,” said FPR Commissioner, Michael Snyder. “FPR is proud to work with TPL and GMC to continue to add lands to Long Trail State Forest, protecting the Long Trail and the many values that come with it.”
Funding for this project was secured through a capital appropriation from the Vermont General Assembly in Fiscal Year 2022, the federal Forest Legacy Program, and federal and private funds raised by the Trust for Public Land and the Green Mountain Club, respectively. In addition to covering the acquisition of the property, funding will be used to construct a new trailhead parking lot on Plot Road, which will facilitate safer access to the Long Trail, and for future stewardship of the property.
About Green Mountain Club
Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private non-profit organization with over 9,800 members. GMC is dedicated to maintaining and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail, Appalachian Trail in Vermont, and the Kingdom Heritage Lands trails in the Northeast Kingdom. Every year more than 1,000 volunteers work so that current and future generations will enjoy the 500-mile Long Trail System. Contact the Green Mountain Club to learn more about the GMC or to become a member.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.
About the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forests, the operation and maintenance of the Vermont State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors.