Key Cana­dian Bor­der Prop­erty Pro­tected Key­stone in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tor for wildlife also buf­fers Long Trail recre­ational ex­pe­ri­ence

Stanstead Journal - - LENNOXVILLE NEWS - Montpelier, VT

Acrit­i­calGreen Moun­tains wildlife link has been pro­tected on the Ver­mont bor­der with Canada, The Trust for Pub­lic Land and part­ners an­nounced to­day. Known as Jack­son Val­ley, the 935-acre land­scape near the Town of Jay is an eco­log­i­cal key­stone that will con­nect to more than 22,000 acres of pro­tected forest­land in the United States and Canada. The prop­erty also buf­fers more than a mile of the Long Trail, the na­tion’s old­est long-dis­tance hik­ing trail.

Af­ter two years of ne­go­ti­a­tion, The Trust for Pub­lic Land (TPL), a na­tional con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion, fa­cil­i­tated the pur­chase of a fed­eral For­est Legacy con­ser­va­tion ease­ment over Jack­son Val­ley by the Ver­mont Agency of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. The ease­ment will be held by the State of Ver­mont, pri­mar­ily to sup­port wildlife habi­tat, in ad­di­tion to al­low­ing sus­tain­able har­vest­ing and pub­lic pedes­trian recre­ational ac­cess.

“This is a crit­i­cal wildlife and re­cre­ation vic­tory for the United States and Canada, and for the Green Moun­tains and for the his­toric Long Trail,” said Rodger Kruss­man, TPL’s Ver­mont di­rec­tor. “Jack­son Val­ley is the key- stone to a con­nected, cross-bor­der Sut­ton Moun­tains to Green Moun­tains link­age, and was a top pri­or­ity for the Ver­mont For­est Legacy pro­gram.”

Fund­ing for the $585,000 pur­chase price came en­tirely from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment through the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s For­est Legacy Pro­gram, a con­ser­va­tion pro­gram au­thored by Se­na­tor Patrick Leahy, a se­nior mem­ber of the Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee. The fund­ing was se­cured through the lead­er­ship of Sen. Leahy, and sup­port from U.S. Se­na­tor Bernie San­ders and U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter Welch.

Se­na­tor Patrick Leahy said, “It is great to see the North­ern Green Moun­tains con­ser­va­tion project take an­other big step for­ward. This ac­qui­si­tion buf­fers the Long Trail and con­nects to con­served land in Canada. Jack­son Val­ley is a gem in its own right, and a lynch­pin to the larger. I am proud to have helped and con­grat­u­late ev­ery­one who has worked so hard to make it hap­pen.”

Se­na­tor San­ders said, “This ease­ment along the Cana­dian Bor­der will pre- serve a sig­nif­i­cant as­set for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Ver­mon­ters, for re­cre­ation, for wildlife and for sus­tain­able har­vest­ing. I ap­plaud the work of pub­lic and pri­vate en­ti­ties in work­ing to­gether so suc­cess­fully to pro­tect this land. Our for­est lands are part of Ver­mont’s her­itage; a her­itage we must main­tain to pro­tect the state’s unique char­ac­ter.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Welch said, “Ver­mon­ters take great pride in our ru­ral land­scape. To­day’s news will al­low Ver­mon­ters to en­joy all this land­scape has to of­fer for gen­er­a­tions to come. I ap­plaud all par­ties for their ef­forts.”

The cross-bound­ary wildlife cor­ri­dor sup­ports bear, moose, marten, and bob­cat among many other im­por­tant species. Coali­tions in­clud­ing Two Coun­tries, One For­est, which sup­ports con­ser­va­tion from the Green Moun­tains to the Sut­ton Moun­tains in Quebec; and Stay­ing Con­nected, which works in New Eng­land to re­store wildlife con­nec­tiv­ity, con­sider Jack­son Val­ley a vi­tal con­ser­va­tion pri­or­ity.

“The com­ple­tion of this con­ser­va­tion project is truly in­spir­ing; it gives con­crete ex­pres­sion to the com­mon vi­sion which unites both the USA and Canada over the pro­tec­tion of the Green Moun­tains,” said Mélanie Lelièvre, Ap­palachian Cor­ri­dor Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor. “When we look at the ac­tions of con­ser­va­tion groups be­yond po­lit­i­cal bor­ders, we see that in­di­vid­ual projects are part of broader ini­tia­tive which ben­e­fits both community and wildlife. Con­grat­u­la­tions to The Trust for Pub­lic Land and Ver­mont Agency of Nat­u­ral Re­sources for this suc­cess­ful out­come.”

“The North­ern Green Moun­tains is one of the key link­ages that have been found crit­i­cal to

main­tain land­scape scale con­nec­tiv­ity in the North­ern Ap­palachi­ans and the in­cred­i­ble con­ser­va­tion work go­ing on in this area sets the ground rules for what we would like to see un­fold else­where in this ecore­gion.” adds, Louise Grat­ton, Chair, 2C1For­est.

Nathalie Zinger, re­gional vice-pres­i­dent for the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy of Canada in Quebec, sees Jack­son Val­ley as more than a sig­nif­i­cant gain for con­ser­va­tion. “It is con­tigu­ous to large tracks of land pro­tected by the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy of Canada right across the bor­der and rep­re­sents the very essence of a shared con­ser­va­tion strat­egy be­tween or­ga­ni­za­tions in Ver­mont and Quebec.”

The Green Moun­tain Club cre­ated the ad­ja­cent Long Trail more than a cen­tury ago, and con­ser­va­tion of Jack­son Val­ley rep­re­sents a crit­i­cal vic­tory for sus­tain­ing the recre­ational ex­pe­ri­ence along the trail.

“Pro­tect­ing this par­cel in the re­mote back­woods of Ver­mont pro­vides a much­wel­come ad­di­tional buf­fer for the Long Trail near the Cana­dian bor­der,” said Will Wiquist, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Green Moun­tain Club. “This project helps pre­serve the view­shed and back­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence for hik­ers as they ap­proach the trail’s north­ern ter­mi­nus. Thanks go out to The Trust for Pub­lic Land for mak­ing this hap­pen.”

A gen­er­ous grant of $93,000 from the Open Space Con­ser­vancy, Inc., through their Trans­bor­der Land Pro­tec­tion Fund, helped cover as­so­ci­ated ac­qui­si­tion costs and a stew­ard­ship fund.

“OSI en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­ported the Jack­son Val­ley project be­cause of its strate­gic lo­ca­tion along the spine of con­served lands that span north­ern Ver­mont and South­ern Quebec. The pro­tec­tion of this trans­bor­der cor­ri­dor is crit­i­cal for the cit­i­zens of the US and Canada, as well as for the wildlife that de­pends on these lands,” Jen­nifer Melville, OSI grant and loan co­or­di­na­tor.

Michael Sny­der, Com­mis­sioner of Ver­mont’s Depart­ment of Forests, Parks and Re­cre­ation said, “One of the pri­mary goals of Ver­mont’s For­est Legacy pro­gram is to pro­tect work­ing forests to sus­tain their eco­nomic, eco­log­i­cal, and so­cial val­ues. The pro­tec­tion of Jack­son Val­ley achieves pro­gram goals, in­clud­ing wa­ter­shed pro­tec­tion, wildlife habi­tat pro­tec­tion, low im­pact re­cre­ation, and fu­ture sus­tain­able tim­ber man­age­ment for the re­gion.”

TPL is a na­tional, non­profit land con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion that con­serves land for peo­ple to en­joy as parks, gar­dens, his­toric sites, ru­ral lands, and other nat­u­ral places. Since 1972, TPL has com­pleted 4,500 projects in 47 states, pro­tect­ing more than 3 mil­lion acres, in­clud­ing more than 50,000 acres throughout Ver­mont. TPL de­pends on the sup­port of in­di­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions. Visit­mont.

Open Space Con­ser­vancy, Inc., an af­fil­i­ate of the Open Space In­sti­tute, Inc. is manag­ing the Trans­bor­der Pro­tec­tion Fund, a $2 mil­lion fund es­tab­lished to pro­tect the eco­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant forested land­scapes in the North­ern Ap­palachian/ Aca­dian eco-re­gion, an 80 mil­lion-acre re­gion span­ning the eastern edge of North Amer­ica along the bound­aries of the United States and Canada.

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