State acquires new wildlife area
ATHENS — The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has completed its purchase of a 400-acre parcel of undisturbed wetlands and forest in Windham County called the Athens Dome, now known as the Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area.
The plateau is home to the northeastern bulrush, an endangered plant in Vermont, as well as a rich wetland environment that supports moose, bear and other animals.
The idea of preserving the area was conceived by Bob Anderson, a naturalist from Saxtons River, who started walking in the area a decade ago.
“This is very special land,” Anderson said. “And this means it will be open to Vermonters to use forever. In this age when more and more land is being parceled and posted this is a significant step in keeping land open and accessible for everybody.”
Over the years, Anderson has worked with local officials, state agencies, non-profit environmental groups and the Vermont Electric Power Company, or VELCO, to conserve the property.
The deal required the approval of the towns of Athens and Grafton as well as volunteer work by people determined to preserve the land.
VELCO got involved after the company started acquiring land as part of a major expansion, part of which required the company to preserve wetlands on another piece of land for any wetlands it damaged as part of its power line expansion.
The Athens Dome wetlands fit the bill.
Fish and Wildlife owns more than 80 wildlife management areas across the state, totaling more than 118,000 acres. They are open to the public and include areas to hunt, fish, view wildlife and hike.
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