• Two Vermont forest projects funded
     | July 12,2014

    MONTPELIER — Funding has been approved for two Vermont Forest Legacy projects, Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office announced Friday.

    The two projects, involving land in the Groton Forest Legacy Initiative and the Windham Region Working Forest conserved, will total more than 11,600 acres of conserved forestland in Vermont, permanently protecting wildlife habitat linkages and wildlife corridors, a news release stated.

    The two projects, once completed, will also see public access preserved, including hiking, hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing and designated trails for snowmobiles.

    Leahy, who authored the program earlier when he was chairing the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said of the two projects, “This is a strong investment in our state’s traditions of outdoor recreation, conservation and a vital working lands economy. Both of these projects contribute to our state’s timber and forest-based manufacturing industries, while conserving wildlife habitat and protecting water quality. I am proud that Vermonters of today and the future will benefit from these hiking, hunting, fishing and educational opportunities.”

    Gil Livingston, president of the Vermont Land Trust, said of the two blocks of forest coming into the Legacy program, “The Groton Forest Legacy project will protect spectacular land important to Vermonters. Beautiful Molly’s Falls Pond will be owned by the public forever. Equally important, private citizens have banded together to protect land that enhances nearby Groton State Forest. Senator Leahy’s leadership in supporting the federal Forest Legacy program was instrumental in this success.”

    Chris Campany, executive director of the Windham Regional Commission, also weighed in, stating, “This collaborative effort will result in the perpetual conservation of working forest for the benefit of one of the region’s largest industries — the forest industry — and those it employs, for the public that will have access to this land, and for wildlife as further habitat fragmentation will be reduced.”

    “It’s a win, win, win situation,” stated Campany. “Thanks to The Conservation Fund, participating landowners and everyone who worked together to make this possible.”

    The Forest Legacy Program, authored by Leahy in the 1990 Farm Bill, has provided more than $643 million to conserve nearly 2.4 million acres in 45 states over the past two decades, including $22.945 million to conserve 80,316 acres in Vermont, in 16 projects, since 1993, the news release stated.

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