May 1, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — This month Bill and Louise Burgin and family members protected 648 acres of managed forestland in Bridgewater, the Vermont Land Trust announced today. This conservation effort marks the completion of a major land protection project as part of an ongoing effort to conserve the Chateauguay-No Town region. The region encompasses parts of Bridgewater, Killington, Stockbridge and Barnard. Outside of the Green Mountain National Forest, it is one of the least developed areas in central Vermont. Conservation of the Burgin land brings the total conserved land in the region to nearly 9,000 acres.
The conservation easement the Burgins placed on their land ensures that their property will always remain undeveloped and will continue to be used for forestry and open space. “Not only do we feel it is important to preserve and protect the land forever, but we also are attracted to the idea of providing extensive natural habitat where animals and plant species can live and flourish undisturbed as they have for decades,” said Bill Burgin. “Our family hopes that other Chateauguay (and Vermont) land owners will follow the path we have chosen to take with this land.”
The Burgins’ land abuts two other conserved properties protected by Meadowsend Timber in 2001 and another by the McDill family in 2007. Together, the three properties form a block of almost 1,500 acres of protected land.
Although the Chateauguay-No Town region is forest-covered today, that was not always the case. One hundred and fifty years ago, the land was largely cleared for agriculture. In the second half of the 1800s, it was also the site of two brief, and mostly unprofitable, gold rushes. The Burgins’ property was known as the ‘Perkins Place’ and hosted large house and farm operation. According to legend, when the Perkins family dug their cellar hole, they found enough gold to fashion a wedding ring. Today, only the foundation stones, stone walls, and a few abandoned mine shafts remain from that far-away era.
“Shortly after we purchased the land, the previous owners were kind enough to give to us copies of family photographs showing the cleared land and the substantial farm house and barns when it was actively farmed in the late 19th century,” Bill recalled. “Today, when you stand in the midst of the old cellar holes, surrounded by ancient stone walls and the remains of the old apple orchard, an almost spiritual feeling and sense of time is conveyed—we felt it was critically important to preserve this land, free from development, in perpetuity.”
Ten years ago, the Vermont Land Trust and The Conservation Fund, working in cooperation with the four towns and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, launched an effort to preserve the rural and ecological character of the Chateauguay region, which is traversed by the Appalachian Trail, and includes several State Wildlife Management Areas. The conservation of the Burgins’ property, combined with other privately and publicly owned conserved land, means that nearly 30 percent of the Chateauguay region has been protected from subdivision and development.
“The effort to preserve the Chateauguay continues,” said Darby Bradley, former president of the Vermont Land Trust. “What we have accomplished in the past, and what we will accomplish in the future, would not be possible without the dedication of the landowners who conserved their land and the generosity of the people who have make contributions to the Chateauguay Conservation Fund.”
About the Vermont Land Trust
The Vermont Land Trust is a statewide, member-supported, nonprofit land conservation organization. Since 1977, the Vermont Land Trust has permanently conserved more than 1,500 parcels of land covering 480,000 acres, or about eight percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. The conserved land includes more than 670 working farms, hundreds of thousands of acres of productive forestland, and numerous parcels of community lands. This conservation work changes the lives of families, invigorates farms, launches new businesses, maintains scenic vistas, encourages recreational opportunity, and fosters a renewed sense of community. For more information or to become a member, contact: Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Avenue, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 223-5234.