Washington, D.C. – December 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — In response to community support in Newport City, Vermont, the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) purchased the 129-acre Bluffside Farm on December 22, 2015. VLT will be a temporary owner of the farm in order to create time to work with the Newport community on a long-term ownership plan.
VLT will engage with Newport residents on how to best maximize use of the land for purposes such as farming, recreation, and natural resource protection. VLT does not plan to be the long-term owner of the property.
When the news of the impending foreclosure auction for the Newport farm (owned by the Scott family) first surfaced, the Vermont Land Trust responded to community members who feel that this is a special place with significant agricultural, recreational, natural resource, water quality and scenic value. It is in a prime city location located near the Beebe Spur rail trail, Prouty Beach, North Country Union High School, and North Country Hospital.
After the September 14, 2015 Newport City Council meeting, where a large show of interest and support from Newport residents spoke out in favor of protection of the property, VLT decided to buy the farm. The Vermont Land Trust found temporary financing that will create time for a community process. Using a $1 million loan from The Conservation Fund, the Vermont Land Trust was able to purchase the property on December 22.
“The Vermont Land Trust decided to step in as an interim owner, to give the community more time to explore what this property could mean to Newport going forward,” said Tracy Zschau, VLT’s Conservation Director. “In partnership with community members, the land trust looks forward to considering the best use of this property that is aligned with community needs. The first step will be getting residents out on the property, which generally has not been open to public access in the past.”
A former dairy, Bluffside Farm has more than 60 acres of high quality tillable land and pasture. It was owned by the Scott family for five generations and is the largest remaining agricultural property in Newport City.
The farm has just under a mile of undeveloped frontage on Lake Memphremagog, including a natural sand beach that is considered a Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage site. Over half the frontage is on Scott’s Cove, directly across from Newport’s Prouty Beach recreation area and campground. Pilings are still present from a pedestrian bridge that used to connect the properties. The entire property is enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use program and the woodland is subject to a forest management plan.
As a first step, public tours of the property will be offered by Vermont Land Trust on January 9 and 19 at 1 pm. The tours are for community members interested in the future of the land. Attendees will meet at the farm (171 Scott Farm Road) for a walk and to learn more about the property from VLT staff members and Orleans County Forest Jared Nunnery. Tour participants should come ready for the weather (bring snowshoes if you have them) and appropriate winter clothing.
Please learn more about the Bluffside Farm effort and for weather-related updates. If you would like more information about the tours, call VLT’s Tracy Zschau at (802) 745-6301.