On September 1, 2020, The Mount Holly Conservation Trust, the Vermont Land Trust, and the State of Vermont completed the project to protect forever a 346-acre property in Mount Holly that connects the southern part of the Green Mountain National Forest with Okemo State Forest. This guarantees that animals, increasingly on the move due to climate change, will have the uninterrupted habitat they need—a safe corridor—for traveling to find food, mates, and new territory.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped with this incredible challenge. We did it!
What We Protected
- A critical link in a 100-mile wildlife corridor that connects the southern Green Mountain National Forest, Okemo State Forest, Coolidge State Forest, and the northern Green Mountain National Forest.
- Pristine land that is the source of the West River, Branch Brook, and Mill River.
- Healthy high-elevation forest, streams, and wetlands that support an abundance of wildlife.
- Land the public can enjoy for dispersed recreation; protecting existing VAST snowmobile and Catamount ski trails.
“The Okemo Wildlife Corridor Project is one of two remaining parcels needed to complete a more than 30 year effort with many, many partners to conserve a strategic, state significant, wildlife corridor connecting the southern and northern blocks of the Green Mountain National Forest. Through the efforts of many organizations, we have collectively conserved upwards of 30,000 acres for use both by wildlife and people. The Okemo Wildlife Corridor Project is a keystone in this effort, connecting Okemo State Forest with the Green Mountain National Forest across route 155. It is a testament to what Vermonters can do for conservation when they work together!”Louis Porter, Commissioner, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
In May 2019, the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) used a bridge loan to buy the property from Ian and Kathryn McLean, who generously sold it at a deep discount.
After VLT assumed ownership of the property the Mount Holly Conservation Trust led the effort to clean up and remove a dilapidated squatter’s camp and junkyard that threatened the headwaters of the West River.
A massive fundraising effort was able to cover the $813,000 cost of buying and permanently conserving this land.
The land is now owned by the State of Vermont and has become part of Okemo State Forest. A conservation easement will ensure the land’s long-term protection.
Making an Impact
Our work is already having an impact. Part of our conservation plan was to clean up and remove a dilapidated squatter’s camp and junkyard that was threatening the headwaters of the West River. Watch the videos below to see what effect this has had!
We are immensely grateful to everyone who contributed to our fundraising campaign. You are the reason for this success!
Some of the funding included:
- $210,000 from Vermont Forests, Parks & Recreation
- $224,000 from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
- Over $300,000 from private donors, including:
- $150,000 from an anonymous donor
- $100,000 from an anonymous donor through the Vermont Community Foundation
- $20,000 from the Lyman Orton Fund
- $5000 from the Epic Promise Foundation
We are grateful for the support of so many members of our community, our Mount Holly Select Board, as well as the following organizations: