On December 14, 2022, the Mount Holly Conservation Trust and the State of Vermont completed the project to protect forever a 440-acre property in Mount Holly and Weston that connects two previously separated blocks of 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.
The land is now a new (still unnamed) wildlife management area (WMA) and is open to the public.
What We Protected
- A critical wildlife corridor that connects two previously unconnected blocks of Okemo State Forest.
- A priority component of the larger Green Mountain Wildlife Corridor.
- Important riparian habitat along one of the headwater tributaries of the West River.
- Healthy high-elevation forests, streams, and wetlands that support an abundance of wildlife.
- Land up to over 3000 feet near the summit of South Mountain.
- Land the public can enjoy for dispersed recreation and hunting.
- An important access point to the interior of Okemo State Forest.
On March 21, 2022, the Mount Holly Conservation Trust used a bridge loan and an extremely generous donation from the Doolittle Family to buy the property from Michael and Jacqueline Ryan.
The MHCT allowed the Ryans until July to remove all property and materials from the site. After this time elapsed, MHCT led a substantial clean-up effort to remove junk and other materials that threatened a headwater tributary of the West River.
The MHCT funded a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment of the site in order to verify the completion of the clean-up effort.
Over the next several months, MHCT perambulated and marked the 5 ½ mile long boundary of the parcels.
On December 14, 2022, the Mount Holly Conservation Trust sold the land to the State of Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife (VDFW) to create a new wildlife management area (WMA).
The VDFW will manage the land in perpetuity for the benefit of wildlife and public recreation.
We are immensely grateful to everyone who contributed to our organization. You are the reason for this success!
Some of the funding included:
- The generosity of the Pete & Lory Doolittle Family
- VDFW’s bear habitat mitigation fund established from the Iberdrola Deerfield Wind stipulated PUC settlement in 2016.