(Last update, January 2011)
Since 1986, the Vermont Land Trust has owned the King Farm in Woodstock, an exceptional 19th-century hill farm that still has most of its original buildings intact. The property includes 154 acres of farm and forest land and is located close to downtown Woodstock, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, and the Woodstock High School.
The Vermont Land Trust and the National Park Service continue to move forward with the plan to transfer ownership of the King Farm to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
We had originally acquired the property in 1986 as a bequest from Francisca King Thomas. When we moved our headquarters to Montpelier in 1990 and our stewardship office a decade later, it became increasingly difficult to manage the property as an important public asset and maintain the historic buildings in good condition. With the establishment of a National Park on the adjacent Rockefeller land, transfer of the King Farm to the Park Service seemed to be a logical solution.
Final Report on A Woodstock Community Discussion on the Future of the King Farm by Brian Shupe, Community Outreach Coordinator, September 2009
King Farm: A Community Conversation Background information leading up to a community discussion, June 2009
In 2009, the Vermont Land Trust and the National Park Service (NPS) presented their ideas to the Woodstock community and received a very enthusiastic reception. Since then, the local NPS staff has been going through the environmental assessment and other internal processes to secure the necessary approvals and authorizations.
This past August, Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy introduced S. 3612, authorizing an expansion of the Park to include the King Farm. Congressman Peter Welch introduced companion legislation H.R. 5776 in the House. These bills will be re-introduced in the new Congress. In addition to securing passage of this legislation, Vermont's congressional delegation must also secure an appropriation adequate to renovate the historic buildings.
The Vermont Land Trust, in turn, must secure the approval of the probate court in order to make the transfer. In drafting the authorizing legislation, the delegation was careful to ensure that Francisca's directive that the King Farm be used for agriculture, forestry, conservation and education purposes will be preserved in statute.
It will take at least until 2012 before the National Park Service and the Vermont Land Trust have received all the necessary approvals and funds and are ready to complete the transfer. In the meantime, we have renewed our lease agreements with the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, which both use the house. A community garden will be located on site this year. We are also working on a plan for better signage and limited parking to accommodate people who want to access the farm's public trails.
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