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Georgia town forest with conservation partnersTown buys 179-acre property for conservation and recreation

For immediate release: March 9, 2017

Georgia, VT -- Georgia residents and visitors now have a new place to get outdoors and experience nature. A joint effort by the Town and the Vermont Land Trust has led to the creation of a 179-acre town forest available for hiking, skiing, hunting, and more.

The town forest project was six years in the making. It all began when a member of the Georgia Conservation Commission went for a snowshoe with his son and was struck by the beauty of the land. Sometime later, the Commission sent a letter to the property’s owners, brothers John and Chris Moseley, asking them if they would be interested in conserving the land.

The Mosleys loved the land, which had been owned by their parents; they were enthusiastic about seeing it protected and enjoyed by the public. The concept of a Town Forest developed as a perfect way to meet these goals.

“In addition to the existing trails and logging roads, there is significant opportunity for additional trail development for hiking, cross-country skiing, or other uses,” remarked Kent Henderson of the Conservation Commission. “The Conservation Commission believes that this property will be a great educational, recreational, and natural resource for the residents of Georgia.”

The purchase of the land was made possible through an allocation from the Georgia Conservation Reserve Fund and a grant from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

The land is accessible from Silver Lake Road. There is a mix of hardwood and softwood forestland, with some open areas and beaver ponds. Trails and logging roads are available for non-mechanized recreation, and the wetland areas offer good wildlife viewing.

The property abuts the remote Silver Lake property, which is owned by the City of St. Albans as a back-up water supply. Silver Lake is one of eleven lakes in Vermont given a ‘wilderness’ designation by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Views of the scenic, remote lake can be taken in from the new town forest.

The land is a haven for wildlife, with nesting goshawks observed several years ago, along with blue heron nests on one of the beaver ponds.

The Vermont Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the town forest, which will ensure its permanent protection as forestland open to the public. The land trust has worked with more than 20 towns throughout Vermont to create town forests.

“It’s really interesting to see the unique character of each town forest,” said Bob Heiser of the Vermont Land Trust. “What these forests all have in common, though, is that they are loved by their communities. This property is in the most remote corner of Georgia, and offers folks a place to explore some rich, diverse forestland and wildlife habitat.”

Many town forests have been made possible through grant funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. “We are pleased to partner with towns creating or adding to town forests,” said VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig. “Georgia joins a list of towns including Dover, Waitsfield, Westford Middlesex, Calais, Marshfield, Tinmouth, Hinesburg and Dorset that have used VHCB funding to conserve forested land with public trails to be enjoyed by local citizens and visitors.”

During the coming year, the Georgia Conservation Commission and Select Board will develop a land management plan for the property. “For any citizen who is looking for a wonderful way to serve the community and add a fun activity, the Georgia Conservation Commission invites you to join us and help with the development of this new property,” said Kent Henderson.

© 2017 Vermont Land Trust | All rights reserved.