Partnership protecting four key properties

The “Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor” crosses Route 100 on the Waterbury–Stowe town line and is the only viable route for animals travelling between the Green Mountains and Worcester Range. It is one of the most important wildlife crossings in Vermont and wide-ranging animals such as bear, moose and bobcat rely on it.

Concern for the future of these animals led a partnership of community members, municipalities, conservation groups, and state agencies to protect forestland in this area. In September, the partnership announced that $500,000 had been raised and several properties were protected.

The first project completed was the purchase of a 10-acre parcel whose significance is measured by geography rather than size. It is one of the few remaining undeveloped parcels with frontage on busy Route 100 and was sold to The Nature Conservancy for under appraised value.

Vermont Land Trust worked with two Waterbury landowners to conserve 350 acres of mostly forested land.

Chris Curtis and Tari Swenson conserved 63 centrally located acres in the corridor, ensuring the land will remain undeveloped and continue to have visitors like the mother bear and her two cubs that were spotted on a recent visit. They sold a conservation easement far below appraised value.

Eric and Dale Smeltzer donated a conservation easement on 287 acres that abut Mt. Mansfield State Forest and are host to several headwater streams and wetlands.

“Knowing that we are part of a large region-wide project is very exciting,” said Dale. “Conserving property in this wildlife corridor makes us feel more connected to our forestland—as if we’re now managing it with more purpose for the future.”

Meanwhile, the Stowe Land Trust is working with the Trust for Public Land on the Hunger Mountain Headwaters project, which will include the conservation of a 109-acre property in the corridor nestled up against the Worcester Range in Stowe. This land will be added to the adjacent CC Putnam State Forest.

The Shutesville Wildlife Corridor Partnership consists of the Waterbury Conservation Commission, Stowe Conservation Commission, Stowe Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Vermont Agency of Transportation, two regional planning commissions, and many community volunteers.

Interested in learning more? Visit our Shutesville Hill page for things you can do to help.