Lying on both sides of Route 14, just south of the North Montpelier Pond, are gently rolling open fields and woodlands that have been owned by Celina Moore for over four decades. The fields are used by a dairy farmer for hay, and the woods have been professionally managed for 30 years. The Kingsbury Branch, which eventually meets the Winooski River, forms the eastern boundary of the land. “Protecting this forest and farmland is important to Celina,” said VLT’s Bob Linck. “She and her husband, Erik Esselstyn, live there in a historic farmhouse and have cared for these 97 acres for many years. By donating a conservation easement, she’s ensured it will remain undeveloped.”
Along the river there are steep forested slopes and an active floodplain with sugar maples and ostrich ferns. “It’s one of the few high-quality areas of floodplain forest in the Upper Winooski watershed,” said VLT ecologist Liz Thompson. “It helps to protect water quality and it provides important wildlife habitat.” Celina, who values people’s connections to the land, decided to include an option for future trails on the property that would run east and west of Route 14.