December 11, 2019 Fayston — A scenic 93-acre property in Fayston is now a town forest, the Vermont Land Trust announced today. Christina Castegren donated the land and the Town of Fayston conserved it with the land trust, establishing the Boyce Hill Town Forest.
Rising from the end of Boyce Hill Road, the mostly open land has a summit with dramatic views of the Shepard Brook Valley in Fayston as well as the Northfield Range and Green Mountains.
“I think these views should be shared,” said Castegren. “The beauty of this place provides a sense of awe and peace that people seem to need these days. I hope this land will help bring people together.”
The future of the land—known locally as Risley’s Pasture and Newis’ Field—had been uncertain because of a permitted eight-lot subdivision that was in place when Castegren purchased the land in 2011. Concerned that the development of houses would decrease public access and forever alter its character, Castegren offered the land to the town.
“I’m just blown away by Christina’s generosity,” said Fayston resident Sally Dwyer, whose family has hiked on the hill for generations. “It’s a spectacular and unique property. It has something for everyone.”
“This is a very exciting time for Fayston,” said Jared Cadwell, chair of the Fayston Selectboard. “We have a tremendous opportunity to join together to enjoy and care for this spectacular spot in our town.”
The Vermont Land Trust worked with Castegren and the selectboard to discuss conservation options and community access, asses the land’s ecology, and create a conservation easement that protects the health of the forest and public recreation. To date, the Vermont Land Trust has helped create and protect nearly 30 town forests.
“People can continue to hike, hunt, snowshoe, ski and picnic there, and the community will be part of its stewardship for generations to come,” said Liza Walker of the Vermont Land Trust.
Starting next spring, the Conservation Commission will engage the community in the creation of a longer-term, management plan for the property. The plan will address recreation, stewardship, natural resource protection, trail development, parking and access.
There is an interim plan defining the permitted uses and restrictions that can be viewed on the town’s website: www.Faystonvt.com. Public parking is limited until improvements can be made to Boyce Hill Road and plans made for winter maintenance. Visitors to the property may not block the snowplow turnaround or any private driveways at the end of Boyce Hill Road. Questions can be directed to Faystonconservation@madriver.com.