The largest wetland area in Hinesburg, located off Baldwin Road, spans about 200 acres. It is home to beavers and a host of other animals. In 2013, a large portion of these wetlands were protected when members of the Carse family conserved 225 acres with VLT and donated the land to the University of Vermont (UVM). The university created the Carse Wetlands Natural Area and has used it as an outdoor classroom and for research purposes. It is open to the public and UVM has built public trails there.
This summer, 105 adjacent acres were donated to UVM and added to the natural area, which now covers 330 acres, including nearly 130 acres of wetlands. The land was conserved with VLT when it was donated.
Wetlands can reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants, and improve water quality. They also offer excellent wildlife habitat and support some animal and plant species that are found nowhere else. Several rare and uncommon plants have been spotted on the Carse wetlands.
The land also has wooded hillsides and old pastures, and deer have been known to winter there. Several areas have been identified for extra ecological protections to minimize disturbance to soil, plants, and animals and to promote clean water.
Main photo by Caleb Kenna.