Back in 1991, the Scrag Forest Corporation donated forestland along the ridge of Scrag Mountain to the Town of Waitsfield, which conserved the forest with VLT to guarantee that the land would remain undeveloped and open to the public. Over the years, the Scrag Town Forest expanded to 640 acres and became a year-round hiking and skiing destination. Yet, the main access point from Waitsfield on Bowen Road was not officially part of the town land.
When the owners of the access point, Howard and Judy Saffan, decided to sell their land, the Town of Waitsfield and Vermont Land Trust were interested in buying and conserving this 110-acre gateway parcel. The Saffans generously agreed to sell the land for much less than it was worth, so VLT joined with the Waitsfield Conservation Commission and local volunteers to raise money to buy and conserve the land.
Like many of the 170 town forests across Vermont, the Scrag Town Forest protects water quality, as headwater streams to the Mad River originate on the land. The forest has wildlife habitat, offers outdoor recreation, and provides timber. Some of the money raised was used to start a management fund for the forest, which will be used for improvements such as trail work, signage, or a trailhead kiosk. The Saffans also helped fund a new, 15-car parking area and improve road conditions at the forest’s entrance.
Funded by the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program, VHCB, Waitsfield’s Restroom, Recreation and Conservation Reserve Fund, and 85 contributions from the community. (July 2017)