Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman
In April, The Conservation Alliance awarded The Trust for Public Land a grant for their work on the Campaign to Create the Barre Town Forest, a community forest in Vermont's Washington County. This campaign will completely transform a degraded industrial site into a vibrant natural landscape that will be owned by the local community, as a new town forest, providing extensive wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.
Last week, the U.S. Forest Service announced a $400,000 grant in support of this campaign, providing the funding to acquire the 384 acres that will become this new community forest. This acreage, combined with an additional 26 acres, already owned by the town, will become the 410 acre Barre Town Forest – ensuring water quality, wildlife protection, timber production, education opportunities and public access to 20 miles of trails.
The creation of Barre Town Forest will not only provide protected land for habitat and recreation, it will also bring economic benefits to Washington County. For every $1 the town invests in ownership of the community forest, the local economy will realize returns of $22 by 2015. The project is also excepted to generate 20 new jobs.