Favorites on Friday: Celebrating with Vermont Land Trust

Three of the original "Old Goats" who had a vision, built trails and made skiing the Bolton backcountry possible. Pictured left to right  Olga Vrana, and Clem and Sylvia Holden. Photo: Alexandria Bombach. 

In the spring of 2012, The Conservation Alliance first funded the Vermont Land Trust's Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign; to permanently protect the 1,100-acre Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry property that provides both critical habitat for wildlife and unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities for thousands of residents and visitors to northern Vermont.  Just last week, we funded this project once again, brining our funding of this project to $85,000.  With the receipt of this grant, the Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign crossed an important threshold; the fundraising goal of $1.85 million was reached.  We are excited to be a part of this project and wanted to share a bit of the story here:

Only 15 months ago, nordic and backcountry skiers at Bolton were pondering a future where we could no longer enjoy bluebird days climbing up to the cabin and swooshing down George's Gorge.

Thankfully, Ann Gotham and fellow skiers scrambled to make calls to organizations that might be able to help them protect the land. The fledgling Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry was formed.

Meetings were held, and Vermont Land Trust (VLT)  agreed to start a major campaign to raise the money needed to purchase the land and build the partnerships needed to transfer the land to the State.

Here's just some of what it took to raise 1,200 gifts totaling $1.85 million:

  • Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry vision, commitment, and creativity
  • Strength in partnerships with VT Forests, Parks & Recreation, Catamount Trail Association, Green Mountain Club, and others
  • Direct mail appeal sent to 18,000 individuals in northern Vermont
  • Feature stories covering the project in more than a dozen Vermont news and national outlets
  • Information tables at more than 20 ski and skate sales, Farmers' Markets, on Church Street, and even a July 4th festival
  • Fundraising and awareness events sponsored by Catamount Trail Association, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Onion River Sports, Skirack, Ember Photography, Skinny Pancake, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Mammut, Patagonia, The North Face Store, and others
  • Bird walks, natural history workshops, ski and snowshoe tours, and other events held on the Bolton property
  • "Visions of the Land," an exhibit of Bolton-inspired artwork at the West Branch Gallery in Stowe
  • Sale of more than 300 "Save Bolton Nordic and Backcountry" t-shirts
  • Three anonymous donations of $100,000 each
  • 70 Gardiner Lane Leadership Gifts
  • The commitment, sense of humor, and enthusiasm of VLT staff and board members

VLT, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, and Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry are working diligently to finalize the Bolton Project. As a large, complex conservation project, there are many pieces to wrap up.  The final purchase is expected to happen this spring. The parcel will then be transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Mount Mansfield State Forest.

To learn more about Vermont Land Trust and the Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign, click here; and stay tuned for our next film in the {worthWILD} series, featuring Bolton Valley and those who made this protection possible.