Why this is a wonderful and important project:
- It will connect two existing large conserved areas: Putney Mountain Association’s Dine parcel and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge;
- It will considerably widen the existing strip of conserved wildlife habitat and protect a piece of wildlife movement corridor along Windmill Ridge;
- It will enable us to develop a new public trail system connecting the Dine Trailhead on Holland Hill Road with the Conte Trailhead at the end of Parkman Wood Road;
- It will include a variety of habitats – forest, marsh, and fields – and the only year round stream in Putney Mountain Association lands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was acquisition of this property important?
The Windmill Ridge Nature Reserve and Trail, which includes the properties of both PMA and the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association, lies along the 16 mile ridge stretching from Grafton to Putney and beyond. Both organizations continue to work towards filling the remaining gaps in the Reserve. The Hannum‐O’Connor parcel is a particularly important missing piece in this effort. Its purchase will greatly enlarge PMA’s southern holdings and provide a closer connection to the existing Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. It will enable us to enlarge the southern trail system, providing better public access. This acquisition will also preserve significant wildlife habitat and expand an important reproduction/migration corridor along Windmill Ridge for some of Vermont’s most prized wildlife such as bobcat, deer, bear, fisher, and moose, all of which need large forested areas in order to survive and reproduce. Because large areas of conserved contiguous forest are scarce in Windham County (and are growing more scarce), and because this parcel of land is in a highly desirable location for development, it is essential to conserve it now. Loss of this parcel to development would seriously and permanently fragment wildlife habitat and forever limit public access to the land.
What is the property like?
This beautiful 144.5 acre tract of forested ridgeline land sits high on the spine of Windmill Ridge. Its varied terrain gently slopes eastward, interrupted by plateaus showing evidence of old fields, with some stony ledges and steeper slopes. Salmon Brook, a year‐round stream with pools suitable for brook trout, flows from the property through Dummerston and into the Connecticut River. There are a few marshy areas and many ferns. Stonewalls cross the property and delineate most of its boundaries. The presence of bear, deer, fisher, coyote, fox (red and gray), and turkey have been confirmed on the parcel, and it is likely that mink and bobcat are there as well. The land has been in the Hannum family since the 1920s and has been managed under the Current Use Program of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. The parcel was logged in 1992/1993 and is presently being harvested again before sale. The larger hemlock, white pine and associated hardwoods are being cut for saw‐timber, while sugar maple, red oak, and healthy beech are favored for retention as crop and seed trees. The parcel includes 683 feet of frontage on Holland Hill Rd.
Why does PMA want to acquire land that has recently been logged?
Our project has a long‐term focus: land conservation. Although the current logging activity temporarily diminishes the attractiveness of the land, it is essential to act now to avoid further development of this parcel and consequent permanent fragmentation of wildlife habitat and loss of public recreational access to this land. Forest regeneration is rapid in Vermont.
What will be the effect on the Putney property tax revenue?
Putney tax revenue will be unchanged. The land is currently taxed under the current use (forestry) program. We will re‐enroll the property in current use (conservation) and pay our share of Putney taxes. Although we are a 501(c)(3) organization, we voluntarily pay local taxes so that our holdings are not a burden on local towns.
How will the land be used?
A permanent conservation easement, held by the Vermont Land Trust, will be placed on the land and its uses will be restricted to:
1. Low‐impact Recreational Activities – such as hiking/running, XC skiing, snowshoeing;
2. Nature Study – field trips, outdoor classroom, guided walks, birding;
3. Habitat Protection – preserve wildlife habitat and expand an essential migration corridor.
Will hunting be allowed?
Yes, during official Vermont hunting seasons.
Will new trails be built?
Once the land is acquired, PMA will mark an existing trail across the most western portion of the new parcel and include it in our trail system. This short section of the ridgeline trail connects with our Dine trail to the south and to Conte trails to the north. We will also build or maintain a limited number of additional trails accessing the property’s highlights.
Why should we continue to donate to this project?
Although we have met our initial financial goals for purchase of the land, we are continuing with fundraising to meet unanticipated land stewardship and maintenance needs.
Is my donation to this project tax‐deductible?
Yes, all donations to PMA are tax deductible to the extent of the law and will be acknowledged according to IRS guidelines.
Can I restrict my gift for this purpose? Can I be anonymous?
All donations to this project going forward will support our endowment stewardship fund for future expenses related to the property. Donations may be anonymous and/or made in memory or honor of someone.
What is the stewardship endowment fund?
PMA maintains a separate endowment account to support long‐term stewardship expenses of its properties. Funds from the account’s earnings are used to help pay taxes, insurance, and any needed land maintenance costs. The board also fund‐ raises annually to help pay stewardship expenses. Our goal for this project includes raising $35,000 to deposit into this account.
What is the relationship between the purchase of the Hannum‐O’Connor parcel and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge property?
PMA has worked actively over the past year with the Silvio O. Conte NFWR to open Refuge property to public access. The Refuge’s 278 acre parcel provides the northern and northeastern borders of the Hannum land and borders PMA’s Dine parcel on the west. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Conte which, upon approval of Conte’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan, will open existing Refuge trails to the public and permit us to include them in the PMA trail system, connecting the Conte Refuge, the Hannum Property, and PMA’s Dine parcel. The route for an additional connecting trail between the Refuge and our holdings has been identified and is proposed as a new trail in the draft CCP.
What is the relationship between PMA and the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association?
Their holding are contiguous but they are separate organizations sharing conservation goals and methods.
I have other questions. Whom can I ask?
Pat Shields (802‐387‐8595), Emily McAdoo (802 ‐387‐4537), or Jacquie Walker (802‐387‐5387) will be happy to answer questions.