A Rare Opportunity for Vermont

The Town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont has the opportunity to acquire and permanently protect a spectacular 119-acre property with trails in the heart of town known as Observatory Knob.


We hope you can help us save this special place. Please consider making a donation today.

St. Johnsbury residents have been hiking “up the Knob” since the 1880s on informal trails. The Knob once hosted an observatory equipped with rests for telescopes and spy glasses. After the first was destroyed by winds in 1894, a second was built, only to succumb to the same fate in 1914. But the incredible views remain.

old sepia photo of the Knob Bicycle Club in 1896

In 2008 longtime neighbor David Brown installed a bench and mailbox with a logbook for notes from hikers at the top of the trail. The logbooks, now totaling eleven, contain notes from residents and visitors that affirm the magic of the place. David is also donating an adjacent five acres to include more trails.

david with logbooks

To the north, Burke Mountain, as well as Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor, are clearly visible. To the east is the presidential range of the White Mountains.

view of grassy hill - st johnsbury vermont

The land is also an undeveloped scenic backdrop visible from many areas of town. It lies within half a mile of 450 households and has the potential to host more trails and recreational uses.

Visitors to the Knob also enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. The forest along the ridge is mixed hardwood and softwood. Southeast of the knob and ridge is a narrow wetland hosting a diverse suite of wetland plants including willows, melic mannagrass, bristly sedge, and numerous ferns. Moose tracks were recently found here as were fingernail clams. The wetland is likely breeding habitat for amphibians such as wood frogs and spotted salamanders.

woodland trail

We Need Your Help

The cost to buy, conserve, and establish a modest  management fund for Observatory Knob is $275,000.

A grant for $200,000 was awarded by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Town of St. Johnsbury has pledged $20,000, and the seller is donating $5,000.

Additional donations have brought the final fundraising goal down to $12,000, which needs to be raised by November 2021.

Take Action Now

To donate, please make your check payable to Vermont Land Trust with “Observatory Knob” in the memo line. Or, give online now. Gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Thank you for your support!

Please send checks to:
Vermont Land Trust
8 Bailey Ave
Montpelier, VT 05602

students sitting on the grass


Photos: Kyle Gray