Conservation partners conserve land on Northfield Range spanning three central Vermont counties

One of Vermont’s largest, connected and privately-owned forests outside of the Northeast Kingdom has been protected, thanks to private landowners, Green Ridge Forest LLC. Green Ridge LLC partnered with VLT and The Conservation Fund (the Fund) to conserve lands along the spine and easterly flank of the Northfield Mountains.

High elevation peaks and headwater streams that flow into the Connecticut River

Visible from Route 12A and Interstate 89, the Green Ridge Forest spans the towns of Braintree, Granville, and Rochester, and three counties: Addison, Orange, and Windsor. Some of the highest elevation peaks in Vermont are found here, ranging from 800 to 3,000 feet. There are six significant streams that form headwaters of the Third Branch of the White River, a major tributary of the Connecticut River.

“The protection of a connected forest of this scale and impact does not come around often,” said VLT’s Liza Walker, who worked with the Fund on this effort. “In the face of a changing climate, forests like the Green Ridge provide protection against major storms and floods, store carbon in their trees and soils, and slow the loss of biodiversity.”

A partnership effort to protect Northfield Mountains land

The Conservation Fund purchased the property from a timber company in 2014 through its Working Forest Fund® program, which is dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests.

“By connecting the valley floor to the highest elevations, we’re realizing through the permanent protection of Green Ridge Forest an incredible outcome for wildlife, clean water and climate,” said Sally Manikian, the Fund’s Vermont and New Hampshire representative. “The Conservation Fund is honored to have partnered with the Vermont Land Trust on the conservation of this extraordinary forest.”

When the Fund sold the land to Green Ridge LLC, Green Ridge simultaneously conserved the land with VLT, thus ensuring the continued protection of the land’s considerable resources.

Sustainable timber and recreation

The land will be managed for timber as well as for its many ecological values, and provide opportunities to the public for hunting and non-motorized recreational access.

With this purchase, Green Ridge Forest LLC and its members look forward to continuing the longstanding tradition of sustainable timber management in the State of Vermont, with an emphasis on the conservation of natural resources.

The property is predominantly a hardwood forest, with sugar maple, American Beech and yellow birch trees among others. The entire parcel is mapped by Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources as critical bear habitat. The parcel also has over 100 acres of Montane Spruce-Fir forest, a softwood forest found on fragile soils at high elevations. There is extensive frontage on the Class IV Braintree Mountain Road, which connects Braintree to Granville and is used as a corridor for the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers Trail.