A Treasured Forest Will Be Open to All

people walking in the woods with tall trees all around

The Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve in Cambridge

Nature lovers will soon have a special place to visit. 

The late Peter A. Krusch bought land in Cambridge decades ago and slowly transformed it, year upon year. “He bought this farm in 1958 as an overgrazed and overused small dairy farm,” explains Sally Laughlin, his widow, “and stewarded it for the rest of his life, nurturing the fields and the returning forest, regenerating the overcut woodlands, practicing sustainable logging, growing his own food in large organic gardens, and creating this scenic and ecologically diverse place.”

There are ravines, streams, waterfalls, and forests, fields, meadows, and trails. The unique spot has varied and rich habitat where plants and wildlife thrive.

Peter and Sally shared a vision: to protect the land for the future and open it up to the public. After Peter passed away in 2018, Sally continued his effort. This week, the town acquired 51 acres to establish a new nature preserve.

People snowshoeing through snowy woods - Cambridge VT

Community members on a public walk last winter on what is now the new Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve.

The conserved Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve will feature nature trails that invite exploration. A highlight will be a path to the Cambridge Pines State Forest—one of Vermont’s few examples of old forest, a spectacular and awe-inspiring place that’s not easy to access.

“This treasured grove of very old white pines, some older than 150 years, was saved from the axe in the 1940s by local resident Harold Putnam,” says VLT’s Director of Conservation Science, Liz Thompson. “Since then the forest has remained untouched by human hands. Trees have fallen, fungi have grown on the down logs, and many birds, mammals, invertebrates, and other organisms have made their homes in this exceptional grove.”

Recently, Sally gave Liz Thompson a personal tour of the forest. “Sally’s love for the place was palpable as she walked around and gazed up at the massive pines, admiring their majesty and beauty,” adds Liz.

woman hiking through pine forest - Krusch nature preserve

“Having these 51 acres become a Nature Preserve is a dream come true,” says Sally. “Its value to the Town of Cambridge and to Vermont will only grow through the years.”

“Sally and Peter’s beloved land will now be open to all, enabling outdoor education, recreation, and inspiration,” says VLT’s Bob Heiser.

woman standing next to large tree with wide trunk

Sally worked together with the Vermont Land Trust and the Cambridge Conservation Commission to create the new community resource. She generously donated the majority of the value of the land and a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board along with donations from over 130 generous community members helped make the project a success. 

Among the first priorities in the community’s vision for the property is the creation of a parking area off North Cambridge Road.