September 29, Montpelier, VT — This summer, Fairmont Farm conserved 201 acres of land between Route 14 and the Winooski River, the Vermont Land Trust announced today. Fairmont, which milks 1,450 cows and crops roughly 3,600 acres, has previously conserved 1,600 acres across five towns in Washington and Orleans Counties.
Fairmont also agreed to provide trail access across the recently conserved land, helping to connect a critical section of the Cross Vermont Trail between East Montpelier and Marshfield. The trail will tie directly into a new project of the Cross Vermont Trail Association (CVTA). It will feature new trails and a bridge over the Winooski River, and continuation the Montpelier Bike Path up to U-32 and across East Montpelier to the existing rail trail at Route 14, which continues in different forms to the New Hampshire border.
“Protecting farmland for the next generation has always been important to our family,” said Clara Ayer of Fairmont Farm. “Now, through partnering with the Cross Vermont Trail Association, we’re connecting to a broader group of Vermonters and visitors who will use the trail. We hope they will come to love our farmland as much as we do.”
“The trails made possible by easements like this one from Fairmont Farm are the most important ingredient in helping to realize the vision of the Cross Vermont Trail: a network of safe, nearby paths that invite users of all ages and abilities to get outside in nature,” said Greg Western, Executive Director of CVTA.
Along with providing public access and trail connectivity, Fairmont is working with the Vermont Land Trust to enhance wetlands along the Winooski River and its tributaries. This fall, approximately 200 trees will be planted along a small stream that flows across the recently conserved land directly into the Winooski. The farm is also working with the Land Trust and other conservation partners to protect and restore a half-mile stretch of the Winooski River in Marshfield.
A number of partners came together to support this project, including the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Town of East Montpelier. The project was also made possible in part with funding provided by The Nature Conservancy under a grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
“It’s gratifying when partners come together to support shared goals such as conserving productive farm land, increasing public recreational opportunities, and restoring Vermont’s streams and rivers,” said Britt Haselton, Farm Project Director for the Vermont Land Trust. “We look forward to our future work together.”