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Catamount Community Forest
     

In 2019 the Town of Williston acquired 393 acres to be permanently protected as the Catamount Community Forest. The land is protected by a conservation easement co-held by Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. The Town has an agreement with the non-profit Catamount Outdoor Family Center to manage the trail system, camps and programming they have developed over the years. The property is open for pedestrian access (walking, running, snowshoeing) at no charge. Cross-country skiing and mountain biking require a trail pass, which can be obtained onsite or via the COFC website (http://catamountoutdoorfamilycenter.org/).

The property is part of a 660-acre corridor of public and private conservation land—the largest core forest block in the Town of Williston. The community forest is now safe from potential development and will remain a community resource for generations to come. In addition to the permanent protection of critical wetlands and forests, a study commissioned by The Trust for Public Land found that maintaining the 20 miles of existing trails on the property secures over $875,000 in visitor spending associated with the use of the Catamount trail system, and 14 jobs.

The Trust for Public Land led the acquisition of the property, working in partnership with the Town of Williston and the Vermont Land Trust, who will co-hold a conservation easement over the property with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. The $1.9M project cost was funded by the federal Community Forest and Open Space Fund, the Open Space Institute’s Community Forest Fund, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Town of Williston, and The Nature Conservancy under a grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.. Funding also came from the National Park Service State and Local Assistance program funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). An additional $337,000 was raised from more than 200 private individuals, foundations and corporations, including the Conservation Alliance, Bafflin Foundation, Lintilhac Foundation, Concept2, Oakland Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, Outdoor Gear Exchange, and VELCO.

The adopted management plan for Catamount Community Forest is available via the link below.

Catamount Community Forest Management Plan

Additional information related to the value of conserved lands and the economic value of Catamount can be accessed via the linked PDFs below.

 
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