Barre Town Forest Protected

A 355-acre forest which includes a variety of popular trails used for hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing will be protected as the Barre Town Forest, The Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Forest Service announced today. 

The land in Graniteville and Websterville includes the site of one of the first granite quarries in Barre, established in 1790. 

“The trail network on the Barre Town Forest and surrounding area is home to unique recreation opportunities,” said Rodger Krussman, Vermont Director for The Trust for Public Land. “Protecting this place for future generations to come is an excellent way to achieve our mission of protecting land for people.  We are grateful to the Vermont congressional delegation and our state and private partners for their support for this project that will help the local community.” 

The Trust for Public Land facilitated the Town’s acquisition of the land from the Rock of Ages Corp. and other private owners. It will be protected from future development with a conservation easement held by Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. 

“Town ownership of local forests is a New England tradition, dating back to colonial days, said Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard.  “We’re glad to be partners in this great success story.” 

“This is a momentous event for us,” said Barre Town Manager Carl Rogers. “It will improve the quality of life for people who live here by providing the health benefits of outdoor recreation.  And it will bring visitors, who will help our local economy.”

Barre Town resident Tom Stuwe applauded the protection, “These trails helped me lose 50 pounds and had a big impact on my health. I am thrilled the property will forever be open to my family and the rest of Vermont.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, along with Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Peter Welch, worked closely with The Trust for Public Land to ensure that the Barre Town Forest received a grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Program, authored by Sen. Leahy in the 2008 Farm Bill. 

Sen. Leahy said, “A community treasure is being enhanced. The Barre Town Forest will be a tremendous recreation asset for central Vermonters, and it will also draw tourists from across the region.  I am proud of the federal participation in this partnership, with The Trust for Public Land and full suite of local, state and nongovernmental conservation partners.” 

Congressman Welch said, “The Barre Town Forest project is the result of years of determined effort, partnerships at all levels, and tireless dedication of local volunteers.  It will provide generations of visitors with unique recreational opportunities and preserve an important chapter of the region’s rich history.  Congratulations to Barre Town, the Trust for Public Land, and all of the partners for the successful results of your dedicated efforts on behalf of this great project.” 

The $1.37 million for the project came from a variety of public and private sources.  The largest, $400,000, was from the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest program.  Another $310,500 was from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, a quasi-state agency celebrating 25 years of investing in affordable housing, farmland conservation, the protection of natural areas and public recreation lands, and historic preservation. Additionally, $220,000 came from the Community Forest Fund established by the Open Space Conservancy and Jane’s Trust, $100,000 each from the Town of Barre and Millstone Trails Association, and the remainder came from private donors and foundations. 

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. 

The mission of the United States Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.