Groups Hope to Donate Farmhouse (VT)

WARREN, Vermont, 6/3/02: Two nonprofits working to protect Blueberry Lake by adding land around it to the Green Mountain National Forest are hoping to identify a local group interested in taking ownership of a farmhouse near the lake and moving it to a new location. Built in the late 1800s, the timber frame structure at 1523 Plunkton Road sits on eight acres slated for purchase by the National Forest this fall.

“This is the last of three parcels at Blueberry Lake that we have been helping to add to the National Forest,” said Julie Iffland, senior project manager for the Trust for Public Land, which currently owns the house. “The building is not suited to the Forest Service’s needs, however, so we are working to remove it before they take ownership this fall. Our hope is that it can be reused elsewhere in the Mad River Valley by an affordable housing organization.”

“The Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership’s primary mission is to conserve land, but we are also interested in working with the community to ensure that the Valley’s housing needs are met,” said Tara Hamilton, spokesperson for the Partnership, which contributed funds to support the conservation of land around Blueberry Lake. “With all the ongoing efforts to come up with viable solutions for affordable housing, it makes sense to try to save this historic house so that it can be adapted and used by someone in the Valley. We are optimistic that this project will accomplish the complementary goals of saving valuable land, preserving historic resources, and facilitating reasonably priced housing.”

Formerly part of the Gove dairy farm, the 2,000-square-foot farmhouse on Plunkton Road includes a living room, kitchen, three bedrooms and one bathroom. It is structurally sound and comes complete with wood floors, an oil furnace, a wood-burning stove, and replacement windows. Interested parties should contact Josh Kelly at (802) 223-1373 ext. 23.

Over the past two years, the Forest Service has purchased roughly 510 acres of land around Blueberry Lake, and the purchase of this eight-acre parcel will virtually complete their ownership of the lake’s shorefront. The Town of Warren also played a critical role in making this conservation effort possible by taking ownership of the dam on Blueberry Lake and four adjacent acres. A mix of forestland, wetlands, and open meadow, the Blueberry Lake area provides outstanding opportunities for recreation and includes important habitat for songbirds, black bear, and other wildlife.

The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since then, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including approximately 25,000 acres in Vermont. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs.