Zack Woods Added to Green River Reservoir State Park
Almost 400 acres of land have been purchased and added to Green River Reservoir State Park in northern Vermont, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities and protecting valuable wildlife habitat, The Trust for Public Land and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation announced today.
The 393 acres, known as “Zack Woods,” have been added to the existing 5,110 acres that currently make up Green River Reservoir State Park. The new tract includes 11 undeveloped bodies of water, including Zack Woods Pond, Perch Pond and the last unprotected stretch of shore on Green River Reservoir. It is popular with recreational users for swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, and skiing on the Catamount Trail.
“The Friends of Zack Woods have been trying to protect this special property for years and we were happy to help them succeed,” said Rodger Krussman, Vermont director of The Trust for Public Land. “This effort shows what happens when everyone comes together to save land for Vermonters to enjoy with their families.”
“On behalf of all Vermonters, we are thrilled to have this valuable resource added to one of the jewels of our state park system,” remarked Michael Snyder, Vermont’s commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
The Trust for Public Land facilitated the State’s acquisition of land from Morrisville Water and Light, the Judkins family and Mary Harris. The $1.47 million to buy the land came from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, and other state sources.
The land was a high priority the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and is considered a Lamoille Basin gem by both scientists and local residents.
The federal Forest Legacy Program provides money to states to protect threatened forests. It comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., author of the Forest Legacy Program, said “This Forest Legacy project will ensure that Zack Woods remains a public and open destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. Along with its vast recreational opportunities, this project also helps conserve an important Vermont aquatic resource, which is evident by the broad array of partners I worked with to make sure this project received Forest Legacy funds.”
“Our forest lands are part of our heritage as a state, a heritage we must maintain to protect Vermont’s unique character, said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. “Zack Woods will preserve a significant natural asset for future generations of Vermonters. I applaud the work of public and private entities in working together so successfully to preserve this land.”
“What makes Vermont so unique is its rural landscape, which surrounds Vermonters with the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that define our state,” said U.S. Rep. Peter Welch. “This project ensures that Vermonters will be able to enjoy this local treasure for years to come. Many thanks to all of the partners who have worked hard to protect this true Vermont landmark.”
Deirdre Raimo, the regional Forest Legacy Program Manager, said, “The Forest Service applauds the hard work of our partners to conserve this important forest land.”
The Friends of Zack Woods, local landowners, and Morrisville Water & Light were committed to seeing the properties preserved, said Sue Premo, a founder of The Friends of Zack Woods.
Sally Laughlin, President of the Friends of Green River Reservoir, also praised the conservation, saying, “The beauty of this property will only grow in value for each coming generation.”
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 40 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.