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Green Mountain National Forest, the home of the Long Trail, is 90 years old, but it’s still growing: The U.S. Forest Service announced this week that it would partner with the Trust for Public Land to acquire 2,100 new acres of woods that abuts the forest’s current borders. The result could offer new recreational opportunities and a bigger buffer between civilization and some of the region’s best trails.
The Long Trail is situated within a mile of two of three parcels of land that are up for purchase. Constructed in the early 1900s, the Long Trail is generally considered one of the most challenging trails in the country. The USFS land acquisition could solidify the trail’s remote character by creating more green space around both it and the Appalachian Trail.
“It really ruins your wilderness experience if someone builds a subdivision half a mile from the trail,” Kate Wanner, the senior project manager at the Trust for Public Land’s Vermont office explained to the Vermont Digger.
The Trust for Public Land is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to expanding recreational opportunities by creating a higher level of natural access. Founded in 1972, the organization’s latest mission is expected to substantially impact Vermont recreation by adding land, pedestrian access, and snowmobiling trails to the Green Mountain National Forest.
The three parcels of land that are currently in the Trust for Public Land’s sights are owned by Park Forestry, a private company that purchases land with the hopes of eventually putting it under conservation. Park Forestry acquired the parcels over the course of a decade, and says it has been using them for sustainable logging while it waits for a possible sale to materialize.
The TPL and USFS will largely finance the sale with $2.1 million dollars of congressional funding granted to Vermont through the Mammoth Bill earlier this year. TPL says it will take an additional $128,000 to fully cover costs like title acquisition and legal fees. It could take until 2023 for the sale to be finalized.