Friday, February 27, 2009

Riverfront Farmland and Wildlife Habitat Conserved in Bath, NH

BATH, NH—Lackie Farm, a unique riverfront property, will be protected forever from future development. The purchase of a conservation easement by the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) on the 171 acre parcel was made possible through the support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, with further assistance from the Town of Bath.

The property has been owned by the Lackie family for over 60 years. Cecile Lackie said, “I remember when I first heard about the possibility of conserving the land; I felt a real sense of relief knowing that it could stay in the family.” The eight Lackie siblings were able to collaborate throughout the conservation process and reach a successful outcome. It remains a family gathering place for 4th of July and Christmas celebrations that feature bonfires and snowmobiling. Immediately following the land’s conservation, Steve Lackie became the sole owner of the property. He says, “It’s nice to keep the property open, as more and more other land in the area becomes developed.”

Situated near the confluence of the Ammonoosuc and Connecticut Rivers, the Lackie Farm lies just north of the downtown area of Woodsville. The farm supported a dairy until 1996; currently, Steve Lackie makes hay, which he sells to local farmers, with grass grown on the important agriculture soils along the river. The land includes two islands with floodplain forests in the Connecticut River which “afford excellent stopover habitat and some nesting habitat for migratory songbirds,” according to Barry Parrish, Refuge Manager of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The forested hillside rises from the farmland along Route 135 to a peak approximately 1,216 feet in elevation and is visible for miles around.

The protection of the Lackie Farm preserves scenic views along the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway and of Woodsville from “The Lookout,” a ridgetop clearing that the Lackies have kept open to the public. Steve Lackie says that the moderate hike up to “The Lookout” is well worth it for the view. The property’s significant river frontage (over 1 mile), includes unique islands, ledges, wetland areas, and seasonal streams within a stretch of the Connecticut River referred to as “The Narrows.” This is a popular location for fishermen and includes important habitat for wildlife. Conservation of the wooded slopes prevents development that could degrade unique wildlife habitat in an ecologically important region of the Connecticut River watershed.

According to the Town’s Selectmen, “The Town of Bath deeply appreciates the commitment of the Lackie family to the memory of their parents, Rita R. Lackie and Harry Lackie, Jr. and to the interests of the Town in preserving the Lackie Farmstead and its overlook of the unique Connecticut River frontage below the Narrows. This grant protects great scenic views, fabulous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. The Lackie Family Grant also allows the public to enjoy a beautiful property.”

Judy Tumosa of the Bath Conservation Commission, says of the Lackie's conservation of their land: "They are protecting Connecticut River frontage, great scenic views, fabuous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. They are also allowing the public to be able to enjoy a beautiful property in perpituity. It is a great gift to the town of Bath."

The permanent conservation of community-defining landscapes with historic and cultural significance as found in the Lackie Farm is a valuable accomplishment that will ensure the lasting legacy of the region’s traditional agricultural way of life, and will permanently protect scenic resources that have long inspired people in the Bath area.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Patchen Miller Internship

Applications are being accepted now! Visit our Jobs & Internships page or contact Peter Helm, Vice President Stewardship, (603) 643-6626 ext. 104, or for more information.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition Legislative Day

Governor Douglas has proposed significant cuts to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board budget and a one-year freeze on conservation projects. With these potential cuts in mind, please join us for:

Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition Legislative Day
Thursday, February 26th, 6am-4pm, State House, Montpelier

Vermont's State House in Winter
photo by Marie Charboneau

Conservation can't wait! Please set aside February 26th as a day to come to Montpelier to talk and advocate on behalf of VHCB funding.

Join UVLT and its supporters on the western side of the Connecticut River as we journey to Vermont's capitol to speak out in favor of funding for new conservation projects. We'll meet at 6am at UVLT's office, 19 Buck Road, Hanover, for coffee and snacks before departing at 6:15am for Montpelier. UVLT hopes to fill a 15-seat van with staff, members, and trustees. It promises to be a fun, informative trip! UVLT will provide materials for background on the issues to be addressed. Travelers can plan to be back in Hanover by 4pm. View a draft of the day's schedule.

Find out more at Call us at (603) 643-6626 or email for more information.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Upper Valley Land Trust and Vermont Earth Institute Now Accepting Registrations For Four-Week Global Warming Course

HANOVER, NH—in response to the growing awareness of global warming as a critical concern facing the planet and the region, the Upper Valley Land Trust and Vermont Earth Institute will sponsor a community discussion course entitled Global Warming: Changing CO2urse. The first session of the course will be Thursday, February 26th, from noon to 1:15pm at the Upper Valley Land Trust, 19 Buck Road, Hanover. The course will run for a total of four consecutive Thursdays.

Global Warming: Changing CO2urse offers citizens opportunities to learn more about the history and science of global warming, and explore personal values and habits as they relate to climate change and consider actions to curb global warming. Participants meet weekly to discuss selected articles and consider personal lifestyle choices as they relate to climate change.

“The Vermont Earth Institute encourages everyone to use their individual and collective power to shape an effective response to climate change,” says Barbara Duncan, VEI's Upper Valley Coordinator. “Global Warming: Changing CO2urse is a tremendous opportunity for citizens to gather to consider the implications of global warming, and more importantly, to explore ways in which to take action.”

The Upper Valley Land Trust has begun to brainstorm ways to encourage course participants and other interested parties to continue their engagement in fighting the causes of global warming in the Upper Valley. Recently, spikes in costs of petroleum products have wreaked havoc with budgets of school districts, commercial businesses, farms, and individuals. Earlier this year, it was difficult to find wood pellet stoves or even wood stoves due to increased demand. People throughout the region are considering a variety of alternative methods of home-heating. While the area experiences a small reprieve of exorbitant heating costs, there is no better time to investigate alternative ways to provide for the future.

Following the Global Warming: Changing CO2urse, UVLT will continue to investigate the relationship between energy and environmental stewardship by examining the impacts and opportunities of woodheat and biomass consumption. How can our region’s forest resources be used more sustainably for fuel and carbon sequestration? Contact Pete Helm, UVLT Vice President for Stewardship with comments or thoughts about this initiative at 603-643-6626 x104 or via email at

Global Warming: Changing CO2urse is one of seven courses offered by Vermont Earth Institute. Since 2000, VEI has helped more than 500 study groups across the state to gather in homes, community centers, work places and faith centers to engage issues such as voluntary simplicity, living sustainably, and raising healthy children in a consumer culture. To register for this course and obtain the course book anthology ($25), contact the Nora Doyle-Burr at the Upper Valley Land Trust at 603-643-6626 ext. 102, or

Monday, February 2, 2009

State Funding Enables Farmland Conservation in Bradford

BRADFORD, VT—With support from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Bradford Conservation Commission, the Upper Valley Land Trust recently purchased development rights and accepted a conservation easement on 57 acres owned by Roy and Sylvia Sweet in Bradford, VT. The property is vital to the Sweets dairy operation, one of the last three remaining in Topsham—now it will remain free from development forever.

The newly conserved land produces most of the corn used for the Sweets successful dairy farm. It was given to Roy and Sylvia Sweet by Sylvia’s parents and has been in her family for many years. Sylvia Sweet says that her grandchildren have taken an interest in the land, “This year our grandchildren raised some sweet corn on the property to sell at their own farm stand; it turned out to be a lot of work because we planted several varieties to ripen at different times, and we had to walk a ways to get out there and then had to carry it back, but they thought it was fun and want to do it again.”
The property’s location at the mouth of the Waits River, its significant riverine forest habitat, and agricultural value provide high conservation benefits to the community. Nancy Jones of the Bradford Conservation Commission said, “We had Oxbow students study the wildlife on the property and in the wetland a couple of years ago. They found turtles and beaver, and weasel and muskrat tracks.” In addition to its significant natural resource values, the land is in close proximity to other UVLT conserved lands along the Connecticut River.

The potential for public access has been granted in the conservation easement, offering significant birding and wildlife viewing opportunities. Nancy Jones of the Bradford Conservation Commission says, “This is a valuable public resource that we can’t get to right now because of the railroad tracks. But we are working to find a way that will allow us to build a trail and open it to the public.”

Over the past 5 years, UVLT has conserved 105 properties encompassing about 12,000 acres. Twenty-one of these properties, like the Sweet parcel, were conserved through the purchase of a conservation easement. These purchased conservation easements protect lands that had been a community's highest priority and/or resources considered significant statewide or nationally. To conserve these properties, UVLT used over $3 million awarded by state and federal agencies, town conservation funds and private foundations. The future of this funding is now in peril.

The conservation of the Sweet parcel may be the last project of its kind for some time, if Governor Douglas’ proposed budget is passed by the legislature. The proposal includes completely eliminating funding for the conservation portion of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s budget. Without funding to purchase easements, conservation work will become dependent on the ability of landowners to donate easements—this will severely limit the ability of the Upper Valley Land Trust, and other recipients of VHCB funding to protect Vermont’s working landscape.

UVLT has joined forces with a coalition of conservancies in Vermont to advocate for the continuance of state funding for the preservation of more working farms like the Sweets. The state and the region cannot afford to lose these vital elements of the local economy, especially during this difficult time. For more information about the “Conservation Can’t Wait” campaign, please visit