The Cambridge Conservation Commission and Vermont Land Trust are teaming up with a local landowner to create a nature preserve in Cambridge.
The organizations are working with Sally Laughlin to establish the Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve just off North Cambridge Road, near the Cambridge State Forest. Krusch, Laughlin’s husband, died in 2018.
Krusch had worked with the Vermont Land Trust for years to conserve 27 acres of his land and create a preserve.
Laughlin has proposed adding 24 more acres, and a fundraising campaign is planned to raise the $145,000 needed to buy the land and complete the creation of the nature preserve.
“We’re paying far lower than market value,” said Justin Marsh, a member of the Cambridge Conservation Commission.
To raise awareness about the fund drive and plans for the nature preserve, two community trail walks are scheduled for this fall. The first is this Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m., the other on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m.
“This nature preserve will add incredible value to the town and finally allow public accessibility to the Cambridge State Forest,” Marsh said. The state forest is an old-growth pine forest that many locals don’t know about.
Right now the best public access to the old-growth forest is through Mountain View Cemetery on Bartlett Hill Road.
The Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve “will allow access via North Cambridge Road” and also through the nature preserve itself, Marsh said.
Ultimately, organizers would like to build a small parking lot nearby.
“It’s a well-kept secret,” Marsh said about the state forest, and he hopes the nature preserve will spark more interest in it.
Organizers hope to get a $50,000 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust to help create the preserve, leaving $95,000 to raise.
Actual fundraising won’t begin until next spring, but the organizers want to raise awareness of what’s being planned, and what it will do for Cambridge. Hence, the two community trail walks.
“We’re doing events this fall to get the community engaged with the land, and familiar with it,” Marsh said. “It will be a long process.”
Anyone interested in the Sept. 22 walk should meet on Forge Road, just off Pumpkin Harbor Road Road between the intersections with Bartlett Hill and North Cambridge roads.