Brownsville topography

An aerial view of the topography and features within the Brownsville forest.

Closed! The Stowe Land Trust now has the money in hand to buy the Brownsville Forest July 30.

At 750 acres, Brownsville Forest is the last large, undeveloped parcel of forest that can be protected in Stowe.

The land trust aimed to raise $5.75 million to buy the forest and conserve it, but donations reached almost $6 million, said Kristen Sharpless, the organization’s executive director.

The total includes a $175,000 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and a $5 million anonymous donation through the Vermont Community Foundation.

Contributions also include:

• A $75,000 challenge grant from a group of supporters, triggered last week when the number of donations reached 750 last week.

• “Coins for conservation” collected by more than 150 Stowe Elementary School students during the last two weeks of the school year.

“The level of participation in this fundraising effort far exceeded our expectations,” Sharpless said. “It is a reflection of the high value that all generations of this community place on conservation and a shared accomplishment of which we can be proud.”

The money donated to the Brownsville Forest campaign will cover the $5.5 million acquisition cost of the 750-acre forest, plus $250,000 in project costs, and contribution to the land trust's stewardship endowment.

“Protecting land is a long-term commitment to the community,” said Walter Frame, the land trust’s board chair. “The success of this campaign helps to ensure the land trust will have the resources required to care for Brownsville Forest and our other conserved lands well into the future.”

The land, adjacent to the C.C. Putnam State Forest, will be open and available to the public for non-motorized recreation, subject to a conservation easement held by the land trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and an interim management plan prepared by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

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