To the Editor:

Stowe Land Trust has always strived to include all members of the Stowe area community in our work and values the support and participation of a variety of people and organizations with a diversity of perspectives, views and interests.

The more than 750 donations made to the trust’s Brownsville Forest campaign, including those from the Vermont Trappers Association and other sporting community organizations, made it possible to conserve 750 acres of high-quality forest habitat that may otherwise have been lost to development by creating a new State Forest, and to expand the Stowe Land Trust’s stewardship endowment for the care of all lands it has conserved.

All donations made to this important conservation effort were needed, important and appreciated. A donor list is available on our website at stowelandtrust.org/conserved/properties/Brownsville. Thank you for your support.

The Stowe Land Trust encourages donations and gifts for purposes that will help it further and fulfill its mission to conserve scenic, recreational and productive farm and forest lands for the benefit of the greater Stowe community. When it comes to protecting our wildlife, our focus is on the conservation — or wise use — of farm, forest and recreation lands that include high-quality habitat. We use science-based data and analysis to inform which habitats — like the forests of the Worcester Range and Shutesville Hill Wildlife Corridor — are most crucial to keep intact and connected so the full range of wild animals, plants and other species have a chance to thrive on our landscape.

For decisions about management of wildlife species and populations, as well as the ethics of particular legal hunting & trapping practices, the Stowe Land Trust relies on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to determine rules and regulations that are humane, socially acceptable, and maintain wildlife populations at sustainable levels.

The only land trust-conserved properties on which we prohibit trapping, and in some cases hunting, are the few small parcels that we directly own and manage, which include Wiessner and Kirchner Woods. In all other cases, the Stowe Land Trust does not own the land and instead serves as a guardian by holding a permanent conservation easement.

On these properties, which include both public and private land, hunting, trapping and fishing within the constraints of current laws and regulations are either permitted or left up to the landowner’s discretion to allow or restrict.

Like all other Vermont state forests — including Pinnacle Meadow, Hunger Mountain, Cotton Brook and Mount Mansfield State Forest — Brownsville-Story Ridge Forest is now open to the public for a variety of recreational uses, which include hunting and trapping per the policies of the landowner: the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

The Stowe Land Trust is committed to helping to educate visitors to Stowe’s conserved lands about the uses that are allowed on each property; please check out the Explore Map on our website for specific information or contact our office at 802-253-7221 or info@stowelandtrust.org with questions.

Anyone with questions or concerns about Stowe Land Trust projects or programs is always encouraged to stop by our office at 6 Sunset St. in Stowe village or to contact our staff or any of our board members directly to have a conversation and learn more about our policies and the work we do on behalf of our community.

Kristen Sharpless

Executive director

Stowe Land Trust

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