Throughout Vermont, a rural way of life—with its traditions, culture, and resulting landscape—is disappearing. The increasingly fragmented ownership of large parcels of woodlands, the steady suburbanization of Vermont’s hillsides, and the decline in the number of working farms have changed land use patterns across the state. The speed at which the landscape is changing prompted The National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2004 to identify Vermont as one of the most endangered historic places in America.
Rural Vermont’s landscape is at a critical turning point.
Smokey House Center is uniquely poised to address this problem: Our 5,000 acre property is not a conservation preserve, but rather is a vibrant, productive landscape. By using our land to foster innovative new farming practices, keep prime agricultural land in production, and harvest timber, we boost the local rural economy. At the same time, our education programs provide critically needed education and job-training services for students in the area – the very students whose labor will be needed to perpetuate the working landscape.
We are seeking to develop a farmer equity program in which tenant farmers will directly benefit from conservation of additional acreage.
Conservation by the numbers:
- In 2002 and 2010, SHC conveyed development rights to New England Forestry Foundation on approximately 4,500 acres meaning this land will never be developed. This land is used for forestry and agriculture.
- In 2014, SHC conserved an additional 245 acres.
- We are pursuing options to conserve additional land.