Victory, Vermont

Background:

View to Umpire Mountain

Vermont’s forests are integral to the environmental and economic sustainability of New England. These forests provide wildlife habitat, clean air and water, timber resources,  recreational opportunities, and greenhouse gas storage capacity. These critical services are being threatened by real estate development, land fragmentation, and unsustainable logging. New approaches to conservation finance have the potential to strengthen existing forest protection investments and to help ensure long‐term sustainability.

Objective:

To conserve at least 95 percent of 1,078 forested acres in Victory, Vermont, through carbon offsets and other funding methods. Ideally, this project will serve as a model for
future initiatives.

Land Details:

• Contiguous with 20,000 acres of unfragmented state lands surrounding the Victory Basin; and nearly contiguous with over 130,000 acres of conserved forests of the former Champion Lands.

• Separated by a few miles of forest from Burke Mountain ski resort, where 1,000 units of housing including chalets, condos and single‐family homes, as well as a golf course are planned to be developed.

• Primarily Northern Hardwood and Spruce‐Fir Forests, which were heavily cut and need to regenerate.

• Rolling terrain with steep sections on south side of Umpire Mountain (3,051’). Elevations range from approximately 1,400’ to 2,600’.

• Good access to property along Victory Hill Road, which is maintained by the town year round.

Ecosystem Services

Corridor expansion and habitat protection:  This property will add to an existing area of conserved land that reaches across northeastern Vermont. The property is part of the upland ecosystem of the Victory Basin, which is an important habitat for species including the Lynx, Spotted Salamander, Snowshoe Hare, Black Bear, Moose, and Spruce Grouse.

Watershed protection:  The property drains into the Moose River, a tributary of the Passumpsic River, and is part of the larger Connecticut River Watershed. Protecting this forest from unsustainable logging will help regulate the water cycle and reduce erosion, which in turn will improve the health of the local rivers as well as the Connecticut River, one of the Nation’s 14 American Heritage Rivers.

Recreation: The land parcel, which has skidder roads and trails throughout, provide a variety of mixed terrain hiking opportunities. The trails offer beautiful views of the White Mountains, Burke Mountain, and Umpire Mountain. These trails can be linked to the Kingdom Trails, a nationally recognized trail network including over 100 miles of mountain bike and cross‐country ski trails.

Viewshed: The property forms one of the few remaining unbroken stretches of wildland in New England. This unique aesthetic value may be lost as development continues in the area.

Climate stabilization: A 125 year‐old Hardwood Forest of this size can store more than 750 thousand tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by 136,000 Americans annually.

Air quality protection: Through photosynthesis and respiration, trees remove nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone, and other pollutants from the atmosphere. Preserving this forest will therefore contribute to local and regional air quality protection.