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Victory Hill property becomes permanent conservation area

An American marten looks into the camera as it climbs a tree. It's very fuzzy and reddish-brown colored.
Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Parts of the newly protected land at Victory Hill will be restored as habitat for the state-endangered American marten, a member of the weasel family.

Two big swaths of land — roughly 600 acres — on Victory Hill in the Northeast Kingdom will now be permanently open to the public and protected from development. The people involved in the conservation effort say the move protects the views from the popular mountain biking trails there.

The landowner worked with the Trust for Public Land to protect the property, and the Long Island Sound Regional Conservation Partnership Program funded the project. The new conservation area includes high elevation spruce-fir forest and low lying wetlands, including a cedar swamp.

The property is nestled up against 27,000 acres of protected land in the Victory and Darling State Forests as well as the Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area.

Shelby Semmes, who leads the Trust for Public Land in Vermont, says big stretches of conserved land are critical as plants and animals move north to adapt to climate change.

"The Appalachian Mountain region is one of the most important corridors of movement for successful migration of species really in North America," Semmes says.

The Trust for Public Land says they'll work to restore important habitat there for the state-endangered American marten, a member of the weasel family. Researchers have found marten populations in the Northeast Kingdom and part of the southern Green Mountain National Forest.

According to Semmes, the newly protected area is situated in a particularly biodiverse part of the region.

"The Victory Hill Basin, kind of anchored by the Victory Hill State Forest, is a really tremendous biodiversity hot spot in the state of Vermont and really regionally within the northern forest," Semmes says.

The Trust for Public Land says it's also looking to conserve nearby land along the Moose River in Concord. The land includes a popular stretch for whitewater paddling.

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Abagael is Vermont Public's climate and environment reporter, focusing on the energy transition and how the climate crisis is impacting Vermonters — and Vermont’s landscape.

Abagael joined Vermont Public in 2020. Previously, she was the assistant editor at Vermont Sports and Vermont Ski + Ride magazines. She covered dairy and agriculture for The Addison Independent and got her start covering land use, water and the Los Angeles Aqueduct for The Sheet: News, Views & Culture of the Eastern Sierra in Mammoth Lakes, Ca.
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