In these challenging times, access to the outdoors is more important than ever. Nature has taken on a whole new meaning for many of us, becoming a vital respite from anxiety, grief, and confinement. But access to the outdoors is not equal. Take the town of Huntington, Vermont, it’s the launch pad for the popular Burrows Trail and Forest City Trail to the peak of Camel’s Hump, but those steep and strenuous hikes are not accessible to all, and often over-crowded.

The citizens of Huntington have teamed up with The Trust for Public Land and Vermont Land Trust to create a new Community Forest right in Huntington Center, and adjacent to the Brewster Pierce Memorial School. This new 245-acre Community Forest offers flat and easy trails, access to the Huntington River, and a wild outdoor classroom for the 132 children of the adjacent elementary school.

RiseVT supported access The Trust for Public Land’s costs associated with community meetings around the proposed Huntington Community Forest in late 2019, which led to a resounding positive town vote at March Town Meeting: 737 out of 825 votes cast were in support of a bond towards acquisition of the property.  This was followed up by recent news of being ranked 2nd in the country for a federal Community Forest Program grant of $385,000.

Once all funds have been secured and the property is acquired by the Town, the property will not only provide new trails and places to explore, but will also protect the school’s drinking water source, significant wildlife habitat, and riparian areas and wetlands which will increase flood resiliency downstream.

Learn more about The Trust for Public Land’s efforts to bring parks and green spaces to communities that need them most and about the project in Huntington.