Green Mountain Club purchases land to preserve Long Trail

Another stretch of Vermont’s Long Trail is protected. That’s as The Green Mountain Club secures a deal to buy another 100-foot stretch, or about 13 acres, in Jo
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:14 AM EST
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JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) - Another stretch of Vermont’s Long Trail has been protected as part of a deal with the Green Mountain Club to buy 13 acres in the town of Johnson.

The Green Mountain Club, Trust for Public Land, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation have conserved the Judevine Headwaters property. It will now be owned and managed by the state as part of Long Trail State Forest.

The GMC helps manage the trail and says these deals with private landowners only happen every few years and get the club closer to its goal of preserving all 272 miles of the nation’s oldest continuous footpath.

“Sometimes the ability to have that trail be open to the public is at risk, so the club really works with private landowners -- just willing landowners -- and tries to come up with some conservation arrangement,” said the GMC’s Mike Debonis. He says they have been eying the Johnson section for decades. “It’s an important link in the chain. And so we protect this piece of the Long Trail, but it also creates a buffer for the state land. There’s a really narrow strip of state land the trail is on so it enables land managers a little bit more flexibility in managing the trail in the future.”

The club bought the land for $80,000 when it came up for sale, funded by a partnership between the state and multiple organizations. Gannon Osborn with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources says the purchase allows for a parking lot to be built, essentially adding a new trailhead to the area. “This area actually, there were people who were parking on the road. So, this is actually where we think that this could improve safety for accessing the trail and getting people off the roadway,” Osborn said. The $10,000 lot will have six to 10 spaces and should be open by summer.

The Green Mountain Club said they have six miles of private land left on the Long Trail they want to acquire, but that it’s not easy to come by. Debonis says those properties are either not for sale or the landowners aren’t interested in selling them right now.