The Nature Conservancy views each piece as vital to preserving and improving the important natural communities along the Equinox Highlands.Rich northern hardwood forests on the lower slopes and sub-alpine montane growth at the higher elevations are invaluable to the overall preservation of the local forestland, fauna and flora.
There are two separate tracts of land belonging to the Hodges estate. One is a 30-acre parcel to the southwest side of the popular Pond Loop Trail around Equinox Pond, between EPT lands and the acreage preserved by the New England Forestry Foundation. The other site sits above 2,200-feet elevation at the upper most southwest corner abutting the Preserve; it contains 37 acres.
As area residents well know, the Equinox Preserve is hugely popular for walking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and mountain biking. Whether one uses the expansive trail system frequently, or recognizes its value to area visitors, preserving the lands of Equinox Mountain provide a tremendous natural asset to all who live and visit here. Located behind Burr and Burton Academy, both Manchester area residents along with TNC and the Vermont Land Trust have played a key role in protecting the 914 acres to date. By adding these additional 67 acres to the preserve, important pieces of the conservation puzzle will be secured in perpetuity.
The conservation value of these lands includes the exceptional example of rich northern hardwood forests, five uncommon plants and an important habitat for several endangered or threatened bat species. The Equinox Preservation Trust maintains the trail system and conducts numerous educational programs featuring the conservation importance of the lands of Equinox Mountain. The Nature Conservancy has a grant commitment from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Fund provided it can raise an additional $21,000 from private donations to complement the total $52,000 purchase price for the two properties.
As TNC's fundraising material reminds local residents, "We have created a Land, Legacy and Future Fund to honor our president Bob Klein, who is retiring after leading the Vermont chapter for 34 years."
TNC and local trail users are asking area residents to consider a year-end, tax deductible donation to TNC to finalize the conservation of these additional 67 acres, which will be incorporated into the overall EPT management plan for properly preserving and maintaining these valued lands. Donations of all amounts are strongly encouraged to secure these additional parcels for today and for future generations.
Contributions can be sent to The Nature Conservancy, 27 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.
For further information, contact Jennifer Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 802-229-4425, ext. 104.