Dartmouth Places Easement on Corinth Property

Collaboration with Orange County Headwaters Project and Upper Valley Land Trust preserves 700 acres in Vermont

HANOVER, NH ­ Dartmouth is supporting a local conservation initiative by placing an easement on its 700-acre property in Corinth, Vermont, located about 35 miles northwest of campus. Given to the College in the 1920s, the property is in an area with highly productive forest land prioritized for conservation by the non-profit Orange County Headwaters Project (OCHP).

Dartmouth President James Wright completed the transaction on Fri., Dec., 19, 2008, with representatives of the OCHP and the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT).

“Dartmouth welcomed this opportunity to work with the UVLT and the OCHP to support this local effort,” says Dartmouth Provost Barry Scherr. “The easement we’ve placed on this property is consistent with Dartmouth’s long-term ownership goals as it will enable our existing forestry-related activities to continue while providing better long-term opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental research.”

The UVLT, a regional land conservancy, will hold the conservation easement. UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre says, “Working to preserve this land represents a comprehensive approach and a productive working relationship between the Upper Valley Land Trust, the OCHP, and Dartmouth. Our more than 1,300 members invest in outcomes like this, and healthy, stable forests benefit the entire region.”

Timber harvesting activities on the property will continue. “It’s a beautiful piece of land, and it’s one of our more productive sites,” says College Forester Kevin Evans, who notes that due to the elevation the trees are mostly sugar maple, yellow birch, and white ash hardwoods. In the 1990s, white ash logged from the property was used in building the new McLane Family Lodge at the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, N.H. Other rights retained by the College include the ability to construct and maintain trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, biking and other recreational activities, to construct a limited number of supporting recreational structures, and to use the property for various research and educational purposes.

“The large, contiguous tracts of undeveloped land here are becoming rarer in the Upper Valley, and are critical to the conservation of the rural working landscape,” says Virginia Barlow, a resident of Corinth and the co-coordinator of the OCHP. “The Dartmouth parcel is one of the largest, and it has great value for present and future forestry, wildlife, and recreational uses. We’re excited about its permanent protection and very grateful for the College’s support.”

Located at the headwaters of three rivers ­ the Waits, the White, and the Winooski ­ the Orange County headwaters region is home to a large number of working farms and forests. The area’s significant wetlands, miles of streams, and extensive woodlands provide especially diverse habitat for plants and animals. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that the Eastern Small-Footed bat, one of the state’s five most endangered mammals, lives in this area.