Families have been enjoying the beauty and splendor of Lake Morey and its surrounding hills in Fairlee for generations. The lake gathers far flung family members for holidays and vacations, and provides an idyllic location for year round activities.
According to the Lake Morey Association, a local 501(c)(3) dedicated to protecting the lake environment, the lake has played a pivotal tole in the development of to town, one of the oldest lake communities in Vermont. The first seasonal lake front cottage was built in the 1880’s, and soon thereafter other cottages, summer camps, and inns followed, dotting the shoreline as its popularity grew. An intense sense of tradition surrounds the Lake Morey community, and the extraordinary setting keeps families coming back year after year.
With an eye towards protecting and enhancing this environment, the Lake Morey Foundation joined forces with UVLT to protect 148 hillside acres. Development threatened this property, which forms the eastern scenic backdrop to the lake. In an inspiring grassroots effort, the Lake Morey Foundation raised more than $400,000 in late 2017 to purchase this property. In June of 2018, they gave the land to UVLT to own and manage for conservation stewardship.
The property lies near another UVLT-owned property – Cliff’s Cliff at the Palisades – and is within a larger area identified as a “hot spot” by the VT agency of Natural Resources due to an abundance of rare, endangered, or threatened species. The property includes portions of a natural community, Hemlock-Sphagnum Acidic Basin Swamp, considered rare in the State of Vermont, and is said to contain vascular plants considered rare or extremely rare in the state. The eastern portion of the property buffers an active nesting area for peregrine falcons, making careful management of this area of critical importance to the success of the birds.
UVLT will manage the property for low-impact recreation and plans to promote opportunities for research and education on the property, while ensuring that the unique natural resources found on the property are not compromised. Following a natural resource inventory and assessment, hiking trails on the property will be designed to encourage public enjoyment while protecting the scenic qualities and special habitat features of this special place.