Brothers Create Harold and Blendina Sargent Preserve at Fairlee Palisades
Three brothers have honored their parents by creating the Harold and Blendina Sargent Preserve in Fairlee. Benson, Paul, and Harold Sargent donated a 14 acre property to be owned by UVLT and managed as a natural area. The new preserve lies adjacent to the Fairlee Palisades and near other conservation lands owned by UVLT: the Morey Mountain Conservation Area and Cliff’s Cliff.
The brothers grew up on the land after their parents bought it in 1945, and the family used their land for forestry, sugaring, hunting, and recreating. According to stories told by the brothers, Paul shot his first buck at the height of land on the property when he was 12 years old and, as boys, they once tried (unsuccessfully) to trap a bobcat in the area. In the spring, school children at the elementary school would gather and study wildflowers on this and neighboring properties on Morey Mountain.
Benson, Paul, and Harold Sargent gifted the land to UVLT in June to honor their parents and ensure that a place so dear to them as boys would always remain the same and permanently protected.
Before the construction of I-91, the 14 acres was part of a larger tract that ran from Fairlee’s Main Street part way up the steep cliff face west of the village. The highway cut off access to the land in the early 1970’s, creating this landlocked parcel that the siblings later inherited from their parents. Though the steeply sloped land is largely inaccessible, it is part of an important ecological area that is considered a “hot spot” by the VT Agency of Natural Resources due to an abundance of rare, endangered, and threatened species. An Agency botanist recommended that this property be protected.
In addition to having rare plants, the new preserve is close to UVLT’s Cliff’s Cliff Conservation Area used as a nesting site by Peregrine Falcons – a federally protected species. The Upper Valley Land Trust thanks Benson, Paul, and Harold Sargent for their forethought in protecting this rich natural area. We are proud to establish the Harold and Blendina Sargent Preserve and will manage this special place to protect its unique resources and those of the larger Morey Mountain area.