275 Acres at Risk

The town of Dummerston, Vermont borders Brattleboro. In 1960, there were about 300 houses in Dummerston. Today, there are about 800. Towns throughout the Connecticut river valley have seen similar growth in the number of houses, the vast majority of which are single family homes that require a car to get to, not apartments like those in downtown Northampton, where residents may live car free.

Now, the Nature Conservancy is trying to save 275 acres of wilderness in Dummerston. The land borders 593 acres of land that the Conservancy has already saved from so-called “development.” The land is on Black Mountain, which in June is covered with blooming white mountain laurels, in whose branches live scarlet tanagers. Those birds are normally bright green but when the males want to breed they turn bright red. Their wings are always black. Scarlet tanagers fly from Vermont to South America for the winter.

There are hiking trails on Black Mountain that lead to two summits. The trail to one of the summits starts at the West river. From the other summit – accessed from a trailhead on Black Mountain Road -- one can see a long stretch of the Connecticut River, some of the West River, Vermont's Mount Snow, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. More information, including how to donate, is at:

www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/vermont/...

The Nature Conservancy needs money to buy the land. If you don't have money to donate, you can call your member of Congress or, if you live in Vermont, the governor and your state legislators and ask them to fund the project with government money. If you live in Dummerston, you can ask the same of the Dummerston select board. The Nature Conservancy also accepts volunteers.

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