Nearly 3,000 acres of Forestland Protected in the Town of Westmore Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy protect notable Recreational and Natural Resource

Staff Writer

An exceptional opportunity to protect 2,965 acres of forestland surrounding Long Pond, in an area designated as a National Natural Landmark, came to fruition with the conservation of a property owned by Vincent and Louisa Dotoli, the Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy announced today.

This parcel joins Willoughby State Forest, Bald Hill Wildlife Management Area, private conservation land, and stretches of the broader northern forest that connects the U.S. and Canada. It has more than a mile of undeveloped frontage on 90-acre Long Pond and the entirety of 13-acre Mud Pond, along with popular hiking trails to Bald Mountain, Mount Pisgah and Haystack Mountain.

"In these times when the health of our forests is threatened, we are delighted by the opportunity to protect the Dotolis’ land,” said Gil Livingston, president of the Vermont Land Trust. "Conserving this spectacular forest will protect water quality, and ensure sustainable forest management, wildlife habitat connectivity and public access to an important trail network. It is a homerun for Vermont’s effort to protect important forestland. We sincerely thank the Dotoli family and The Nature Conservancy for joining us in fulfilling our shared vision for a large, healthy working forest—serving our economy, enjoyed by our citizens, and supporting the resilience of our wildlife for generations to come."

This forestland has been recognized for its excellent ecological assets. The property is located within a cross-border region that is a conservation priority for Two Countries One Forest, the Open Space Institute, the Staying Connected Initiative, and Corridor Appalachian.
The property includes more than eight miles of frontage on 22 streams that form the headwaters of the Willoughby, Passumpsic, and Clyde Rivers—all located within the international Memphremagog watershed. Protecting these waterways secures the natural drainage system of the land and its water quality.

The land has five summits and many smaller knobs that are above 2000 feet in elevation. These provide stepping stones of montane and boreal habitat—features that are threatened by climate change—in close proximity. The property will become a part of a protected block of land that now totals more than 15,000 acres, making it well suited for migrating large mammals.

“The interconnectedness of our forests is essential for wildlife to meet their life needs,” states Heather Furman, Vermont State Director of The Nature Conservancy. “TNC’s science identifies critical wildlife corridors like the ones found on the Dotoli parcel, used by moose, bear, otter, fisher cat and lynx. This conservation success celebrates intact forests and their multiple benefits such as improved water and air quality, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat protection. We are grateful to the Dotoli family for their vision and proud to help secure these values for future generations of Vermonters.”

The Dotolis have owned the land since the late 1980s. As a result of their excellent stewardship, the property has a good network of logging roads and forestry-access trails. With the conservation easement in place, the Dotolis will continue to own and manage the property.