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Vermont Land Trust, Freidin conserve New Haven open space

NEW HAVEN — Gail Freidin is working with the Vermont Land Trust to donate a conservation easement on 74 acres of her property on Munger Street. The land is a scenic and productive mix of open meadows and forest.
Fifty acres of cropland are used by the nearby Butler dairy farm.
“I’ve raised my family here and I have a strong attachment to this area,” Freidin said, reflecting on her decision to conserve her land. “It’s important to keep these larger parcels like mine intact and protected. I feel fortunate to own this resource and I want it to remain productive and undeveloped for future generations.”
Freidin’s property abuts a farm already conserved with the Vermont Land Trust and is located near a large block of conserved farmland on River Road.
“Conserving blocks of land in an area helps maintain the critical mass of open land that farms need to thrive,” said Al Karnatz of the Vermont Land Trust. “Gail’s property is a good agricultural resource for the community and has other natural benefits.”
One of those natural benefits is 19 acres of clayplain forest that is found on the property. Clayplain forests support a particular mix of plant species, some common and some rare. It is dominated by hemlock and other species including sweet birch, sugar maple, white pine, American elm and a wide variety of ferns. Because the soil that these forests thrive on is so fertile, most clayplain forest in the valley was cut down and the land converted to farmland.
The Champlain Valley’s clayplain forests are also very important to wildlife.
“These patches of forest are like stepping stones for animals moving through the Champlain Valley,” said conservation biologist Liz Thompson, who assessed the land for the land trust. The forest on Freidin’s land is part of a larger forest that is one of the best examples of this forest type in the Champlain Valley, Thompson added.
“This stretch of forest has been a conservation priority for years,” she said.
The Vermont Land Trust helps landowners and communities conserve land through the use of a conservation easement — a legal tool that limits development on productive farmland and forestland, and other meaningful natural and community places. Landowners continue to own, manage, and pay taxes on the land and can sell their land; however, the conservation easement permanently remains on the property, so anyone who buys the property must liv up to the terms of the conservation plan.

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