Bristol will use Johnson bequest for outdoor efforts

BRISTOL — The Bristol selectboard has decided the fate of a generous bequest left to the town by the estate of Andrew Johnson.
The town will invest the $103,008 and use the interest annually to fund trees, trails and forest-related projects in Johnson’s memory.
Johnson, who died in 2014, was a longtime Bristol resident who served not only on the town selectboard but also on the Addison County Regional Planning Commission and the Mount Abraham Union High School board. His family’s business, A. Johnson Lumber Co., is located in Bristol.
Johnson also helped start the grassroots movement that culminated in the Vermont billboard law.
Bristol was notified last year that it would receive the bequest. By the end of the year the selectboard had collected from townspeople more than 75 suggestions about how to spend the money. Many of those suggestions were tree-related.
“Trees were his life,” said selectboard member John “Peeker” Heffernan at a meeting last month. “My thought is, you invest the money and use it for tree replacement around the village.”
When he expanded the idea to include trails and forest projects, the board adopted it.
Implicit in that pledge was that future selectboards, no matter how they invested the interest, should “talk about it and remember Andrew Johnson.”

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