Vermont seeking to buy, conserve 350 acres in Wallingford

January 29, 2022 GMT

WALLINGFORD, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is seeking to buy and conserve nearly 350 acres of land in Wallingford that would be added to the existing Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Kate Wanner of the Trust for Public Land, which is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife on the purchase, says the town will be compensated for the loss in taxes through the state’s payment in lieu of taxes program.

Wanner told the Wallingford select board earlier this month that the land is owned by three entities. One of those entities is in the process of selling 481 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest.

The Rutland Herald reports the state’s primary reason for buying the 347 acres along U.S. Route 7 is for flood mitigation. The land includes healthy wetlands and other areas that were drained and used as farmland.

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“Those wetlands along Route 7 will be restored to their normal wetland function, so improving the flood resilience, improving the water quality functions that they should be serving,” she said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife would manage the land. It would be open to hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, boating, wildlife watching, cross-country skiing, and other non-motorized uses.