farmed already before 1850 and owned and occupied by only
four families before the McGraths (Aiken, Willey, Wilson &
Massey), consists of four parcels totaling 318.6 acres on
both sides of Town Highway #8, including active hayfields
of 68 acres and 240 acres of managed woodland. In December
2004 the McGraths donated an easement on the four parcels
to the GLT.
The property fronts on both TH#8 and
Hill Road for a total of 5,736 feet. The portion on the western
side of TH#8 adjoins, and extends beyond in both directions,
the entire eastern boundary of the Barr Hill Nature Preserve.
Together with easements on the two Hill properties, the McGraths'
easement creates a protected corridor connecting the Long
Pond Natural Area with Barr Hill. With only two gaps, the
corridor stretches from Baker Hill, overlooking Caspian Lake,
all the way to the Glover town line.
Also on the western parcel, the McGraths
have built a pond that attracts a variety of wildlife, including
moose, beaver and otters.
On the eastern side of TH#8, the protected
land includes a significant portion of Taylor Swamp, a large
open bog which has been found to include an intermediate fen
of both statewide and global significance. Vermont naturalist
Brett Engstrom reports that the fen contains two rare/uncommon
natural communities and four rare/uncommon vascular plant
The easement allows a maximum of two
residences in addition to the existing homestead complex,
which is defined as five acres straddling TH#8. The new residences
will be restricted to the western side of the road, which
accounts for the bulk of the acreage.
| In December 2011 the McGraths conserved a further 127 acres of their land, stretching nearly 4,000 feet along Baker Hill Road and Town Highway 8. An additional five acres constitutes a reserved homestead. Like the McGraths’ 2004 easement, the new parcel, which it abuts to the east, comprises over 80% high-quality forest. It significantly widens a band of conserved land stretching partway across the middle of Greensboro township. It also contains 22 acres of fields, the largest of which features prime agricultural soils. With the grant of this easement, the McGraths have donated over 40% of the 1,100 acres of Greensboro land conserved with the GLT.
The McGraths have reserved the right for themselves or future landowners to install a one-acre solar power array on the protected area as a permitted rural enterprise. The McGraths believe that future generations will prize solar power as a substitute for current sources, and that conservation easements should make allowance for this.
For further information contact Clive Gray, chair
at 802-533-2609 (Oct.-May) or 802-533-7723 (June-Sept).
Greensboro Land Trust, Box
135, Greensboro, VT 05841