August 30, 2010
WATERBURY – Over ten years in the making, the State of Vermont, the Green Mountain Club, and Jay Peak Resort have reached agreement on a major land exchange at Jay Peak. The parties are scheduled to close on the initial phase of the exchange on August 31 at a ceremony at Jay Peak Resort. When completed later this year, the land exchange will provide additional protection to the Long Trail, conserve important high elevation natural resources along the spine of the Green Mountains near Jay Peak, enhance outdoor recreation opportunities on Jay State Forest, and improve the economic viability of Jay Peak Resort.
This land exchange represents the culmination of more than a decade of negotiations between the Green Mountain Club, Jay Peak Resort, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. The Vermont legislature passed a Joint Resolution in 1999 authorizing this land exchange and the project was originally on track to be completed in 2002. While a variety of circumstances prevented Jay Peak Resort from finalizing the land exchange details at that time, the project has remained a priority for all three organizations involved.
This past spring, the ski area signaled that it was once again ready and eager to pursue this land exchange. “We view this land exchange as critical to Jay Peak’s ability to provide enhanced skier services to the public”, said Jay Peak President Bill Stenger. As part of the land exchange, Jay Peak will obtain ownership and control of a 59.8 acre parcel encompassing the existing “Stateside” base lodge area currently under lease to the ski area. The Stateside ski shelter was constructed in 1960 and is nearing the end of its useful life. “We hope to develop a more comprehensive base lodge facility in this location providing a full range of skier services, said Stenger. Control of this parcel is also key to the ski area’s ability to undertake a major lift renovation project at Stateside.”
As important as this project is to the future of Jay Peak Resort, it is equally important to the Green Mountain Club. In exchange for the 59.8 acre Stateside parcel, Jay Peak will release its leasehold interest in an undeveloped 418 acre portion of Jay State Forest located adjacent to the Long Trail on the backside of Jay Peak, and will sell to the Green Mountain Club and State a 166± acre linear parcel encompassing the Long Trail located north of Jay Peak. Together, these two parcels would significantly enhance the protection of a contiguous three and a half mile stretch of the Long Trail. “This project will ensure permanent protection of one of the most scenic and rugged segments of the Long Trail, said Ben Rose, Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club. “This year marks the centennial celebration of the Long Trail and the Green Mountain Club and this exchange helps to ensure that 100 years from now hikers will still have a high quality hiking experience along the historic and scenic trail segment north of Jay Peak.”
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation manages Jay State Forest, a portion of which is under long term lease to Jay Peak ski area. Much of the northern section of the Long Trail is located in Jay State Forest as well. According to department commissioner Sarah Clark, protection of the Long Trail and helping to ensure a positive economic future of the ski area are both top priorities for the department. “This land exchange project demonstrates that environmental protection and economic development are truly complementary goals that can and should go hand in hand”, said Clark. “Both Jay Peak Resort and the Green Mountain Club are to be commended for working together to devise a plan at Jay Peak that provides multiple environmental, recreation, and economic benefits.”
The initial phase of the land exchange involving the two parcels currently within the ski lease area will be completed at tomorrow’s ceremony. The acquisition of the Long Trail parcel north of Jay Peak by the Green Mountain Club and State will occur later this fall.
Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: August 30, 2010 11:53:06