October 30, 2015
The people of Vermont will now forever have access to one of the state's most popular and well-loved recreation areas in Central Vermont-the Molly's Falls Pond property, known by many as the "Marshfield Reservoir". The Vermont Land Trust announced the sale of 1,029 acres to the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. Now called Molly's Falls Pond State Park, the property boasts a 402-acre reservoir, roughly 35,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline, and over 600 acres of forestland. It is a popular spot for boaters and anglers and has a fishing access area and wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms managed by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Department purchased the property from the Vermont Land Trust with funding from the federal Forest Legacy Program. The Forest Legacy program protects environmentally important forestland properties that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. In Vermont this program has helped to permanently conserve over 67,000 acres of forestland.
The Vermont Land Trust purchased the property from Green Mountain Power in 2012 so that the State could eventually acquire the land. Green Mountain Power retained 23 acres that includes the dam, buildings for the hydropower facility and spillways on the reservoir.
"We were extremely fortunate that the Vermont Land Trust was able to acquire the property from Green Mountain Power when they did and were willing to hold onto it until the state was able to secure necessary funding," said Michael Snyder, Commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. "This project simply would not have happened had they not been willing to take this significant risk. The property is an exceptional place, not only for water-based recreation, but also for wildlife habitat and scenic quality along the Route 2 travel corridor, and we are excited and pleased that we will finally be able to protect it as a public resource."
Molly's Falls Pond State Park is now part of a vast assemblage of state conservation and recreation lands including Groton State Forest. "Connecting people with the outdoors is so important to our physical and mental well-being," said Gil Livingston, VLT President. "And the surrounding healthy forest is part of a larger 30,000-acre block of conserved forestland critical to wildlife movement in the region. Vermonters and visitors alike will enjoy this spectacular place for generations to come."
The Vermont Land Trust also has secured stewardship funding to assist the Department with some necessary start-up and operations costs. A priority is to restore some of the most heavily used sites along the reservoir by replanting shoreline areas that are currently bare and erosion-prone. Public input will be welcome as the Department begins to develop a long-term management plan for the Park in 2016.
"Molly's Falls is a beautiful area and we are so pleased that Vermonters will be able to enjoy it as part of the state park system," said Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power spokesperson. "We have been privileged to generate clean, low-cost hydroelectricity there for our customers for nearly 90 years, and will continue to do so while the area continues to offer recreational opportunities for all. We appreciate the commitment of the Vermont Land Trust and state officials to help make the transition a reality."
Michael Snyder, FPR Commissioner, (802) 828-1534, Michael.Snyder@vermont.gov
Elise Annes, VP for Community Relations, VLT, (802) 262-1206 or (802) 522-9855, Elise@vlt.org
Deb Markowitz, ANR Secretary, (802) 828-1294, Deb.Markowitz@vermont.gov
Dotty Schnure, GMP spokesperson, (802) 655-8418, Dorothy.Schnure@greenmountainpower.com
Source: Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
Last Updated at: October 30, 2015 15:21:22