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Bear's Nest Wilderness Preserve

Posted Saturday, March 2, 2024
— Connections 2024 Winter/Spring

Conservation Corner: Bear’s Nest Wilderness Preserve

by Nancy Patch

We are thrilled to share the good news that our partners, Vermont Land Trust (VLT) and The Northeast Wilderness Trust (NEWT) have come together to protect and conserve more than 5,000 acres in the CHC region. We have shared information in the past with our members about the initial Bear’s Nest project. Northeast Wilderness trust purchased over 700 acres in Richford last year, but now, just this January, NEWT expanded the project by purchasing almost 2,000 additional acres from VLT. VLT sold another 2,000 acres to Somerset Investment Partners with a powerful conservation easement. CHC has supported both of these projects. View the press release from VLT at this link.  

The Bear's Nest Wilderness Preserve is an exciting prospect for our region. At Cold Hollow to Canada, we feel strongly that wild forests have an important and critical place within our greater matrix of working forest landscapes. The Bear's Nest property has features that make it uniquely suited to become forever wild. The Montane Spruce Fir Forest, found at around 2500 feet, may already be considered old forest, (never cleared, never logged). The deep cut, upper elevation streams provide cool refugia for species under climate change stress, including wandering foresters. As a consulting forester, public service forester and co-founder of Cold Hollow to Canada I have had the privilege of walking this property many times in my many roles. I am grateful to Northeast Wilderness Trust for working to protect this forest for the future, letting nature be the manager, and allowing anyone to find refuge in this forest.

The state of Vermont has a goal of protecting 9% of the forested landscape to be allowed to become old and forever wild. In the CHC region, we now have close to 8,000 acres designated as “Forever Wild” and held by conservation non-profits including The Nature Conservancy Vermont and Northeast Wilderness Trust. With approximately 115,000 forested acres in the CHC region, this is about 75% of the goal and far more than any other biophysical region in the state. Success is here in the CHC region.

CHC is excited to share new developments in further land-purchases to conserve wide expanses of our regional forests