Newbury Acquires Tucker Mountain as New Town Forest
December 13, 2018 – Last night the Town of Newbury completed the long-sought purchase of a 636-acre parcel that will be the new Tucker Mountain Town Forest. This purchase culminates a two-year effort, spearheaded by local citizens, the Newbury Conservation Commission and the Vermont Land Trust to secure iconic forestland in the Upper Valley area for the Town of Newbury. This purchase occurred more than a year after the townspeople of Newbury voted twice in favor of the purchase.
The Town of Newbury purchased the land from the Vermont Land Trust, who in early September bought it as two parcels: 142 acres from Ted and Deborah Leach; and 494 acres from Ted and his siblings Tina Clark, Suzanne Charity, Lucinda Leach, along with their late sister Robin’s children, Alexia Vondrak and Joshua Moody. The family sold the land to VLT for a total of $384,500, just over half of the appraised value.
“As far back as the 1940s, my parents, Phil and Ginny Leach enjoyed the distant views from atop Tucker Mountain,” said Tina Clark. “In the early ‘70s, much development was taking place in Vermont and Tucker Mountain was up for sale. Phil and Ginny made the decision to purchase the land to protect it as open space. They have both since passed on, leaving Tucker Mountain to their children and grandchildren. We live far and wide, so we turned once again to VLT for guidance in further protecting the mountain we love. Our family members are so very grateful to all those who have embraced the concept Tucker Mountain Town Forest, which is now a reality.”
Read more here: The 636 acre Town Forest …
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Tucker Mountain and the forestland around it has been a popular place for residents of Newbury for a long time. The open meadow top of Tucker Mountain provides long distance views in almost all directions and has been the destination for an annual visit by Newbury Elementary School students and teachers for many years. The two properties’ 635 acres offer recreational opportunities such as hunting, picnicking, hiking, bird-watching, snowshoeing, and back country skiing. Several schools attended by Newbury boys and girls would have an outstanding natural laboratory for learning about plants, wildlife, water resources, and forest management. The land is threaded by headwaters streams and the West Branch of the Halls Brook, with its excellent brook trout habitat. Wetlands, vernal pools with frogs and salamanders, many types of plants and wildlife – all help make the proposed Tucker Mountain-Newbury Town Forest one of Newbury’s most important tracts of land.
- Tucker Mountain has long been a popular recreational destination for residents of and visitors to Newbury. All students from Newbury Elementary School make an annual trip to the top of Tucker Mountain.
- Town ownership, with a supportive Conservation Commission and “Friends” group to help manage the property, would provide permanent public access for diverse recreational and educational activities, and present an opportunity for improved access, management, and stewardship of the properties’ natural resources – while also generating revenue from timber harvesting, firewood, and sugaring.
- Public recreation and scenic views
- Productive timber land and sugar bush
- Water resources and aquatic habitat: West Branch of Halls Brook and tributaries, two vernal pools, and Meadow Brook
- Wetlands and natural communities: beaver pond wetland complex, Red Spruce-Cinnamon Fern Swamp, and Red Maple –Black Ash Seepage Swamp, among others
- Newbury Elementary School trips and special projects?
- Oxbow High School/River Bend Career & Technical Center trips & projects?