By Jason Starr
Williston resident Dan Boomhower is planning to donate the development rights on 110 acres off Route 2A to the Vermont Land Trust, expanding a conserved forest and meadow block that stretches between Route 2A and Oak Hill Road, and includes the Town of Williston’s Sucker Brook Hollow and Five Tree Hill conservation areas.
The property is currently a source of timber, firewood and hay, Boomhower wrote in a December letter to the Williston Conservation Commission. It also has a trail system maintained by local snowmobilers and is open for hunting. Boomhower would like those uses to continue, and would consider creating a public trail easement.
“The property is a wildlife corridor used by bear, bobcats and coyotes. The property is home to deer, turkeys, ravens and other birds or prey,” Boomhower wrote to the commission. “Our family has made a conscious choice to keep the property informally open for people to meander on.”
He is requesting roughly $20,000 from the town to help with legal and administrative fees associated with transferring development rights to the Vermont Land Trust.
“This property is pretty high value and high priority for conservation because it’s located in this big forest block adjacent to already conserved properties,” Williston Conservation Planner Melinda Scott said.
Boomhower’s family has owned the property since the 1840s.
While the conservation easement would protect the property from development, it would not open it to public access unless a future trail easement is created.
“We would like that and we’ve proposed that, but it’s got to be compatible with the other uses of the property,” Scott said. “Conflicts can arise and we’ve got to make sure that if there is a trail easement that we can manage the use of it so it’s compatible with the forestry operations.”