NWF Launches Vermont Conservation Project

Key east-west wildlife corridor in Vermont to gain increased attention

01-21-2010 // Aislinn Maestas

The Northeast Regional Center of the National Wildlife Federation and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department have launched the “Staying Connected – Worcesters-to-Northeast Kingdom” project – a 30-town initiative designed to safeguard key wildlife habitats within a large area of land inhabited by creatures big and small, from moose and black bear to warblers and salamanders.

More than a dozen diverse stakeholders attended the launch of the  A wide range of partners – including local conservation commissions and hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation groups – are joining in the effort that will incorporate some conservation work currently underway in the region.

Leading the effort for NWF is Chip Knight, a three-time Olympic alpine skier.

“This area acts as sort of a Grand Central Station for wildlife moving through the Northern Forest,” said Knight. “We’ve got our own wildlife transportation hub right here in Central Vermont, and it’s one of the few remaining places where northeastern wildlife can roam and thrive, but only if we protect it.”

The project is part of a regional Staying Connected initiative across the Northeast, and will build on work already being done in the area by landowners as well as national, regional, statewide and local conservation and outdoor recreation organizations.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has identified the area as important because it provides quality areas for animals to move across roads, through relatively undeveloped lands, and between identified patches of critical upland and lowland habitats.

Sitting as a crossroads for wildlife, the Worcester Mountain range is a largely undeveloped subsidiary range to Vermont’s Green Mountains. Stretching from the central Vermont town of Middlesex, north and east toward Elmore, the Worcesters have been identified by biologists as an important corridor for flora and fauna, as they connect the Green Mountains to the largely undeveloped forests of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

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