Irish Hill

Berlin Pond/Irish Hill Name of Project: Irish Hill Conservation Area

Location: Berlin, VT

River: Berlin Pond Watershed

Type of Project: Watershed Protection, Wildlife Protection, Hiking and Biking Trails

Public Access: Yes

Date Completed: 2000

Size: 547 Acres (in 3 parcels)

Water Frontage: 12,000′

Landowner: Town of Berlin; Conservation Easement held by Vermont Land Trust

Funding Partners: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, City of Montpelier, Town of Berlin, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Businesses & Individual Donors

Property Description: A prominent ridgeline along Irish Hill and Paine Mountain that separates the Berlin Pond watershed from the Dog River Valley. The parcels are “unparalleled for their complex association of forests, wetlands, and open waters in close proximity to Vermont’s capital city and a major urbanizing corridor.” Designated by National Audubon Society as a Very Important Bird Area, Berlin Pond is an oasis of water and vegetation, birds, trees, cedar swamps and beaver meadows. It contains at least six large woodland vernal pools and an extensive and popular system of trails.

Project Background: Purchased in three parcels, this 547-acre complex is critical to the health and natural resources of the Berlin Pond Watershed. The landowners had once planned to sell the ridgeline to commercial (granite quarrying) and residential (subdivision with luxury homes) developers. Their preference, however, was to try to preserve the ridgeline for public use and enjoyment. VRC was able to negotiate purchase and sale agreements with a year’s time for fundraising to complete the purchase. Support for the project from the towns of Berlin and Montpelier, many conservation nonprofits and citizens of central Vermont was overwhelming, with services and funds donated to move the project to completion.

Directions: Take Route 2 East out of Montpelier. Go right on Berlin Street and travel up the hill, crossing Route 62 to Berlin Corners. (From I-89, get off on Exit 7. Go right at the first light.) At Berlin Corners, go right on Cross Town Road.

To Cross Town Road Access:
Continue on Cross Town Road approximately 1.5 miles to an old road on the left within the Boyer State Forest. Park here. Walk approximately .3 miles on this road/trail to the property line with Parcel A.

To Darling Road Access:
Take a left after going under the Interstate on Paine Turnpike South. Quickly take a gentle right to go around the right side of the pond (Brookfield Road.). Continue straight to the parking area about 1 mile up on the right. Trails begin on the right side of the road.

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