Westminster Campsite and Floodplain Forest

Name of Project: Westminster Campsite and Floodplain Forest

Location: Westminster, VT

River: Connecticut River

Type of Project: Campsite, riparian corridor conservation

Public Access: Yes

Date Completed: 2014

Size: 15.2 Acres

Water Frontage: 2,750′

Landowner: Christian Blake

Funding Partners: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Davis Foundation, Tillotson Foundation, TransCanada Foundation, National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, and local donors

Property Description: This is a special property located on a scenic stretch of the Connecticut River. In particular, it is one of the few remaining parcels of intact floodplain forest in the town of Westminster. In addition to 12.6 acres of forest, the parcel includes nearly 3 acres of productive agricultural land leased to an organic farmer. The property is located 16 miles south of the SCA campsite, an ideal length for a day’s paddle. Well away from roads, it is a scenic, secluded location for a campsite.

Project Background: 

The primary purpose of this conservation effort was to provide new opportunities for non-commercial, non-motorized public recreational use, as part of our efforts to develop the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail. For several years, the landowner was looking to sell (in fee or an easement) his land for either residential, commerical, or conservation purposes. Our partnership with the state of Vermont – and support from area foundations, allowed us to complete the project.

The easement allows for overnight camping for paddlers exploring the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail on the property. Other important objectives include conserving and protect wildlife habitat, natural communities, native flora and fauna, and ecological processes, and allowing Cobb Brook and the Connecticut River the ability to meander and access their natural floodplains.

Directions: Public access to this parcel is permitted from the river only. A campsite will be developed in October, 2014, near the mouth of Cobb Brook.     To access the property, launch from Bellows Falls or North Walpole. It is a 2.7 mile paddle downstream from these sites. Alternatively, one can paddle 0.5 miles upstream from the an access in Walpole. Look for a beach near the mouth of a tributary. The landing will also marked with campsite signage.

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