The Vermont Trappers Association, a statewide conservation organization with nearly 1,000 members, has made local headlines after the association donated towards the purchase of a 750-acre tract of wilderness known as the Brownsville Forest. The VTA reached out to other local outdoor groups to assist with the $8,000 donation to the Stowe Land Trust; which included The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Vermont Bearhounds Association, and both the state and Lamoille County chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
In a press release, the association said the Brownsville purchase is a “perfect mesh with the VTA mission of promoting conservation,” protecting 750 acres of high-quality land that was added to the Putnam State Forest, “adding value for dispersed recreation, ensuring habitat connectivity, and enhancing one of Vermont’s critical wildlife corridors.”
The gift highlights the less-talked-about, yet equally important aspects of wildlife conservation - conserving and preserving crucial habitat for wildlife species to flourish. The broader hunting/trapping community has traditionally focused heavily on sparing important native natural habitats from development while also ensuring regulated, non-impactful access to such lands.
While the donation was a clear factor in furthering conservation endeavors, news of the donation drew subtle ire from the state’s animal rights industry - which has a history of outspoken objection over the parallels between conservation efforts and local hunting/trapping/fishing communities. The criticism prompted Stowe Land Trust to issue statements via their social media pages.
Stowe Land Trust has always strived to include all members of the Stowe area community in our work and values the support and participation of a variety of people and organizations with a diversity of perspectives, views, and interests.
We encourage donations and gifts for purposes that will help SLT further and fulfill its mission to conserve scenic, recreational, and productive farm and forest lands for the benefit of the greater Stowe community. The $8000 in donations made to SLT’s Brownsville Forest campaign from the Vermont Trappers Association and other sporting community organizations were several of more than 800 donations that helped SLT to reach and exceed our $5.75 million fundraising goal.
The success of this campaign made it possible to conserve 750 acres of high-quality wildlife habitat that may otherwise have been lost to development by creating a new State Forest, and to expand our stewardship endowment for the care of all SLT-conserved lands. All donations made to this important conservation effort were needed, important, and appreciated.
The VTA provides conservation camp tuitions for youths, scholarships for new graduates pursuing higher education in conservation fields, and financial support for other conservation programs. The Vermont Trapper’s Association full press release is posted below: