SUNDERLAND, Vt. — Thanks to the Hayden family and their decision to permanently protect 138 acres of important wildlife habitat, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Kesick Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and surrounding conservation land has more than doubled in size.
“The tracts of land contained in the Hayden Trust have remained relatively unchanged since Revolutionary War times,” said Jim Hayden. “Some of the pastures have reverted to forest but the dwellings and barns are about the same. Our parents’—Harry and Nellie—wish was for this property to remain forever open to all natural flora and fauna populations including the human kind.”
Kesick Swamp is a large system of wetlands and forests that support a rich assemblage of wildlife including beaver, black bear, moose, and a nesting rookery used by great blue herons, all nestled within the beautiful Taconic Mountains.
“Thanks to the Hayden Family, the animals will have more room to roam, visitors will have safe parking, and the land will forever be protected,” said Vermont Land Trust’s Donald Campbell. “In Vermont, families like the Haydens make a real difference when it comes to protecting land and the life it supports.”
In multiple real-estate transactions, Mike Hayden sold his 45-acre property to Vermont Fish and Wildlife to expand the WMA, while Jim Hayden and Avis Hayden, and a third brother, John Hayden, generously donated two conservation easements through Vermont Land Trust to protect wild habitat and ensure safer public access and parking. The additional conservation land will enable the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to move parking from the edge of the swamp back to the main road and to create a more accessible, gently graded footpath to the WMA.
“Successful conservation projects like this reflect the strong partnerships between organizations like the Vermont Land Trust, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and private landowners like the Haydens,” said Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s John Austin. “By working together and using a variety of conservation funding sources, including funds from the Vermont Habitat Stamp, this project allowed the Hayden Family to meet multiple goals while benefiting Vermont’s habitats, wildlife and people.”
–Vermont Land Trust