KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- More than 250 acres of scenic land visible from Route 9 west has been made off-limits to development.
The Shulman family, who owns about 368 acres off Pleasant Valley Road, has donated an easement on 261 acres of it to the Vermont Land Trust, said Elise Annes, the trust’s vice president for community relations.
The land does not become public property, the easement just means it can not be developed or subdivided. If it is sold, the easement goes with it. She said about 15 years ago, Albert and Rachel Shulman approached the Vermont Land Trust about having their property conserved. While they have passed away, their children, Mark Shulman, Justine Robertson, Sally Rosengren, and Amy Shulman-Weinberg continued with the negotiations and ultimately donated the easement to the trust.
Annes said the property is mostly woods with a few meadows. It sits on the side of a foothill leading up to Mount Anthony and is easily visible as one comes into Bennington on Route 9 from New York.
Negotiations have been going with the family for on for 15 years, said Donald Campbell, of the Vermont Land Trust. "Not to say they were reluctant," Campbell said. "The land easements are very permanent and they must be set up with a good deal of care and caution."
He said because the family donated the land, the trust did not seek an appraisal on its value. The Shulmans are eligible for a tax deduction, as the trust is a private non-profit. There are some associated costs with making the donation, however, which the local Whipstock Hill Preservation Society, and the Mount Anthony Preservation Society, along with the Freeman Foundation in Stowe, covered.
Campbell said the land was listed in the town’s "scenic resource inventory" which made it desirable by the trust which mostly works to buy easements on farmland. He said the Shulman family has had this property since the 1960s.
According to Annes, a forester working for the trust will also develop a forest management plan for the property for possible future timber harvests.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.