West Mountain

Northeast Wilderness Trust holds a forever-wild easement on 1,170 acres of wilderness embedded within Vermont’s West Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

These four parcels in Brunswick were originally protected in 2002, when Sweet Water Trust helped The Nature Conservancy in Vermont purchase the land. The two organizations partnered to remove old logging roads and abandoned structures, helping to jump-start natural restoration.

The West Mountain forever-wild lands fill gaps within the “Ecological Core”—more than 12,000 acres of interior habitat—of the 22,000-acre West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, which is owned and managed by the State of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources. The West Mountain Wildlife Management Area and wilderness lands complement conserved forest in northern Vermont that includes state forests, parks, wildlife management areas, town forests, and private easements. All told, these protected lands secure more than 156,000 acres, which important sustenance and space for wide-ranging species such as moose, black bear, and possibly Canada lynx and eastern wolf.

The West Mountain inholdings lie within the Dennis Pond and Wheeler Stream watersheds of the Connecticut River basin. Their northern lowland forests are part of the only large boreal forest ecosystem in Vermont. While much of the West Mountain lands were heavily logged prior to their conservation, their forests are steadily regaining their health and structure.

The wetlands and waterways are in excellent condition and represent some of the most significant and interesting natural areas in Vermont. Ecological inventories on the land have documented 209 species including 23 mammals, 103 birds, 17 reptiles and amphibians, and 66 species of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and 17 rare plants. There are several rare wetlands and ecosystems here, including dwarf shrub bog, poor fen, northern white cedar swamp, black spruce woodland bog, lowland spruce-fir forest, and sweet gale shoreline swamp.

For more information on the surrounding West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, please visit the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation’s website or download their PDF description and map.

Photography by Harry White