Fayston gets a new town forest

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FAYSTON — The Vermont Land Trust announced today that Christina Castegren donated a scenic 93-acre property in Fayston and the town conserved it with the land trust, establishing the Boyce Hill Town Forest.

Rising from the end of Boyce Hill Road, the forest has a summit with dramatic views of the Shepard Brook Valley in Fayston as well as the Northfield Range and Green Mountains.

“The beauty of this place provides a sense of awe and peace that people seem to need these days,” said Castegren. “I hope this land will help bring people together.”

The land’s future, locally known as Risley’s Pasture and Newis’ Field, was uncertain due to an eight-lot subdivision permitted in place when Castegren purchased the land in 2011.

Concerned that the development of houses would decrease public access and forever alter its character, Castegren offered the land to the town.

“I’m just blown away by Christina’s generosity,” said Fayston resident Sally Dwyer, whose family has hiked on the hill for generations.

Castegren offered the land from concern that housing development would decrease public access and change its character forever.

“This is a very exciting time for Fayston,” said Jared Cadwell, chair of the Fayston Selectboard. “We have a tremendous opportunity to join together to enjoy and care for this spectacular spot in our town.”

The Vermont Land Trust, which has helped create and protect nearly 30 town forests, worked with Castegren and the selectboard to create a conservation easement that protects the health of the forest and public recreation.

“People can continue to hike, hunt, snowshoe, ski and picnic there, and the community will be part of its stewardship for generations to come,” said Liza Walker of the Vermont Land Trust.

Next spring, the Conservation Commission will reach out with a longer-term, management plan for the property.

The plan will address recreation, stewardship, natural resource protection, trail development, parking and access.