Since the first official state forest (L.R. Jones State Forest) was acquired in 1909, the State has acquired over 346,000 acres of land in more than 200 towns for recreational and conservation purposes. These diverse holdings are managed by the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and include state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, and fishing and boating access areas.
Since 1991 ANR has acquired conservation easements on approximately 55,000 acres of privately-owned forest land and public access easements on nearly 84,000 acres.
A principal source of funding for state land acquisition is the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund. Since 1987, total state funding for ANR land acquisition through the trust fund has ranged from less than $500,000 - $3 million annually (not including the 1999 legislature's special one-time appropriation of $4.5 million for the Champion Lands Project).
ANR uses private and/or federal funds to leverage limited Housing and Conservation Trust Fund monies. The Vermont Duck Stamp Fund, a program through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is an important source of funding for the acquisition and enhancement of wetlands in Vermont.
The Land & Water Conservation Fund, a federal grant program for outdoor recreation as well as the federal Forest Legacy program which was designed to prevent the conversion of forests to non-forest uses, are both key funding sources for acquiring important lands in Vermont.
In addition to the use of several sources of funding, there are a number of organizations ANR partners with on acquisition projects. Those organizations include, but are not limited to the Vermont Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund and the Lake Champlain Land Trust.
A committee composed of ANR and Agency of Transportation staff called the Land Acquisition Review Committee (LARC) reviews all proposed land transactions submitted to ANR and recommends actions to the Agency Secretary.
Visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website to learn specifically about the acquisition of Wildlife Management Areas and other types of wildlife based holdings.