by Mickey Smith
A Zack Woods land parcel has been added to Green River State Park. Smith photo
Morrisville Water and Light (MWL) and two adjoining landowners have sold the 393 acre parcel known as “Zack Woods” in Garfield to the State of Vermont for inclusion in the Green River Reservoir State Park system.
The agreement was announced on Tuesday, January 15, by the Trust for Public Land and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. According to a press release announcing the purchase, “the $1.47 million to buy the land came from the Forest Service Legacy Program, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, and other state sources.”
Craig Myotte, director of MWL, said his department will be netting about $1,168,000 from the sale. This money is being used to help finance the ongoing upgrades to the town’s hydro plants – including new head and surge tank gates at Cadys Falls, the generator repair at Cadys Falls and the new rubber crest gate system at the village dam.
The Zack Woods property includes 11 undeveloped bodies of water, including: Zack Woods Pond, Perch Pond, and the last unprotected stretch of shore on Green River Reservoir.
Zack Woods, which is located southeast of the reservoir, was purchased by Morrisville Water & Light in 1950, according to the local history book, Morristown Two Times. An additional piece of land, including Little Clear Pond, was added in 1958.
“On behalf of all Vermonters, we are thrilled to have this valuable resource added to one of the jewels of our state park system,” said Michael Snyder, Vermont’s commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
The sale ensures this popular area for swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and skiing will offer expanded outdoor recreation opportunities, while also protecting valuable wildlife habitat.
“The Friends of Zack Woods have been trying to protect this special property for years we were happy to help them succeed,” said Rodger Krussman, Vermont director of The Trust for Public Land.
According to the press release, the federal Forest Legacy Program provides money to states to protect threatened forests. The money for this comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is funded by the royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.
Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahy, author of the Forest Legacy Program, said “This Forest Legacy project will ensure that Zack Woods remains a public and open destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. Along with its vast recreational opportunities, this project also helps conserve an important Vermont aquatic resource, which is evident by the broad array of partners I worked with to make sure this project received Forest Legacy funds.”