(Host) A vast wildlife area where three towns converge has been purchased for preservation by the Nature Conservancy of Vermont.
Raven Ridge covers 362 acres where the towns of Monkton, Charlotte, and Hinesburg intersect. The Nature Conservancy’s Joan Allen says Raven Ridge supports a diverse habitat for wildlife:
(Allen) "We have exposed bedrock and high ridges that have great views over to the west to the Champlain Valley and you’ve got lowland areas with shrub swamps, vernal pools, a beautiful beaver pond. There’s bears. There’s an occasional moose that wanders through. There’s been a 10-year-long study on bobcat movement through here. It’s a well-known wildlife corridor."
(Host) The purchase was secured through a complex cooperative effort of private landowners and the state. The federal government provided $500,000 to help preserve threatened Indiana bats that also live in Raven Ridge.
Allen says the public can enjoy the area for hiking and bird-watching through a network of mostly old-woods road trails. And she says a highlight is a one-of-a-kind rock formation known as "The Oven."
(Allen) "It’s essentially two layers of rock that have gotten pushed up in the shape of a huge oven. It’s really quite unusual. Geology students from elsewhere and UVM come to look at it and it s just a fun thing to see."
(Host) Raven Ridge will be owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy. Allen says she expects local groups will help maintain the area, acting as preserve stewards.