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State acquires island and lakeshore in Island Pond

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ISLAND POND — The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) has purchased a 15-acre island in Island Pond and a three-acre lakeshore parcel, with support from the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), to be managed as part of Brighton State Park.

The land, which abuts the southern and eastern shores of Island Pond, is now protected by a conservation easement co-held by VLT and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), ensuring permanent public access and natural resource protection.

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FPR purchased the parcels from the John C. Hall Trust, with the support of the Brighton selectboard, ensuring they will remain open to the public and continue to contribute to the area’s recreation economy.

Gannon Osborn, Land Conservation Program Manager for FPR, expressed gratitude for the partnership and support of VLT and the local community.

“These parcels have outstanding conservation values, which are now protected, and which FPR will promote as part of Brighton State Park,” Osborn said.

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The conservation easement ensures public access and protection for the island’s natural features, including a state-significant Red Pine Forest and unique breeding habitat for bald eagles and loons.

Kerry O’Brien, Project Director for VLT, praised the collaborative effort.

“We’re grateful to every individual who donated and especially to the local fundraising team — the results exceeded our expectations.”

FPR and VLT raised approximately $1.1 million through grants from VHCB and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, covering about 93% of the funds needed. The remaining $76,000 was raised through community donations from individuals and area businesses.

The expansion of Brighton State Park is particularly fitting as Vermont State Parks celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.

Northeast Parks Regional Manager for FPR, Nick Caputo, noted that the acquisition guarantees access to a beloved location in the Northeast Kingdom and provides future generations the opportunity to enjoy a remote state park experience close to Island Pond and Brighton State Park.

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