Iconic Wheeler Mountain added to Willoughby State Forest

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SUTTON — Vermont’s Willoughby State Forest has expanded by 118.6 acres with the acquisition of land along Wheeler Mountain Road in Sutton, state officials announced Monday.

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) purchased the property, which includes Wheeler Mountain’s ridgeline, cliffs, and summit, from private owner John Krieble. The acquisition secures public access to popular hiking trails and rock climbing areas.

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“I’m thrilled to know that the Wheeler Mountain trails and cliffs will now be protected for generations of hikers and rock climbers to come,” Krieble said.

Funding for the purchase came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Habitat Stamp program.

The property offers scenic views of the surrounding glacial landscape and provides habitat for Peregrine falcons. It also lies within a significant wildlife corridor stretching from the Worcester Range to the Northeast Kingdom.

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Luke O’Brien, Forest Recreation Specialist at FPR, praised the acquisition, noting, “Wheeler Mountain is such an incredible feature in the broader Willoughby landscape, and a wonderful ecological and recreational resource.”

Rock climbing on Wheeler Mountain dates back to at least 1947. The area will now be managed as part of Willoughby State Forest, with access available from the Wheeler Mountain parking area off Wheeler Mountain Road in Sutton.

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