The Nature Conservancy Purchases 160-Acre Alburgh Bluffs Parcel in Alburgh, Vermont
First Step toward VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation Expanding Alburgh Dunes State Park on Lake Champlain
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation are pleased to announce the $1.1 million purchase of the 160-acre Alburgh Bluffs parcel in Alburgh, Vermont. The waterfront property is significant for both people and nature. It is a biodiversity gem with 16 natural communities and 25 rare or endangered species, and its location on Lake Champlain, adjacent to the Alburgh Dunes State Park, will expand public access for visitors while helping to protect water quality.
The Nature Conservancy will transfer the land later this year to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, helping Alburgh Dunes State Park grow to 785 acres. The Nature Conservancy worked with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation in 1996 to initially conserve and create the state park, which now boasts a 1.5-mile walking loop, a bicycle and pedestrian path, and public access to a natural sand beach and Lake Champlain. Approximately 20,000 visitors access Alburgh Dunes State Park each year. Over its 60-year history, The Nature Conservancy has helped protect nearly a quarter of all state lands, including wildlife management areas, state parks and state forests.
Why Alburgh Bluffs is Special
“During a time of unprecedented global biodiversity loss, challenging local water quality issues, and increased outdoor engagement due to the pandemic, the conservation of Alburgh Bluffs is an important success story," said Heather Furman, Vermont State Director for The Nature Conservancy. "In one project we are increasing public access, safeguarding critical plant and animal habitat, and improving water quality through the protection of wetlands and forests. This project is a stunning testament to the power of partnerships."
The newly conserved property includes 4,800-feet of Lake Champlain waterfront, 20-foot cliffs of exposed shale bluffs, cedar-pine forests, and sweeping views of both the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. Nearly half the property is wetland, favored by ducks and shorebirds on their migration through the Champlain Valley while the other half contains upland forests and fields suitable for hiking, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the surrounding vistas.
Sand dunes are an extremely rare feature on Lake Champlain, and harbor some globally rare and regionally rare plant species. At one time the dunes in Alburgh were mined for beach sands. Since their protection in the 1990s by The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, the once degraded dunes are now teeming with life. Rare protective dune plants such as beach pea and Champlain beach grass have rebounded.
“The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is proud to again be partnering with The Nature Conservancy to conserve the beautiful lands of Alburgh’s southern shores,” said Michael Snyder, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. “Alburgh Dunes State Park has been a true success story in the Vermont State Parks System, protecting critical natural systems and public access to Lake Champlain, and the Alburgh Bluffs property only adds to this.”
The $1.1M dollar purchase was made possible with funding support from private donors, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, with funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forests, the operation and maintenance of the Vermont State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.