Fall foliage view of forest from Barr Hill.
VT Barr Hill Vermont Barr Hill foliage landscape shot © Tom Rogers/TNC


The Nature Conservancy Re-Opens Many of Its Natural Areas in Vermont

Strongly Encourages Vermonters to follow Governor’s Safety Guidelines

  • Eve Frankel
    Director of Strategic Communications
    The Nature Conservancy in Vermont

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the re-opening of its fifty-eight natural area network with the exception of several trails at five natural areas that will remain closed. In light of the Governor Scott’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order that outlines specific guidelines for safe outdoor recreation, TNC has determined that many of the natural areas can be opened for local visitors.

The Scott Administration’s guidelines for responsible outdoor recreation are as follows:

  • Stay close to home: Focus on backyard adventures and spend time in places that you can walk or bike to. If you must drive to get outside, strive to limit trips to 10 miles or less.
  • Observe social distancing outdoors: If you arrive at a crowded trailhead or a place with an unmanageable parking situation, turn around and choose an alternative location that’s not crowded.
  • Skip the risk: When you’re outside, engage in low-risk activities. Be smart and cautious when you’re outside to avoid any incidents that could require medical attention.
  • Respect the signs, respect the land: Stay off trails that are closed. There’s a reason they’re closed – whether it’s for mud season, because they’ve been overused and are at risk of being irreparably damaged, or because they require maintenance in order to allow safe passage.

Five of The Nature Conservancy’s natural areas trails will remain closed to visitors because social distancing guidelines cannot be safely followed or there are existing safety/maintenance issues that cannot be addressed until stewardship staff can return to the field.  The following trails are currently closed to all visitors:

  • Eshqua Bog, Hartland
  • LaPlatte River Marsh, Shelburne
  • North Pawlet Hills/Haystack Mountain, Pawlet
  • Raven Ridge, Monkton
  • Williams Woods, Charlotte

“In these uncertain times, nature can play a critical role in our health and wellbeing and we appreciate the public’s patience as we worked to determine how best we could offer access to some of the thirty-thousand acres that we own and manage throughout Vermont. We ask that visitors do not travel to visit our natural areas unless they live within a ten-mile radius and continue to follow our existing visitor use guidelines. As a reminder, dogs are not allowed at TNC preserves,” said Lynn McNamara, Director of Stewardship.

TNC Staff is continually monitoring this unprecedented Covid crisis and making any adjustments as needed. All are encouraged to follow TNC social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the status of natural area openings or closures. 

All visitors are asked to abide by all applicable legal and CDC recommendations, including those regarding social distancing. If any issues arise that may pose a hazard, please contact Lynn McNamara at lmcnamara@tnc.org

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 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 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.