Deer Run Nature Preserve

Phase 1

The Green Mountain Conservancy has purchased and conserved a 287-acre forested parcel in the northwest corner of Dummerston, including 43 acres in adjacent Brookline. It has done this with the assistance and support of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Land Trust, as well as numerous foundations, community members and volunteers.

This property, the southern terminus of Putney Mountain, is a key wildlife corridor between the Putney Mountain ridge line, the Connecticut River and large forested areas to the west, into the Green Mountain National Forest. It is accessible to the public through a low gradient footpath that winds up the ridge line, taking hikers from “beauty spot” to “beauty spot”. People will continue to enjoy hiking and hunting on this property, as they have for generations. The ridge line provides much of the view seen driving north on Route 30 from the Dummerston Covered Bridge.

This land is one of the last remaining unfragmented large parcels in Dummerston. It is remarkable for its tall hardwoods, hemlock-filled ravines, stunning views, stone walls and a curious rock structure known as “the monument”. It includes two deer wintering yards and a variety of forest types including hardwood savannas and hemlock “cathedrals”. There are several wetlands and vernal pools that host a variety of amphibians including the rare Jefferson Salamander.

The site is a haven for over 60 species of birds (view bird list here) including birds that are listed “in greatest need of conservation” in the Vermont Conservation Design. While two transmission lines cross the preserve, ecologists recognize the value of this early-successional/shrub-scrub habitat that these rights-of-way provide. Birds that have been declining in Vermont — brown thrasher, wood thrush, field sparrow, prairie warbler, mourning warbler, woodcock, the red-shouldered hawk, and the bald eagle — were among those found in numbers during a preliminary site survey last year when two ornithologists identified over 60 species. Last summer there were so many Indigo Buntings singing that it was truly enchanting.