100 years of Vermont Town Forests & 25 Years of Cooperative Foresty Programs

Vermont town forests make our communities better!

In 2015, Vermont celebrated the centennial anniversary of Vermont's Municipal Forest Act, the legislation enabling the creation of town forests in Vermont. To recognize Vermont’s long and proud tradition of towns owning and managing their own forests for public benefit, UVM Extension convened the Town Forest Collaborative, a group of partners who developed and implemented a year-long outreach campaign about Vermont’s town forests. 

Town forests include a range of parcels and are named accordingly including watershed forests, community forests, school forests, town conservation areas, and town parks. Over 67,000 acres of Vermont forestland are owned by 168 municipalities. Town forests are open to the public. Vermont town forests are valued public places that contribute to our health and well-being. They make our communities a better place to live, work and play! 

Outcomes of the Town Forest Centennial celebration

  • All 180 Vermont senators and representatives signed a Town Forest Commemorative Resolution
  • Over 500 Vermont youth in grades 1-8 participated in town forest Growing Works of art contest
  • 44 youth submitted entries for the Young Writers Project Town Forest Challenge
  • 3 high-quality audio vignettes ‘Voices Project’ captured the story of 3 town forest volunteers
  • 14 town forests received an award for their stewardship accomplishments over the last 100 years

Thank you! 

As part of the celebration community members were welcomed to write a thank you note to their town forest, here are a few notes we received; 

Dear Paradise Park,
Thank you for sharing tall forest, meadows, fast and still waters that frame the changing seasons and welcome tired geese and songbirds.
Because of you, our community is connected with nature and a history that enrich mind and spirit.



Dear Stranahan Town Forest,
Thank you for being such a beautiful place for my family to walk, pick apples, snowshoe, and find solace in the quietude of the woods.
Because of you, we have a place to go to connect with each other and with this beautiful place we call home!



Celebrating 25 Years Forest Service Cooperative Forestry Programs

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Forest Service Cooperative Forestry programs which were first funded in the 1990 Farm Bill. These programs help private landowners and urban and rural communities care for their forests, strengthen local economies, and maintain a high quality of life.

Over 50% of the nation’s forests are privately owned, and two-thirds of the nation’s forests are located on non-federal lands. Cooperative Forestry programs strive to conserve and protect working forest landscapes, to protect forests from threats and to enhance the multiple public benefits private forests provide by working in partnership with state forestry agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Celebrating Vermont’s long and proud tradition of towns owning and managing their own forests and the positive impacts of the USDA’s Forest Service’s Cooperative Forestry Program: Forest Legacy/Community Forest-Open Space, Forest Stewardship, and Urban and Community Forestry programs