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Town wraps up discussions on what to do with donated land

PUTNEY—The Selectboard wrapped up its final public discussion about the parcel of land Nat Hendricks donated to the town early this year.

At the Aug. 26 regular meeting, Board Chair Steve Hed and Board Member Josh Laughlin assured the public there will be more opportunities for them to weigh in on uses of the land.

Town officials, including some board members and Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard, said they had contacted the Forest and Cemetery committees to gauge their interest in using part of the Hendricks parcel.

Stoddard said she would like a survey done on the land and to have a student intern map the area.

“We don’t really know what’s there,” she said.

Laughlin said surveying the area might stir public interest.

“It’s amazing what a little survey tape will do to get people excited,” he said.

A few abutters from Putney attended the meeting.

A discussion ensued on the invasive buckthorn plant, which has been seen on the land, and how to prevent it from spreading.

Ann Kerrey presented a detailed assessment of wildlife living in and passing through the land, and encouraged the board to consider the needs of the animals — and the hunters who seek them out.

Julie Forsythe said she liked the plan to create trails on the land, noting the value of creating “a corridor for critters and people.”

Guy Wood proposed using part of the land as a “pull-off” for visitors who want “to see rural Vermont.”

Wood offered Dutton State Park on Route 5 in Dummerston as a comparison, noting how clean it is there. He suggested its proximity to the road discouraged people from having parties there and leaving beer cans lying around.

Tom Hoskins suggested that, should the town take Wood’s recommendation, it also should establish a volunteer force to maintain the pull-off, noting “if it looks good it’s more likely to stay good."

Stoddard told the board she hopes to have some ideas to present to residents at the 2016 Town Meeting.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #323 (Wednesday, September 16, 2015). This story appeared on page D1.

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