The Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve has been established by the town of Cambridge.
The town acquired the land from Sally Laughlin, who worked together with the Vermont Land Trust and the Cambridge Conservation Commission to create the new community resource. The 51-acre preserve, named after Laughlin’s late husband, includes forest, meadows, streams and ravines, and will be open to all. It will also improve access to the adjoining Cambridge Pines State Forest, one of Vermont’s few examples of old forest.
Krusch purchased his farm and forestland in the 1950s and carefully stewarded the scenic and ecologically diverse property for 60 years, regenerating overcut woodlands, practicing sustainable logging, and growing his own food.
“Having these 51 acres become a nature preserve is a dream come true, fulfilling the long-time vision of my late husband Peter Krusch to have his land become permanently preserved and open to the public,” said Laughlin.
A life-long conservationist, Laughlin co-founded the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and served as its executive director for 18 years. She also served on the Vermont Endangered Species Committee for over 30 years.
“It is fitting that her lifetime of conservation efforts now includes the creation of a nature preserve on her and Peter’s own beloved land, enabling continued public access to nature for outdoor education, recreation, and inspiration,” said Vermont Land Trust’s Bob Heiser.
“Cambridge is rich with features that strengthen our local economy and quality of life, and the Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve is no exception to that. I'm honored to be part of this historic project for our town and it’s been a pleasure working alongside Sally and the Vermont Land Trust to see this to fruition,” said Justin Marsh, chair of the Cambridge Conservation Commission.
Laughlin generously donated the majority of the value of the land, and a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board helped make the project a success. In addition, over 130 community members made gifts to enable the town acquisition and to create a management fund to help the town cover initial management costs. The land is protected by a conservation easement held jointly by the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, securing the land’s important resources and the public’s access to them.
Among the first priorities in the community’s vision for the property is the creation of a parking area off North Cambridge Road, and formalizing a trail running through the property to the adjacent Cambridge Pines State Forest.
“Cambridge Pines is a treasured grove of very old white pines, some older than 150 years, saved from the axe in the 1940s by local resident Harold Putnam,” said Liz Thompson, director of conservation science at the land trust. “With the improved access, the majesty and beauty of these massive pines can now be appreciated by all.”