A Brief History of JULT
The Jericho Underhill Land Trust (JULT) is a private, non-profit organization that was founded in 1989 for the purpose of conserving working landscape, scenic vistas and important wildlife habitats within the two towns of Jericho and Underhill. The Land Trust accomplishes this mission by working hand-in-hand with willing landowners and other interested citizens who share a similar goal. The Land Trust does not seek to curtail development, but rather to assist in planning for appropriate development so that agricultural, commercial, residential and recreational needs — as well as the need for undeveloped “wild” lands and open spaces — are all carefully considered as planning decisions are made.
Our two towns of Jericho and Underhill have a combined population of 9,000 people. JULT has a growing membership of 780 families. The Jericho Underhill Land Trust is directed by an all-volunteer board.
- In 1991, JULT was instrumental in the creation and conservation of a 12 acre park, Old Mill Park, where waterfalls, swimming holes and exquisite forested habitats were protected in perpetuity.
- On July 14, 1999, JULT acquired the Mills Riverside Park, forever protecting 83 acres of open meadowland and 133 acres of forest. JULT raised, through grants and fundraising, $365,000 in less than 6 months to accomplish this.
- In the year 2000, JULT conserved 166 acres of privately owned critical wildlife habitat for black bear, moose and bobcat in Jericho through a generous conservation easement donation.
- On July 14, 2003, JULT purchased Wolfrun Natural Area, 279 acres of exceptional wildlife habitat and donated a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust thus preserving this diverse land of pristine wetlands, dense forest and remote cliffs in perpetuity. Total project cost was $293,000.
- On July 21, 2005, JULT purchased scenic “Casey’s Hill”, an extraordinary sliding area, for the Town of Underhill. The Town donated a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust thus ensuring winter sliding enjoyment for generations to come. The project cost was $245,000.
- On October 7, 2005, JULT received 280 acres of farm and forestland from the Snyder Companies and donated a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust. Kikas Valley Farm will continue to be used for agriculture, timber management and recreation.
- In 2006, over 279 acres of private land were permanently conserved in Underhill. This property has an extraordinary view of Mount Mansfield, preceded by open meadow and forest.
- On August 4, 2009, JULT purchased The Gateway, 123 acres of significant wildlife habitat to add to the Wolfrun Natural Area. This was made possible through federal Forest Legacy funding and over $66,000 in local fundraising
- Fall of 2010, JULT permanently conserved 148 agricultural acres of the historic Barber Farm. This is the third oldest property in Jericho dating back to 1774. The farm will stay in private ownership but we will create a pedestrian trail linking our adjoining land (Kikas Valley Farm) to Barber Farm’s scenic meadow which has an extraordinary view of Camels Hump.
- In 2017, two residents of Skunk Hollow Road donated 10 and 71 acres respectively, abutting Kikas Valley Farm.
- In 2020, the Tomasi Meadow was purchased and conserved for the Town of Underhill. This iconic view leading to Casey’s Hill forms a scenic gateway to Mt. Mansfield. The Tomasi Meadow’s pastoral setting also offers year-round recreational opportunities such as walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. Its high-quality agricultural soils have produced excellent hay for many years. This land also provides a buffer to the extensive Browns River wetland complex.
- On May 12, 2022, the majority of Mobbs Farm was permanently protected. Overwhelming public support put in motion a lengthy process to protect 232 acres of the 275-acre property.
- On March 24, 2022, the Riverside Meadow was purchased by JULT on. This acquisition means that the meadow will remain a productive hayfield and that the extraordinary view of Mt. Mansfield, through Mills Riverside Park, will remain intact.
The Jericho Underhill Land Trust works diligently to protect the area’s important landscape today so that it can be enjoyed tomorrow. Within the last ten years, we have worked with landowners, towns and other lands trusts to conserve over 2,000 acres. JULT owns almost 800 acres within the towns of Jericho, Richmond and Bolton. This land provides a vital link for our wild species to navigate from the Green Mountains to the Winooski River Valley. Our land includes a trail system for year round quiet recreational pursuits as well. JULT also leases 90 acres of agricultural land to local farmer Paul Mazza.
JULT enrolls in state current use so that each town continues to look favorably on land conservation, knowing that taxes will be paid and there will not be a negative impact on the grand list. Our land ownership history also includes Mills Riverside Park before it was transferred from us to the newly formed Jericho Underhill Park District in February of 2000. The Jericho Underhill Land Trust is committed to facilitating important land conservation by working with partners, seeking necessary funding and owning land when appropriate.