The advisory vote to conserve Mobbs Farm passed overwhelmingly. The vote count was 1033 to 101. Jericho residents sent a clear message to the Selectboard to pursue the permanent protection of this exquisite land. Next steps include an affirmative vote by the Selectboard to proceed. The Mobbs Farm Committee, along with JULT, will be working hard to keep this favorable momentum going. Vermont Land Trust (VLT) will work with the Town on a conservation easement that VLT will “hold”. The cost to conserve Mobbs Farm is $43,000 with $25,000 of that going into a VLT stewardship endowment fund. This ensures that VLT has the resources necessary to monitor Mobbs Farm in perpetuity. Monitoring involves walking the land on an annual basis to check for any conservation easement violations or encroachments and of course, helping with any stewardship questions.
Additional good news includes that the $43,000 necessary has already been raised from a number of funds. JULT is contributing $10,000 and another $13,000 through a very generous donation. VLT is supporting this effort with $10,000 though a Town forest grant and $10, 000 is coming from Jericho’s Conservation Reserve Fund (CRF). This last sum needs to be approved by the selectboard and we expect that it will be. The Jericho Conservation Committee sent the CRF application with a very high recommendation for funding. We are looking forward to including Mobbs Farm in JULT’s list of conserved properties in Jericho and Underhill that provide exceptional recreational opportunities along scenic and diverse landscapes.
January 30, 2021: Since 1968, the Town of Jericho has owned the scenic Mobbs Farm. This 275-acre property has met the functional needs of Jericho by accommodating the Town garage and a former landfill. The capped landfill is currently being transformed into a large solar array to provide electricity. The remaining land offers miles of trails for many recreational needs year round. The Mobbs Committee manages this land and has spent a number of years improving the trail system and its access by adding bridges, boardwalks and signage. A sizable parking area was added close to the Town Garage off of Browns Trace and trailhead kiosks were installed for informational purposes. This exquisite jewel of Town-owned land has become increasingly popular for recreational use. Whether on horseback, mountain bike, cross country skis or simply walking, the Mobbs Farm trails take you through expansive meadows, dense forested hillsides, craggy ledge, and fruit orchards. The startlingly beautiful Mills Brook carves its way along the southwestern side and provides a refreshing break during hot summer days. Diverse wildlife habitats are also a part of Mobbs Farm and they receive special attention. Mobbs Farm has become a favorite location for many Town residents and also pulls recreationists from other towns. This activity fosters our local economy and creates a special sense of place that is Jericho.
The Jericho Underhill Land Trust (JULT) has been working with the Mobbs Committee to permanently conserve this special land. With the exclusion of the Town garage and solar array, the remaining property would be protected from further development. The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) would hold the conservation easement and be responsible for monitoring Mobbs Farm’s conserved land in perpetuity. The cost to protect this property will be $43,000 with the bulk, $20,000, providing a VLT stewardship endowment for future monitoring. This $43,000 sum has been reduced to $13,000 with $10,000 in support from JULT, $10,000 in support from VLT and an anticipated $10,000 in support from Jericho’s Conservation Reserve Fund. There will be an advisory vote by Australian ballot at the upcoming Town Meeting, March 2. The language has not been finalized but will be similar to this:
Should the Selectboard pursue the conveyance of a conservation easement (in perpetuity) over 234 +/- acres of the total 275 +/- acre Mobbs Farm property to the Vermont Land Trust at an estimated expense of $43,000 +/-, using grants, gifts and previously raised funds, for the purpose of protecting its natural resources, wildlife habitat, trails, recreational and educational opportunities, productive farmland and forestland, and scenic value?
The Mobbs Committee will be posting more material on the Town’s website and will be available to answer any questions at the two Town informational hearings planned for February. JULT expects the vote to be favorable for conserving Mobbs Farm for today and into the future. Permanent protection will ensure public enjoyment of recreational trails, scenic vistas and the safeguarding of important wildlife habitats.
For more information about Mobbs Farm, please go to the Mobbs Farm Management Plan on the Town Website.