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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community



The Waterworks Property

History and Stewardship Philosophy

In 1997, the City of Vergennes put a 666-acre property in Bristol up for sale because the city no longer needed the property for its a water supply. A handful of local community members, including VFF founder David Brynn, quickly organized to see if they could raise funds to conserve this gem of a piece of land. With the exception of two acres that are in New Haven, the parcel is located in Bristol and borders the towns of Monkton and New Haven. The land, known as the Waterworks, contained a phenomenal variety of habitats, from a 14.5-acre reservoir to red oak/northern hardwood and valley clayplain forests.

After a Herculean fundraising effort, the group—which coalesced into a non-profit organization called The Watershed Center—purchased the land and placed it under a conservation easement held jointly by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and Vermont Land Trust. Since then, the Waterworks has been a true community forest, open to the public for non-motorized recreation and the site of dozens upon dozens of community workshops and celebrations, many of these organized through Vermont Family Forests.

The Waterworks is enrolled with Vermont Family Forests and in 2010 completed a full update of their VFF-verified conservation plan. You can read the Waterworks Forest Conservation Plan and stand map here. Click on the links below to learn more about the community-based forest programs going on there.


>> Celebrations: Beltane and Winter Solstice
>> Legacy Tree project
>> Natural burial
>> Current forestry work underway


Directions to the Waterworks: From the traffic light in Bristol, follow North St. for approximately ¾ mile until you reach Plank Road (on your left). Turn onto Plank Road and check odometer. You’ll remain on Plank Road through 2 intersections (Burpee Road at 0.8 miles and Sawyer Road at 1.7 miles). Plank Road will sweep to the right then make a sharp turn to the left over Norton Brook. The parking area for the Waterworks property is on the right just before that sharp turn. (Total driving distance along Plank Road is 3.3 miles.)