In 2004, the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services conveyed the first of three conservation easements on the former state hospital farm to the Duxbury Land Trust (DLT). The easement covers 73 acres of privately held land on Crossett Hill. The remainder of this property can be used for residential development.
In 2014, the DLT was granted two additional conservation easements by the Department of Buildings and General Services. One easement covers 100 acres of wildlife habitat and wetland on a private property. This parcel is adjacent to Crossett Brook Middle School and the portion not under easement is slated for mixed use development by the property owner. The other easement, consisting of approximately 92 acres, covers both sides of the River Road from the last house in the village to Hart Road. As of 2014, it is farmed and includes the Duxbury Community Garden. This property is expected to remain in state ownership for the foreseeable future.
The purposes of the easements are to conserve wildlife habitat, natural communities, wetlands, scenic vistas and open space. The easements allow agricultural, forestry, nature study, and non-commercial recreation, but no development.
The acquisition of the three easements, totaling approximately 265 acres, is significant because it helps realize the vision of townspeople in developing the State Farm master plan, which called for a mix of development and conservation uses. The easements ensure the conservation of agricultural land, forestry resources, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and open space for generations to come.