The Charlotte Land Trust was originally formed in 1986 as an outgrowth of an agriculture committee appointed by the Planning Commission to assist in developing a new town plan. Members of the committee were concerned about increasing development in town and agreed to look into forming a local land trust. For the next nine years, the organization assisted in an impressive number of local conservation projects, primarily resulting in numerous conservation easements that are held by the Vermont Land Trust.
From the start, the focus of CLT has been to conserve farmland and to make affordable farmland available to farmers. Other notable goals are to preserve land for wildlife habitat and corridors, public recreation and scenic or significant natural areas.
In 1995 the board decided to file for incorporation and become a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation in order to expand its opportunities and make it possible to raise money for conservation projects. Since then, CLT has reached out to numerous “Friends of the Charlotte Land Trust” who support our work through contributions to the organization.
CLT helped educate town residents in 1995 about the proposed Town Conservation Fund, which was voted on and approved at Town Meeting in March 1996 and renewed for another ten years in March 2006. This fund has been extremely helpful in making local conservation projects possible and has been used toward the funding of fifteen conservation projects in town, totaling 1,025 acres.
Since 1995, CLT has acquired fourteen conservation easements on local land, totaling over 500 acres, which are monitored by our organized Stewardship Program. We have also assisted the Vermont Land Trust, the Lake Champlain Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy, and other conservation groups with numerous projects in town. At various times, CLT has had paid staff, but for over the past 18+ years it has operated as an all volunteer organization with a board of approximately ten people. The accomplishments of CLT have only been possible through the support, energy and commitment of many Charlotters.
Although Charlotte has grown over the last 34 plus years since the Charlotte Land Trust has become active, it still retains much of what makes this town a special place.