The Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) addresses its mission in an organized, focused way with a detailed strategic plan. MALT’s nine-member board and its staff completed an extensive update of the plan in 2003. Grants from the Land Trust Alliance and the Vermont Community Foundation supported the extensive work on the plan and provided for collection of a broad range of community input. The plan lays out goals in six areas:
Land and Nature Conservation– To conserve the working landscape, important natural areas, special open spaces, areas with key visual or aesthetic attributes, to link green spaces, where possible, and to protect water quality;
Public Access and Recreation– To increase public access in the community to trails and to lands for recreation, and education about local natural resources; To create programs and offer specific opportunities for land based environmental education. To provide environmental education opportunities through programs and projects;
Fundraising and Membership– To develop a strong membership base with regular membership campaigns, annual appeals, and events that raise money and help engage MALT members in its mission and program goals;
Administration– To operate at a high level of professionalism, accountability, and transparency, with robust systems that ensure fulfillment of fiduciary, stewardship, and membership responsibilities;
Public Relations and Communications– To be known as a leading conservation and trails organization in Addison County through high quality and consistent publications and publicity. To enhance communications with MALT’s members, partners, grantors, as well as, conservation, recreation, and governmental organizations;
Stewardship– To steward properties in which MALT holds an interest with efficiency and a high level of accountability.
MALT was incorporated in 1987 as the “Middlebury Land Trust” with the purpose of preserving key open and scenic lands in Middlebury. At that time, Middlebury had a local farmland tax abatement program.When the State re-instituted their tax abatement program, Middlebury residents voted to transfer the money they were paying into the local program into a conservation fund.The land trust was charged with advising the select board on the use of these funds.One-half of the income from the Conservation Fund is provided to the Land Trust for administrative support.
In 1996, we expanded to include surrounding towns and changed our name to MALT. We have created over 20 miles of trails to make a complete loop around Middlebury with 2 bridges that span Otter Creek, and a spur trail heading to Snake Mountain. We are working with the National Park Service and North Country Trail Association to connect the TAM with the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Long Trail. We have conserved over 2600 acres of land, farms, forests, wetlands and recreational areas. We hold 22 easements and own four properties and one façade easement. We have updated license agreements for trail to conservation easements. Our original 37 members have been increased to 355 members in 2013. Our projects include: Greenbelt project, Powerhouse project, and Otter View Park. We offer educational and recreational opportunities for all ages through sponsored hikes and naturalist talks, and support several school projects from elementary to college level by providing outdoor classrooms.
Work with local, regional and national entities to support volunteer and business efforts to increase economic vitality of the region and quality of life issues. National Public Lands Day, working with Lake Champlain Basin program to sponsor events advertised in NY times to increase visitation to the area, and provide TAM maps free of charge to area businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. Middlebury Conservation Planning Initiative
How Is MALT funded?
We receive funding for our projects from private donations from individuals as well as businesses, membership, grants from organizations such as the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and our annual trail race/event, the TAM Trek.