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The Branchton Village Land Trust is a local public-interest group dedicated to the preservation of the significant natural lands in the Branchton area. TheTrust's goals are to protect natural lands through their purchase and protection. The most immediate concern of the Trust is the protection of an upland forest in the Village of Branchton that is part of Branchton Swamp Forest Environmentally Sensitive Area.
The Branchton Village Land Trust started in 1993 as a public spirited effort to conserve a valuable woods in the Village of Branchton. In 1994 the Land Trust approved operating Bylaws. In 1995 the Land Trust purchased the woods from a housing developer.
The first Board of Directors of the Branchton Village Land Turst consisted of:
James Voll, President
Paul Eagles, Vice-President
Todd Salerno, Publicity
George Alzevedo, Treasurer
Carol Tilley, Secretary
Robert Porter, Fund Raising
In 1993 the current owner of the Branchton Forest, a local businessman and developer, offered to dedicate the upland woods portion of the Branchton Forest and Swamp Environmentally Sensitive Area in the Town of Branchton to the Township of North Dumfries as parkland. The Township Council refused the offer and demanded money in lieu of parkland. This action resulted in the creation of the Land Trust and its purchase of the land. The Branchton Village Land Trust land is private land and is not open for public recreation. The overall purpose of the land is for conservation.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada provided important advice on all aspects of Land Trust creation and operation. The Ontario Heritage Foundation was an early supporter. The Region of Waterloo has provided support to the Land Trust as the conservation efforts of the Trust are in line with the Regional Official Policy Plan policies for these lands?
Yes, the Branchton Village Land Trust was given a conservation award by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo for its public-spirited, conservation activities.
The overall goal of the management of the Branchton Forest is forest conservation.
The Branchton Village Land Trust is responsible for all land taxes.
There are several challenges in managing this significant forest.
One challenge is the invasion of foreign weeds from nearby housing. The invasive plants include Garlic Mustard and Dames Rocket.
A second challenge is encroachment by adjacent landowners. We have found some adjacent landowners dumping yard waste, old equipment, concrete waste, and wood. In two cases we have asked adjacent landowners to remove structures that they had built on the Land Trust Property. The Land Trust Board is vigilent in stopping such encroachment whenever it occurs.
The Branchton Village Land Trust is a registered charity. Donations are gratefully accepted to defray conservation expenses.