LOWELL — Jeannie and John Panner generously donated 197 acres in Lowell to the Vermont Land Trust. The land is located on both sides of Route 58.
The mostly forested property has long views of Hazen’s Notch and Haystack Mountain across a 55-acre wetland.
The Panners’ love of the land runs deep and protecting its natural features and wildlife habitat was important to them.
Jeannie was born on a dairy farm in New York in the late ‘40s.
“My earliest memories include feeding the calves, walking the land, bringing the cows home to be milked,” she recalls.
That early love of that land, born from deep family connections to farming, inspired the purchase of the Lowell property 30 years ago. With its woodland, hay fields, and a little brook, it was idyllic.
“My parents lent us the money to buy it,” Jeannie said. “My dad said, ‘Jeannie has her farm now’.”
At the time the Panners bought the property, they planned to raise crops or animals and to use the forest. Instead, it became a peaceful, beautiful place to get away from their jobs in industry. They visited the land often, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and enjoying the views and the diverse wildlife.
When they retired, they found themselves living too far from the property.
“We still loved the land, but realized that it needed a new steward, someone who would preserve and use the land,” said John.
“As long-time supporters of the land trust, we thought that donating the land would be our best chance at finding an owner who shared our love of the land and its significant wildlife habitat and scenic values, as well as its potential for multiple uses. It was also a great way to help the Vermont Land Trust in its important mission.”
In addition to scenic views of Hazen’s Notch, the property’s most striking feature is its natural wetland with an alder swamp, cattail marshes, and beaver dams. The diverse landscape provides excellent wildlife habitat.
The land trust will put the property on the market in the coming months. It will be sold subject to a conservation easement that will allow for one house. The remainder of the land will have development permanently restricted but will be available for forestry and agricultural purposes.
The wetland and natural area will be protected as well.
“We are immensely grateful to generous landowners, like John and Jeannie, who donate land such as this,” said Carl Powden of the Vermont Land Trust. “We will protect the land’s important features and use the proceeds from its eventual sale to further our conservation work.”