What is Mobbs Farm?

    Mobbs Farm is a 234 acre parcel of land, owned by the Town of Jericho. The land features forest, meadows and a variety of habitats that foster the growth of native species of plants and wildlife. There are miles of trails on the property which are enjoyed by residents of Jericho, visitors to the area and neighboring townspeople. It is bisected by Fitzsimonds Road and borders Browns Trace on its eastern boundary.

    Map of Mobbs Farm with approximate areas to be conserved or excluded from the conservation easement

    Looking at the map, what is the “Excluded 39 Acres” area?

    This section of Mobbs Farm is where the Town of Jericho Garage is located. Additionally, a new, 6,000 panel Solar Farm is in the process of being developed within the boundaries of Mobbs Farm in this excluded 39 acre area.

    What kinds of activities take place at Mobbs Farm?

    Mobbs Farm is a very popular place for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether walking, biking, skiing or running, Mobbs provides a great opportunity for people to get outdoors and enjoy the natural setting of the area.  It is a very popular area for dog walkers as dogs, while required to be under the voice control of their owners, are not required to be on leash.  Mountain Bikers enjoy miles of single track trails found throughout the property. Nordic skiers enjoy many of those same trails in winter. Bird watchers, equestrians, wildlife enthusiasts, students and teachers frequent the property, year round.  Local schools, colleges and universities have conducted outdoor classes at Mobbs, providing students with a wonderful outdoor learning experience. A new feature of Mobbs Farm are our new sledding hill trails, located near the Browns Trace Parking Area. The sledding trails feature moderate to more challenging terrain for sledding enthusiasts of all ages.

    Why should the land at Mobbs Farm be conserved?

    With increasing development pressure on open land in the Town of Jericho, the Mobbs Farm Committee recognized that it is important to set aside open land for a variety of important reasons.

    • Conserving the land, into perpetuity, means that the land will remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy.
    • Mobbs Farm is part of an important wildlife corridor, connecting the 365 acre UVM Research Forest and lands located to the east, all the way to the spine of the Green Mountains.
    • Protecting the land, the wildlife and native plants that thrive at Mobbs Farm is an investment in the future of our community.
    • Mobbs Farm makes Jericho a more desirable place to live, and its conservation is in alignment with the first goal of Jericho's Comprehensive Town Plan: "To protect the natural environment and preserve the rural character."

    Why should I vote to conserve the property if hunting is allowed there and I don’t want hunting permitted?

    The conservation of Mobbs Farm and how the property may, or may not, be used are two separate issues.    

    One of the unique features of this beautiful property is that Mobbs Farm is a multi-use area. Some folks in town probably don't like mountain biking allowed on the property. Others might take issue with dogs being permitted to join their owners on walks, without leashes. Still others may be opposed to the rule that doesn't permit motorized vehicles on the property. However, such is the nature of a MULTI-use area.   

    Two weeks out of the year, the Mobbs Farm Committee (MFC) restricts the use of mountain biking and equestrians. We restrict those uses, for their safety during the VT deer hunting rifle season, as well as to preserve the quality of the experience for the many hunters that use the property during this limited time. The Mobbs Farm Management plan, updated every 5 years and approved by the Selectboard, currently allows for hunting to take place on the property during the 2-week deer hunting rifle season. The current management plan took approximately six months to develop. During that time, residents were welcome to participate in the process. 

    The MFC has a long-standing policy of encouraging and inviting Jericho residents to participate in our monthly meetings. Jericho residents are welcome to engage in the process of developing the management plan, or voice their opinion on any other issue related to Mobbs Farm, during our monthly meetings, held on the 4th Monday of every month at 7:00 pm.

    What is the total cost of conserving Mobbs Farm?

    Working with the Vermont Land Trust, the total estimated cost of establishing a conservation easement and stewardship  endowment for the property is $43,000. To date, we have received commitments totaling $30,000 to pay for the easement. The $13,000 balance will be raised through fundraising efforts.

    Jericho Underhill Land Trust
    VT Land Trust Forest Reserve Fund
    Jericho Conservation Committee Grant
    Balance to be raised via fundraising

    What is the proposed timing?

    An advisory question on whether the Selectboard should pursue the conveyance of a conservation easement on Mobbs Farm will be included as a 2021 Jericho Town Meeting ballot article. Should the residents of Jericho vote to conserve the land at Mobbs Farm, fundraising efforts to raise $13,000 would begin immediately after the vote. Once the funds are raised, we expect the conservation easement to be established by the end of 2021.

    How will the property be protected into the future?

    Mobbs Farm will be subject to a conservation easement held by Vermont Land Trust. The conservation easement will permanently protect the public’s access to the land and its important resources including productive agricultural land, wetlands and natural features, non-motorized recreation, educational and other compatible community uses. The conservation easement will restrict activities such as residential, commercial or industrial development, mining or manipulation of wetlands. It requires that a management plan be developed with meaningful community input. A more complete overview of the VLT conservation easement on town land may be found on the Mobbs Farm section of the town website.

    Who determines what uses are allowed at Mobbs Farm?

    The Mobbs Farm Committee is responsible for maintaining the Mobbs Farm Management Plan that is updated every five years. The public is invited to participate in the process of developing the management plan.   Once updated, the Town of Jericho Selectboard reviews the document and requests changes or approves the updated version as required. It is important to note that the Management Plan may evolve over time. All uses and activities must be consistent with the parameters set out in the conservation easement.

    How can I learn more about Conserving Mobbs Farm before Town Meeting on March 2nd?

    There will be two informational ZOOM meetings in February, hosted by Mobbs Farm Committee Members. The first one will be on Thursday, February 11th at 7:00 PM. The second one will take place on Saturday, February 27th at 5:30 PM.  The Selectboard will also be hosting two ZOOM informational meetings to answer questions about ballot articles. These meetings will take place on Tuesday, February 9th at 1:30 PM and Thursday, February 25th at 7:00 PM. Mobbs Farm Committee members will participate in each of these meetings to address answer questions and field comments about the proposed conservation. Additional information may be found on Front Porch Forum throughout February. Additionally, an informational video has been produced to provide an overview of this initiative. As always, the public is welcome to attend our monthly meetings, the fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 PM. The next committee meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, February 22nd and we would be happy to answer any questions about conserving Mobbs Farm during the meeting. ZOOM links for all of these meetings will be posted on the town website.

    Following the Town Meeting Day vote, what is the next step in the process to conserve Mobbs Farm?

    The Selectboard will ultimately approve the conservation transaction. If approved, the Selectboard post notice of their decision and voters would have the opportunity to submit a petition calling for a vote on the conservation question.  If a petition is not filed in a timely manner, then the Selectboard’s approval stands and the transaction can close.