Vermont State Parks Inherits Beauty of Taconic Mountains Ramble

Japanese Garden
Today, the Carson Davidson Revocable Trust Fund entrusted 204 acres of beloved property in
Hubbardton to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation as part of what will be Vermont’s newest state park. The Taconic Mountains Ramble park was the vision of Carson “Kit Davidson, who passed away this past Thursday at the age of 92. 

Long before he built a Japanese garden in the shadow of Hubbardton’s Mt. Zion, documentary filmmaker and author Carson “Kit” Davidson lived with his wife Mickie, a children’s book author, in the heart of Greenwich Village.

“This was in the 1960s,” said Davidson, “back when real people could still afford that.”

Both he and Mickie loved the downtown’s creative energy, but they wanted a summer escape north of the city. The couple had a specific vision for their land, one not easily fulfilled until a fortuitous trip to Vermont in November of 1966 after five years of searching.

View of the Taconics from the property 
“Climb on the midnight bus – I think I’ve found it,” said Kit Davidson in a phone call to his wife after a visit to a 420-acre property in Hubbardton owned by a cow farmer named Clayton Calvin. At $69 an acre, the Davidsons took the plunge and bought the farm, commuting there on weekends or vacations.

During his life, Davidson valued preservation of natural beauty for public enjoyment over subdivision, development and personal profit. He invested his heart and soul into the land for over 46 years, blazing trails, preserving wildflower meadows, and building a Japanese garden. He encouraged conservation, public access and community involvement by opening his land to any who wished to enjoy it.

With today’s formal transfer of property to the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, Davidson’s vision of public enjoyment of the estate will last longer than his own tenure on the land.

Western Trails Map 
“The Department and our stewardship team recognize how important the garden, trails, and open access to the land were to the Davidsons,” said Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “We are honored to continue these traditions in this special place.”

Davidson brought his land and vision to the attention of the State of Vermont with the help of his legal counsel Bill Meub and Nancy Livak, and trusted friend Ellen Oppenheimer. As per Davidson’s wishes, the Taconic Mountains Ramble will be maintained by the Department and remain open to the public in perpetuity. An additional monetary donation from the Davidson Estate to Vermont Parks Forever will fund trail repairs, garden maintenance, and creation of a long-term management plan. In coming weeks, a second 200-acre parcel will be added to the total amount of land conveyed by the trust to form the new state park.
Aerial map 

In the short term, the simple rules remain – no overnight stays, no smoking, and no fires. The current land manager is maintaining trails for hiking and skiing and ensuring that visitors continue to find beautiful views and unique places to enjoy quiet moments in the garden. Over the long term, public use of the property will be guided by a comprehensive management plan written by the Department with input from the public.

DIRECTIONS: The primary access at this time is off of St. John Road. Parking and trails are depicted on the map above.

For more information about Vermont State Parks, visit www.vtstateparks.com

Comments

  1. Thank you for honoring Kit by ensuring his vision for his land is maintained forever. This place has such meaning to me - I've been coming here since I was a child. Kit was such a lovely person. I'm saddened to hear of his passing, but buoyed by his gift to all of us. I can't wait to bring my baby son here some day in the near future and tell him all about Kit and his gardens and trails. Thank you again.

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  2. This was very helpful. Thank you for this information.

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