The Montpelier Foundation and the National Trust Partner with the Piedmont Environmental Council to Place 1,024 Acres Under Permanent Conservation Easement

In conjunction with Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), James Madison’s Montpelier and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have recently placed an additional 1,024 acres of historic land under permanent conservation easement. Thanks to a generous gift from the Mars family, The Montpelier Foundation, the National Trust, and PEC have recorded easements that protect agricultural resources, forest resources, scenic open space, historic landscapes and views, and wildlife habitat that exist on the property. The easements will be held by PEC and build on 25 years of investment in the restoration, interpretation, and stewardship of Montpelier’s land. 

“We are so thankful for the support of the Mars family on this initiative and excited to be partnering with PEC to further James Madison’s conservation ethic,” said Kat Imhoff, Montpelier President & CEO. “The story of conserving these grounds begins with Madison himself and is still as relevant today as it’s ever been. We are proud to be an example of a cultural institution with a forward-thinking and sustainable plan to protect our environmental resources and continue to use them as a natural classroom to engage with the public.”  

James Madison’s famous 1818 Address to the Agricultural Society of Albemarle placed him, as author and historian Andrea Wulf describes, “at the vanguard of forest and soil conservation, decades before a concerted effort was made to preserve America’s nature.” At the forefront of the modern conservation movement, Madison lamented the “injudicious and excessive” impact of “errors in our rural economy” on what he called the “symmetry of nature” – the relationship between the natural world and humanity. 

“This completion and recording of the easements mark an important moment in the conservation plan and long-term investment in Montpelier as a living example of sustainable development,” said Chris Miller, President of PEC. “By preserving, restoring, and interpreting the lands surrounding this important historic site, James Madison's Montpelier is leading the way by implementing a key component of Madison’s world-view that still very much resonates with us today.”

Currently, permanent historical and conservation easements protect 915 acres of the property, including the Landmark Forest and the outlying forested areas along with the Civil War encampments and Gilmore Farm. This brings the total land protected by easements to 1,939 acres. 

“We are all about saving historically-significant places, and James Madison’s Montpelier, as a National Trust Historic Site, is certainly one of those sites,” said Paul Edmondson, President & CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The breadth of the history at Montpelier and its resonance centuries later make it one of the most special places in our country and one that we are eager and proud to protect.”