U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepts bequeathed Vermont land
Free Press Staff Report
Saturday, August 28, 2010


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced its intentions to accept a sprawling tract of lakeshore on Lake Memphremagog in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom left to the government in a philanthropist's will.



Michael Dunn bequeathed 480 acres and a mile of undeveloped shoreline -- known as Eagle Point -- when he died in 2007, and the federal government faced Sept. 1 to claim the gift or lose it to private interests.
Eagle Point's acres would sell for millions, but Dunn left them as a gift to the U.S. and Canadian governments. The transplanted Montrealer owned nearly 900 acres straddling the border on Memphremagog's eastern shore and lived there year-round.



His bequest came with a condition: If the governments do not accept ownership within three years of his death, Eagle Point must be sold and the proceeds given to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The province of Quebec previously accepted its share of Eagle Point.
The Vermont congressional delegation worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to meet the deadline. In January, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch wrote to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to request an expedited review of the project.

Leahy then renewed that request at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Salazar in March, and after Leahy publicly urged Salazar that the federal government should not miss out on this unique opportunity, Salazar agreed to make the project a high priority.