Suzanne and I have run Stump Sprouts Cross Country Ski Area and Guest Lodge now for 35 years. The Franklin Land Trust has done a great deal to preserve the mix of wild beauty and working farmsteads that surround us here in Franklin County. We know that these assets are what bring guests back to us year after year, providing our livelihood. On a daily basis, our guests express gratitude for simple things that are not available to them at home: dark night skies, rows and rows of receding ridgelines unfettered by obtrusive development, quiet spaces outdoors for reflection, contemplation—or simply as a backdrop for spending good times with family or friends. FLT’s efforts enhance the quality of life here and increase the vibrancy of our community, and thus the ability of small businesses that depend on visitors from outside the area to thrive.
While we are both still going strong at age 60, we know that the day will come when we will need to turn the reins over to someone else. Looking forward, we imagine our situation is like what many landowners and farmers face: our children, ages 25 and 30, both have full and busy lives in other parts of the country. While they wouldn’t like to see the place sold off, they are also not currently in a position to take over the operation.
We’d like to set things up to allow for continued low-impact, people-powered sports and recreation as it happens here now. One option we’ve been exploring with FLT is to place the portion of our 400 acres currently devoted to our trail system and forestry under a Conservation Restriction. A CR on the land would protect those areas from being developed and removing the option of development makes the land less expensive for prospective buyers. This means that if we ever need to sell the business, it will make transfer of the lodging portion of the business more affordable for future operators. The insight and expertise of the staff at FLT has been very useful for us in helping formulate a vision for the future of Stump Sprouts that reflects our needs, values and respect for the land.
– Lloyd & Suzanne Crawford, Stump Sprouts Cross-Country Ski Center, Hawley