A Lifetime of Loving Land
When I first met Dick Ware in 1996 as a newly arrived Forest Society land agent, he proudly produced the thank-you card the Forest Society had sent to his mother and him in 1929, acknowledging their one-dollar donation to help conserve the once threatened Franconia Notch. The card confirmed that their contribution had “bought” them one tree in this now-protected, iconic part of New Hampshire. Dick would go on to live a long life “buying” many more trees in many other special places in the White Mountains.
Upon his death in 2016, Dick donated 54 acres to the Forest Society on East Branch Road in his hometown of Bartlett. His devise was the last in a long history of generous gifts to the organization. In fact, he appears to hold the record for the longest span of giving of any Forest Society member—some 87 years! Dick understood and embraced both the principles and pragmatics of conserving land, and he wanted to ensure that his gift would provide both conservation and financial benefits to the organization. Accordingly, the gift restrictions he set up included a requirement that any net proceeds from the sale of this land go into the Forest Society’s general endowment fund in support of operations.
This past September, the Forest Society completed the sale of his property by selling a 5.7-acre building lot subject to a limited conservation easement. The restrictions of the easement cap development at one residence set back from the edge of East Branch Road. The restrictions also created a buffer strip along the road to protect the existing ground cover and terrain and to minimize the visual impacts of a new home on the lot.
Earlier in 2018, the Forest Society sold the abutting 48.4-acre parcel to the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT) subject to a full conservation easement. The restrictions prevent conventional development and contain other typical terms protecting the land’s conservation features. They also guarantee pedestrian access to the property and allow for the creation of a parking lot and trailhead. In making this purchase, the USVLT has collaborated with the Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA), a nonprofit group dedicated to creating and maintaining backcountry skiing opportunities in New Hampshire and western Maine.
Engaged in many community-based activities, Dick and others also set up and administered the Pequawket Foundation, providing grants to cover transaction-related expenses for worthy land conservation projects undertaken by the Forest Society and other nonprofits in the Mount Washington Valley.
This winter, as skiers and snowboarders flock to ride untouched powder on Dick’s land and adjacent areas, I’m confident he’ll be smiling from above about the outcome of his final project and the legacy he left in the mountains.