Union Leader: Forest Society announces campaign to renovate Carriage Barn at The Rocks Estate
By John Koziol, Union Leader Correspondent
BETHLEHEM — A year after a fire destroyed its operations building and a gift shop at The Rocks Estate, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has said it will renovate the existing Carriage Barn for an estimated $8 million, turning it into a new “Forest Society North” Conservation Center.
On Feb. 13, 2019, Bethlehem Fire Chief Jack Anderson said a fire began accidentally in a lower-level workshop of the 116-year old, multi-story structure known as the Tool Building, which the Forest Society had used as its North Country conservation and education center.
The fire destroyed the Tool Building, consumed the gift shop in the adjacent former electrical building and damaged several tractors, farm equipment and a car.
No one was injured. The property was insured. Firefighters made a heroic effort to prevent the fire from spreading the very short distance to the home of Nigel Manley, who is The Rocks’ longtime manager, said Jack Savage, then the Forest Society’s spokesman.
On Wednesday, Savage, who has since been named president of the Forest Society, said in a prepared statement that the renovation of the Carriage Barn “will give us a home base to expand our work on behalf of New Hampshire forests.”
He said the renovation will “allow us to enhance The Rocks as a popular recreational destination, as a successful Christmas Tree Farm… and a popular place to learn about maple sugaring at the New Hampshire Maple Museum.”
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