Champlin Forest in Rochester Receives Local & State Support
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) is working to conserve 122 acres adjacent to the 185-acre William H. Champlin, Jr. Forest in Rochester. Announcements this week of grant awards from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (ARM) of the Department of Environmental Services now bring the Forest Society within $10,000 of securing the funds needed to purchase, protect and manage the property.
LCHIP, which is celebrating its 20th round of grants this year, announced an award of $115,000 toward the acquisition and the ARM Program recently voted to award the project $110,000.
These grant awards build on commitments and contributions already made by the Rochester Conservation Commission, and more than 250 individual donations to the Forest Society in support of the project from community members in Rochester, Dover, Somersworth and beyond.
“I am excited to see Rochester expand its conservation efforts and continue to protect the city’s natural resources,” said Mike Dionne, chair of the Rochester Conservation Commission. “The project strengthens local ecosystems and provides a place for people of Rochester and the surrounding communities to enjoy.” City planner, Ryan O’Connor adds, “Rochester is thankful for the partnership with the Forest Society and other supporters in the Champlin Forest project. These types of efforts protect natural resources that help build a resilient, healthy community.”
The 185-acre William H. Champlin, Jr. Forest was donated to the Forest Society in 2006 by Virginia Spaulding Champlin in honor of her late husband. At the time, the Champlins donated additional land to another local nonprofit, Homemakers Health Services, now a part of Easterseals of New Hampshire. The Forest Society now will be able to re-unite the two properties by purchasing 122 acres from Easterseals, thus creating a 307-acre reservation that includes forestland, wetlands, and the height of land on Gonic Hill.
“We knew we had to jump on the opportunity to expand an existing conservation area and protect water quality in this highly-developed region of the state,” says Jack Savage, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “But the enthusiastic support of the community, led by the Rochester Conservation Commission and local residents, and now reinforced by these two important state grants, is a wonderful demonstration of the value of accessible conservation land that is also close to home for many.”
"LCHIP is always pleased to assist with a project that has a such substantial local support,” states Dijit Taylor, executive director for the Land & Community Heritage Investment Program. “The William H. Champlin Jr. Forest is already a great community resource: it will be enhanced by the addition of 122 acres. The property provides increased recreation opportunities for residents of the cities of Somersworth and Rochester and nearby towns. This is especially important as the pandemic has heightened public interest in local hiking opportunities. The presence of remnants of a small-scale granite quarry from the mid-1800s when stones were drilled and cut by hand, is an unusual and interesting feature.”
Once the fundraising goal is met, the Forest Society will be working on a management plan for the property and plan to complete the acquisition by the summer of 2022.
ABOUT THE FOREST SOCIETY
The Forest Society is a private, non-profit land trust and forestry organization established in 1901. It currently holds more than 750 conservation easements statewide permanently protecting more than 135,000 acres of New Hampshire’s landscapes. The Forest Society also owns 191 forest reservations constituting more than 57,000 acres in 105 New Hampshire communities.
ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE’S LAND AND COMMUNITY HERITAGE INVESTMENT PROGRAM
The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority created by the legislature in 2000. LCHIP’s legislative mandate is to ensure the perpetual contribution of natural, cultural and historic resources to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. LCHIP does this by providing matching grants to New Hampshire municipalities and non-profits to conserve and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. The program has provided 530 grants which have helped to conserve close to 300,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management and recreation and has supported projects to study and rehabilitate 324 historic structures and sites. Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 179 of New Hampshire’s 234 communities. Fifty-four million dollars of state money have led to a total project value of more than $312 million. The money for LCHIP grants comes from fees on four kinds of documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state.