Connecticut River Forest Fundraising Building Momentum
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Private Donations Bring Forest Society Closer to Conserving more than Five Miles of River Frontage
CONCORD, N.H., May 5, 2008—Thanks to a combination of grants and generous private donations, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) has made significant progress toward the goal of raising by June 15, 2008 the $2.8 million needed to permanently conserve 2,100 acres along the upper reaches of the Connecticut River in Clarksville.
“We’re pleased to have surpassed the $2 million mark,” said Susanne Kibler-Hacker, vice president for development at the Forest Society. “We’re cautiously optimistic about raising the remaining amount—but with six weeks to go, we will need all the help we can get.”
The property features more than five miles of pristine river frontage, numerous streams, wetlands, important wildlife habitat, traditional working forest, recreational opportunities, and extensive views from U.S. Route 3, a designated National Scenic Byway.
The project is getting help from a variety of sources. In April, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund awarded a grant of $75,000 toward the Connecticut River Forest—adding to the previously announced grants from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund ($500,000) and the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) ($400,000).
Outdoors enthusiasts have been responding vigorously with private donations as well. An appeal to snowmobilers has yielded some 200 individual gifts totaling nearly $10,000 in support of protecting scenic Trail 128 that traverses the property between Stewartstown and Pittsburg.
“The snowmobilers have been absolutely terrific,” said Jack Savage, vice president of communications/outreach at the Forest Society. “I think it’s very telling that we’re seeing a broad base of support for this conservation project—recreational users understand the need to protect the land we use and enjoy.” Savage noted that the Twin Mountain Snowmobile Club even made a generous donation as a club.
The five and a half miles of Connecticut River frontage included on the property is highly regarded nationally for fishing, and the Forest Society has been working with Trout Unlimited to garner support among anglers. The Basil Woods Chapter of Trout Unlimited has pledged up to $10,000 toward the project, and in doing so issued a challenge to other TU chapters in New Hampshire. If the other five chapters can donate $6,000 collectively, the Basil Woods chapter will match it. The Basil Woods chapter is also offering to match up to $4,000 of individual donations from it own members. Chapter funds come from various fundraising events such as annual banquets and raffles. So far the Ammonusuc Chapter has risen to the challenge and made a $1,000 donation.
The Forest Society must raise $2.8 million by June 15, 2008 to acquire the property from private owners who have held and managed it for decades. The owners recently considered a large scale development plan, but welcomed the opportunity to see the property permanently protected through a sale to the state’s oldest and largest land conservation and forestry organization.
The Connecticut River Forest would continue to be managed as working forest under Forest Society ownership, and it would remain open to the public for activities including fishing, hunting, hiking and snowmobiling—all key to the economy of New Hampshire’s North Country. This would be the Forest Society’s largest reservation north of the notches and among its five largest forest reservations statewide, which include Mount Monadnock.
This 2,100-acre property includes nearly the entire eastern shoreline of the Connecticut River from Clarksville to Pittsburg, at the gateway of the Connecticut Lakes region. The wooded property sits directly opposite the extraordinarily scenic Amey Farm located at the confluence of Indian Stream with the Connecticut River. The Amey Farm is protected through conservation easements held by the State of New Hampshire. The property is also in very close proximity to the 171,000-acre Connecticut Lakes Headwaters project that was completed in 2003. The Connecticut River was designated a American Heritage River in 1998, and the Connecticut River Forest is highly visible from Route 3, the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway.
To help the Forest Society raise $2.8 million by June 15, 2008, please visit www.forestsociety.org or contact Susanne Kibler-Hacker, Director of Development, at 603-224-9945.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. To preserve the quality of life New Hampshire residents enjoy today, the goal of the Forest Society is to work in partnership with other conservation organizations, private landowners, and public agencies to conserve an additional one million acres of the state’s most significant natural lands by 2026.