Forest Society and Moose Mountains Regional Greenways Dedicate Moose Mountains Reservation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jack Savage, VP for Communications & Outreach
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
(603) 224-9945, ext. 330;
Joyce El Kouarti, Executive Director
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
(603) 817-8620; INFO@MMRG.INFO
2,332-acre forest safeguards headwaters of Salmon Falls River
Middleton, N.H., July 2, 2007—The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) and the Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) held a public dedication ceremony at the Moose Mountains Reservation, a new 2,332-acre conservation area owned and managed by the Forest Society. The land forms the core of one of the last large undeveloped forests in southern New Hampshire, and is a key headwater of the Salmon Falls River. The $2.4 million project was funded through a first-in-the-nation partnership between two federal funding programs, supplemented by contributions from more than 700 private donors.
“The dedication of the Moose Mountains Forest Reservation is a key milestone in the Forest Society’s effort to protect water, working forest and community quality of life in southern New Hampshire,” said President/Forester Jane Difley. “We’re here today to thank all those who made it possible: Senator Gregg and the rest of the New Hampshire congressional delegation; the local communities who strongly supported the project, and every one of the individual private donors who gave generously to conserve one of the last large unfragmented forests in southern New Hampshire.”
Stretching over three mountain ridges, the Moose Mountains link the 1,500-acre Jones Brook Wildlife Management Area and the 100-acre Middleton Town Forest, creating a 4,000-acre block of permanently conserved forestland and critical habitat for a rich variety of native wildlife, including moose, black bear, and an established heron rookery. The land has been used for generations for hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, bird watching, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. Under Forest Society ownership, these public recreational uses of the land continue, within an overall management plan that protects the property’s water and other natural resources while fostering sustainable forestry.
“We’re thrilled. There were times we thought this day—the public opening of a permanently conserved Moose Mountains Reservation—might never come,” said MMRG Board Chairman Steve Panish. “This project only happened because of the close collaboration of conservation groups like MMRG and the Forest Society along with the strong support of elected officials and private donors.”
The Moose Mountains project was funded in part through a $988,000 grant from the federal Forest Legacy Program, a program of the U.S. Forest Service. The grant was applied to the purchase of a conservation easement on the land, which is held by the State of New Hampshire. A second $936,000 grant from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP), which is administered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), funded the balance of the conservation easement, and a portion of the property’s fee value. More than $400,000 in private contributions from more than 700 individual donors funded the balance of the purchase price, transaction costs and a stewardship endowment for the land.
The New Hampshire congressional delegation was heavily involved in securing the federal funding for the project.
“Moose Mountains is truly one of the special places in our state and has helped define New Hampshire’s unique environmental heritage,” said U.S. Senator Judd Gregg. “This area’s impact on the important forest and coastal resources, wildlife habitats and of course the natural beauty of the region is well-documented. Protecting these 2,300 acres was a challenge but the deep commitment the Forest Society and Moose Mountain Regional Greenways made to the project illustrates again why New Hampshire has been a leader in environmental conservation. I have been happy to ensure that the federal government, through the Forest Legacy and CELCP programs, joined the state and local leaders in these efforts and I want to thank those that have worked so hard to make this preservation project possible,” Senator Gregg said.
“Locally-driven conservation efforts are important to preserving New Hampshire’s pristine landscapes,” said U.S. Senator John Sununu. “With strong community support, public and private entities worked side-by-side to protect this tract at Moose Mountains. Acquisition of this land preserves wildlife habitat and permanently protects a popular recreation area for the enjoyment of future generations.”
“I was pleased to successfully work with Senators Gregg and Sununu to secure nearly $2 million dollars for this initiative when I served in Congress,” said former U.S. Representative Jeb Bradley.” As someone who lives in the Lakes Region, I am personally familiar not only with this wonderful project, but also the need to protect open space in this region of New Hampshire. My congratulations to all of the volunteers who made today possible.”
"The completion of the Moose Mountains project by the Forest Legacy Program ensures that traditional. forest uses will continue on this important piece of private land in New Hampshire. No longer under threat of conversion to other uses, this property will continue to provide significant public and private forest benefits for future generations," said Kathryn Maloney, Director, Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We are tremendously pleased that the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program participated in funding the Moose Mountains project,” said Ted Diers, program manager, NH Coastal Program, NH Department of Environmental Services. The Coastal Program is the state lead agency for CELCP in New Hampshire. “Moose Mountains is a perfect example of how New Hampshire can achieve coastal land protection--the project leveraged many different sources of funding, successfully integrated the concept of forest protection with water quality protection, and brought together local communities and organizations, state agencies and non-profits and federal conservation programs,” Diers said.
Also recognized at the dedication was the Evergreen Valley Snowmobile Club, for their extensive volunteer work maintaining and improving 12 miles of snowmobile trails on the Reservation. In addition to snowmobiling, Moose Mountains Reservation is open to the public for low-impact recreational use, such as hiking, bird watching, hunting and fishing. The property’s hiking trails can be accessed via New Portsmouth Road in Middleton, where the Forest Society has installed a small parking area and an informational kiosk with a trail map. Extensive views can be enjoyed from several peaks, such as the intriguingly named Phoebes Nable, accessible by foot from the parking area.
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (www.mmrg.info) was founded in 1999 by conservation commissioners and planning board members from the towns of Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, and Wakefield. The group named itself after the Moose Mountains range central to the region. Today this grassroots, membership-driven organization represents a dynamic collaboration between community leaders, private landowners, concerned citizens, and public and private conservation organizations.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. In order to preserve the quality of life New Hampshire residents know today, the goal of the Forest Society, in partnership with other conservation organizations, private landowners, and government, is to conserve an additional one million acres of the state’s most significant natural lands for trails, parks, farms and forests by 2026.