Forest Society establishes "natural areas" on Mount Monadnock
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jim Graham or
Peter Ellis (603) 224-9945
August 11, 2004
FOREST SOCIETY ESTABLISHES NEW "NATURAL AREAS" ON MOUNT MONADNOCK
Decision establishes one of the largest privately-owned natural areas in the state
MOUNT MONADNOCK – The slopes of one of the most climbed mountains in the world are now among the best protected, with the Forest Society’s recent decision to declare 2,786 acres it owns on Mount Monadnock as permanent “natural area.” The designation means the land will never logged, and that it will be managed essentially free of human intervention.
Recently approved by the trustees of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the designation represents one of the largest permanent natural areas in private ownership in the state.
The natural area designation encompasses nearly 75 percent of the Forest Society’s 3,861-acre ownership on Mount Monadnock. The Forest Society began acquiring forestland for conservation on Mount Monadnock in 1912. Today, the reservation, often described as “the most climbed mountain in the world,” is the largest of the Forest Society’s 140 forest reservations. The State of New Hampshire and the Town of Jaffrey also own land on Mount Monadnock. Collectively, these ownerships comprise Monadnock State Park.
“This designation means that these lands will always stay primitive and wild, free of roads, timber harvesting or other human intervention, except for that necessary to manage hiking trails and other public recreational use,” said Mike Smith, chairman of the Forest Society’s trustees. “Over time, these forests will develop old growth characteristics that are virtually absent from the New Hampshire landscape after centuries of intensive land use. Old forests are important to wildlife, preservation of biological diversity, and to people.”
The Forest Society will continue to manage the remainder of its ownership on Mount Monadnock for public recreation, protection of public water supplies, and forest and wildlife habitat management through sustainable timber harvesting. A small portion of this acreage is being carefully harvested this summer. The Forest Society uses the proceeds from timber harvesting to cover the costs of caring for its lands, as well as to further its land conservation efforts throughout New Hampshire.
The designation brings to 5,084 the total number of acres formally designated by the Forest Society’s trustees as natural areas. Designation is based on a careful inventory and analysis of biological and ecological features, such as rare plant or animal habitat that are deserving of this high level of protection. Trustee designation is essentially permanent, and analogous to the U.S. Congress designating wilderness areas on national forests.
When the designation process is complete, the Forest Society expects to establish natural areas on 10,000 to 12,000 acres of its current statewide ownership of 38,560 acres, or about 30 percent. Located in all ten New Hampshire counties, the Forest Society’s forest reservations are all open to the public for most non-wheeled recreational activities, and all are permanently protected from development.
“This designation reflects the Forest Society’s commitment to the protection of wild forest as well as carefully managed working forests,” Smith said. “This commitment extends both to our own lands as well as to our advocacy on public lands, such as the White Mountain National Forest.”
For more information about the Forest Society’s forest reservations and management, including the natural area designation process, go to www.forestsociety.org, or contact our staff forest ecologist Peter Ellis at or 603-224-9945.
Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is a 10,000-member, nonprofit organization that has helped protect more than one million acres. Visit www.forestsociety.org for more information, or call (603) 224-9945.