Mt. Sunapee Fund-Raising is Successful
By Matthew Reid
Argus-Champion Staff Reporter
Used with permission
NEWBURY — A timetable of less than two months was not enough to deter the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests from raising nearly half a million dollars for its latest conservation project.
The Society officially announced last week that they had raised the $400,000 necessary to protect approximately 1,100 acres of land on the eastern slope of Mount Sunapee as part of the Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest project.
“We are very thrilled about meeting our goal,” said Anne Truslow, director of development for the Forest Society. “We received over 500 donations by the end, which is just a fantastic level of commitment from the people of the area.”
The Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest Project will help to conserve 845 acres of land in Newbury and 250 acres in Goshen, and was done in collaboration with the Newbury Conservation Commission and North Woodlands LLC. The Forest Society launched its fund-raising campaign for the project in late March, and officially purchased the two conservation easements on May 18.
“We expected to be raising money right up to the end, but by the last week we were confident that we’d reach our goal,” said Forest Society Land Protection Specialist Brian Hotz. “A few larger gifts came in towards the last few weeks, but mostly the money was raised through several medium-sized gifts.”
Truslow said the fund-raising timetable was tighter than usual, but followed a similar pattern to other projects.
“There is a sort of trajectory that goes along with projects like this,” she said. “First you have to spread the word, then you get people asking questions, and finally you start getting the money to come in.”
An upfront donation of $200,000 from the Newbury Conservation Commission began the fund-raising process, and funds were also donated from the Town of Goshen’s conservation fund.
Letters about the project were sent out to all residents living in the towns surrounding the property, including Newbury, Sunapee, New London, Bradford, Washington and Goshen.
Meetings and tours of the property were also held with town representatives, organizations and interested land owners and conservationists. A grant from the Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation was one of the larger contributions, but donations from several sources made up the final donor list.
“It was quite a nice spread,” Truslow said. “We couldn’t have raised all of the money without the help of so many contributors. We’ve had great responses to projects like this before, but we’ve never been able to raise awareness and funds in such a short amount of time like we did for this project.”
Many of the donations were from families wanting to donate.
“The breakdown of gifts is really reflexive of how important this land is to the people who live near it,” Truslow said. “There is a long history of land conservation in this area and it shows the most with projects like this.”
Several partner organizations contributed to the fund-raising as well, including the Friends of Mount Sunapee, Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Club, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition, Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Rural Heritage Connection of Bradford, North Woodlands LLC and the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust.
The Newbury and Goshen tracts of land covered by the project are adjacent to nearly 15,000 acres of protected forestland, including Mount Sunapee State Park, Pillsbury State Park, and private property under conservation easements.
The next step, Truslow said, will be to work with land owner Don Clifford of North Woodlands LLC. The Forest Society will be conducting periodic site visits and aerial monitoring to ensure the conditions of the easement are followed.
The Newbury parcel runs primarily north to south, starting at the Andrew Brook trail and moving parallel to Mountain Road. The Goshen property is located in the town’s southeastern corner, in the area of the Moose Lookout Campsite.
The Society originally protected the crest of Mount Sunapee in 1911 and donated its protected acres on the mountain to the state of New Hampshire in the late 1940s. Today the area remains one of the largest unfragmented landscapes south of the White Mountains.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests can be reached at (603) 224-9945 or online at www.forestsociety.org.