Sunapee Conserved!; Forest Society Raises Money in Record Time
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amanda Nickerson, Communications Specialist
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
(603) 224-9945, ext. 301
Jack Savage, VP for Communications & Outreach
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
(603) 224-9945, ext. 330;
THANKS TO PARTNERS AND 550 DONORS, FOREST SOCIETY RAISES MONEY IN RECORD TIME
ACQUIRES EASEMENT ON 1,100-ACRE PILLSBURY-SUNAPEE RIDGE FOREST
Concord, N.H., May 23, 2007—The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is pleased to announce that–thanks in great part to the extraordinary cooperation among numerous partners–it has successfully raised more than $400,000 for the Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest project. On Friday, May 18, the Forest Society purchased conservation easements that will protect 1,100 acres in Newbury and Goshen, which guarantee that the property, including a major portion of the eastern slope of Mount Sunapee, will be permanently protected with public recreational access assured.
The campaign launched in late March with a May 15 deadline to raise a total of approximately $400,000. The Town of Newbury, where 845 acres of the project are located, played an instrumental role by committing $200,000 from its Conservation Fund. The Forest Society sought to raise the balance from private donors. The Town of Goshen also contributed from its Conservation Fund.
“This was a great project,” said William Weiler of the Newbury Conservation Commission. “The members of the commission are happy that they could contribute.”
“We didn’t have a lot of time,” acknowledged Anne Truslow, Director of Development at the Forest Society, “but we were able to meet the fundraising goal thanks to the extraordinary response of more than 500 contributors from near and far. This included a generous grant from the Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation and many collaborative gifts from extended families–a tribute to the deep connections to the Sunapee region that span generations.”
“We were astonished by the enthusiastic and generous support of our conservation partners in the region when we asked them for help with this ambitious project,” said Brian Hotz, Land Protection Specialist at the Forest Society. “They went above and beyond to help us protect this iconic landscape.”
According to Debbie Stanley, Executive Director of the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (ASLPT), the Pillsbury Sunapee Ridge Forest project is a perfect example of how a regional land trust like ASLPT works with a statewide organization like the Forest Society, sharing expertise and effort to protect land. With a membership base of more that 1,050 households, the ASLPT was able to spread the word about this project resulting in significant dollars raised.
“Everyone understood that the 1,100 acres was a priority to the Sunapee region,” Stanley said. “The complexity of this project required pooling fundraising sources among multiple partners.”
In addition to ASLPT and the Town of Newbury, those partners included the Friends of Mount Sunapee, Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Club, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition, the Town of Goshen, Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Rural Heritage Connection of Bradford and North Woodlands, LLC.
“This is just about as good a feeling as it gets,” said Don Clifford of North Woodlands, who owns the conserved property and will manage it sustainably for forestry. “Without the partnership of the Forest Society and the Newbury Conservation Commission, North Woodlands simply wouldn’t be able to afford to keep these lands as working forest.”
“Local ownership is important,” observed Jolyon Johnson, president of Friends of Mount Sunapee. “This protects not only the natural resources of the area, but assures continued public use of trails like the Andrew Brook Trail.”
The Forest Society purchased two conservation easements to protect two tracts of land–845 acres in Newbury and 250 acres in Goshen. These properties 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 Forest 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 Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest property has outstanding wildlife habitat and natural resource values that give it local, statewide and regional significance. Its location amid one of the largest stretches of unfragmented forest south of the White Mountains make it a priority for conservation in the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan and by the Quabbin-to-Cardigan partnership (Q2C).The Newbury Tract includes a section of the Andrew Brook Trail, a beloved route from Mountain Road in Newbury to the shore of Lake Solitude and beyond.
Protecting the Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest was a key project in the Q2C area. The Quabbin-to-Cardigan project is a landscape-scale conservation initiative in the Monadnock Highlands involving 25 partner conservation organizations, including the Forest Society. The region, stretching from the Quabbin Reservoir in north central Massachusetts to Mount Cardigan, encompasses the iconic peaks of Mount Monadnock and Mount Sunapee. Only 17 percent of the region is currently conserved. The partnership has completed extensive mapping of priority conservation areas within the region.
The The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. The Forest Society’s Center for Land Conservation Assistance was established to help aid land trusts and municipalities achieve their land conservation goals. 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