With your help, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests will conserve an exceptional 1.8-mile stretch of the Ammonoosuc River in Bethlehem.
The Ammonoosuc (“small narrow fishing place” in Abnaki) is one of the largest rivers in the northern White Mountains, originating in Lakes of the Clouds on Mt. Washington’s western slope and flowing westward to meet the Connecticut River in Woodsville. With scenic vistas and key coldwater fisheries in its upper reaches, the Ammonoosuc still harbors wild brook trout as well as rainbows and browns.
To permanently protect important wildlife habitat and enhance angler access, the Forest Society will acquire 257 acres in Bethlehem that include frontage on the main stem of the Ammonoosuc River and seven feeder streams. One of those, Haystack Brook, has particular importance as a thermal refuge for trout escaping higher summer temperatures in the main stem, and as prime spawning habitat for brook trout. The land also hosts a rich array of wetlands, uplands, beaver flowages, and riparian habitat.
The upstream end of this forested property starts at the Carroll/Bethlehem town line, just upstream of the NH Fish and Game angler access parking lot on Rt. 302, two miles west of Twin Mountain. The property runs downstream from there for 1.8 miles, with frontage on both sides of the river for 1.1 miles of that distance.
To enhance fishing access, the Forest Society will construct an additional parking area off Rte. 302, with a short trail down to an old railbed that closely parallels the river. The southerly portion of the property is accessible off Rte. 3 with three-season parking and extensive wood roads and trails. This section of the property also fronts on fine fishing water, and in addition provides superb habitat for upland game, deer and moose for the enjoyment of hunters and hikers alike.
The property abuts the White Mountain National Forest and has an established snowmobile trail (“Twin Mountain Connector”) running along that common boundary. Great views of the Presidential and Franconia Ranges are visible from within the property, and with over a mile of undeveloped road frontage, this property provides a scenic natural buffer along Rte. 302. This project will help protect local drinking water supplies due to the significant sand and gravel aquifer underlying the whole property. It also protects the historic features of the old B&M railbed, whose culverts are made of massive hand-cut granite. Finally, this project will extinguish an approved five-lot subdivision along Rte. 302 as well as a conceptual plan for 30 lots on the south side of the river.
Thanks to support from nearly 200 individuals - and 7 different Chapters of Trout Unlimited - the Forest Society will be able to purchase and steward the Ammonoosuc River Forest property later this year! This project will also benefit from generous support from state grants from the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program, NH Fish & Game Department, the “Moose Plate” program, and a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. A true partnership effort has made the difference for the Ammonoosuc River Forest. Thank You!
For more information or to make an additional contribution toward the perpetual stewardship of this land, please contact the Forest Society’s VP for Development, Anne Truslow (firstname.lastname@example.org), tel. (603) 224-9945. You can also learn more and make your gift by visiting www.forestsociety.org/project/ammonoosuc