Please join the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (“Forest Society”) in conserving 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.
The Forest Society has only about $25,000 left to raise in order to purchase and steward the Ammonoosuc River Forest property! Thanks to generous support from state grants from the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program, NH Fish & Game Department, and the “Moose Plate” program, individual donors, and outstanding leadership from Trout Unlimited chapters and members from across New England, we have raised sufficient funds to proceed toward completing the project later this year. In addition, the landowner has agreed to sell the property to the Forest Society at 50% of its fair market value. But in order to reach our total campaign goal, we must secure the final $25,000 – we hope we can count on your help.
For more information or to make a contribution, please contact the Forest Society’s Senior Director of Land Conservation, Tom Howe (firstname.lastname@example.org), or VP for Development, Anne Truslow (email@example.com), tel. (603) 224-9945. You can also learn more and make your gift by visiting www.forestsociety.org/project/ammonoosuc