Please join the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (“Forest Society”) in conserving an exceptional 1.6-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 an agreement with the landowners to purchase the property at only half of its appraised value and now seeks to raise a total of $565k by January 30, 2020. This goal covers the purchase price, project costs, and stewardship. The Forest Society and volunteers from the nonprofit organization Trout Unlimited (TU) have partnered to raise the necessary funds and are excited to report that only about $75k remains to be raised! Commitments to date include $300k from the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program, $135k from the NH Fish & Game Department, $24k from “Mooseplate” funds, and $32.5k from Trout Unlimited and six of its chapters in both NH and MA, reflecting this River’s importance beyond our borders. With only $75k left to raise, we’re now in a great position to complete this project, but only with support from individuals like you to help protect this spectacular stretch of river.
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