The William H. Champlin Jr. Forest is a 185-acre forest reservation located within five miles of the downtown areas of both Rochester and Somersworth. Given to the Forest Society in 2006 by Virginia Spaulding Champlin in honor of her husband, the land was part of a larger farm and forest complex that the Champlins stewarded for many years as they raised their children and were cultural and business leaders in the community.
Now, the Forest Society has the opportunity to re-unite some of the original Champlin lands by purchasing 122 acres that Mrs. Champlin donated to another local nonprofit, Homemakers Health Services, which later merged into Easterseals of New Hampshire. The Forest Society will purchase these lands from Easterseals and will enlarge the existing Champlin Forest so that it encompasses additional forestland, wetlands and the height of land on Gonic Hill.
Easterseals had contemplated selling the land for its development potential, with access from Tebbetts Road and adjacent to the existing residential area of Champlin Ridge Road.
If the Forest Society is successful, this project will create a 307-acre recreation area with an expanded trail network in close proximity to the roughly 75,000 residents of Rochester, Somersworth and Dover.
The Forest Society has an agreement to purchase the land from Easterseals, but to do so we must raise $455,000 from a variety of sources by the end of 2021. While we hope to secure most of these funds through state grant programs and local conservation funds, we know we must raise at least $30,000 from private sources. To date, we have received nearly 250 individual donations and we are within sight of reaching our goal. Thank you to all who have contributed to this campaign.
Broad support for this project will be important to helping us secure grant funding. Please help us expand and care for the Champlin Forest and enhance this community resource!