Streams, Mountains, Bears, Loons and Trees—Yes, Please!
Help conserve 3,750 acres in the Mahoosuc Highlands
The Forest Society has the opportunity to conserve a magnificent landscape and a key link in the chain of connected lands that reach from the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire to Grafton Notch in Maine, encompassing the beautiful Mahoosuc Mountain range.
Working in partnership with The Conservation Fund and the Town of Shelburne, NH, the Forest Society seeks to purchase 3,750 acres of forestland that includes 1.6 miles along the Androscoggin River.
Rising from the banks of the Androscoggin, the Mahoosuc Highlands property reaches to the ridgelines of Stevens Point, Mount Hayes, Cascade Mountain, and extends to Bald Cap Peak and Middle Mountain, together forming the scenic backdrop and big country seen from Route 2 from Gorham through Shelburne, the Moose Trail Scenic Byway.
This land has been managed as industrial timberland for many years, and as it reached the turn of an investment cycle, Shelburne residents were eager to see it remain in forest management, contributing to the regional timber economy, but with enhanced conservation protections to safeguard its unique habitat for wide-ranging species and allow for continued passive recreation over the long term. The Forest Society emerged as the perfect partner.
Conserving the Mahoosuc Highlands will advance the Forest Society’s vision of expanding our footprint and capacity in the North Country, served from our growing center of operations, Forest Society North at The Rocks in Bethlehem. The Mahoosuc Highlands property surrounds the Forest Society’s Peabody Forest, an 81-acre property that the historic Peabody Brook Trail winds through on its way to connecting with the Appalachian Trail (AT).
The Shelburne Trails Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club have collaborated on maintaining a robust trail network around the AT for many years and now the entire Peabody Brook Trail to Giant Falls will be protected.
And, as one of the Forest Society’s largest reservations, the Mahoosuc Highlands offers outstanding opportunities for fishing and paddling among loons and other migratory waterfowl on the Androscoggin, hiking along the extensive network of trails in the region, and biking the Cross NH Adventure Trail. Encompassing Leadmine Brook and Peabody Brook, this is a magnificent area with cascades and cold-water streams that support native brook trout and other threatened species.
Long-cycle forest management will maintain the habitat values inherent in this large contiguous area so important to black bear, moose, and migratory songbirds, while also offering the opportunity for stand improvement and climate-friendly management regimes. These forests also form the viewscape seen from the Carter-Moriah Range in the White Mountain National Forest.
This land conservation effort will advance in two phases, together known as the Mahoosuc Highlands. In phase 1, the Forest Society will acquire the 2,717-acre Shelburne Valley Forest from Bayroot LLC, and in phase 2, the Forest Society will acquire the 1,030-acre Bald Cap Peak Forest from The Conservation Fund, subject to a Forest Legacy conservation easement.
With a total project cost of $3.3 million, which includes purchase price, acquisition costs, and a long-term stewardship endowment for its care in perpetuity, the Forest Society must raise about $500,000 from private individuals and foundations.
The Mahoosuc Highlands project has already received grant commitments of $900,000 through the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program and a $50,000 grant from the Wild East Action Fund. With several other significant grant requests presently under consideration, the precise amount needed from private sources will be confirmed by early summer. In the meantime, please join us in this exciting effort to create one of the Forest Society’s largest reservations!