In 2019, the Forest Society acquired the Stillhouse Forest, a 215-acre new reservation with nearly a mile of meandering frontage on the Merrimack River in Canterbury and Northfield. Thanks to support from more than 120 individual donors and state grant programs, the Forest Society raised over $400,000 needed to purchase the property and provide for its stewardship.
Now, the Forest Society has the opportunity to enlarge the Stillhouse Forest by acquiring 76 acres that would protect another 1,200 feet of river frontage to the north of the existing reservation. This project will expand the protection of contiguous habitat in the Merrimack floodplain, and will increase public access to the trail system using a recently improved woods road off Fiddler’s Choice Road in Northfield.
Increasing conserved land in the Merrimack River Watershed is a top priority of the Forest Society’s land protection and outreach programs. Originating at the confluence of the Pemigewasset and the Winnipesaukee Rivers in Franklin, NH, the Merrimack flows 117 miles to Newburyport, MA, where it meets the Gulf of Maine. Along the way, the river winds through some of our state’s most urban communities, Concord, Manchester and Nashua, providing outdoor recreation opportunities to a wide range of users. It is also an important source of drinking water for more than 600,000 people.
The Forest Society already holds conservation easements on nine properties that total over 1,600 acres along the main stem of the Merrimack from Franklin to Concord. With this addition to the Stillhouse Forest, the Forest Society will now own almost 300 acres and a mile of shoreline along the east bank of the river. The current project expands contiguous protected land that provides important riparian wildlife habitat and floodplain forest types, while also improving public access to the trail network.
Your gift today will help us launch the campaign to expand recreational access and habitat protection along the Merrimack. Showing strong support from individuals and the community will help us make a strong case for funding from state grant programs, so please don’t wait! Make your gift below, or contact Anne Truslow at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.