Farm Trust Conservation Easement Project
Conservation of land in the Ossipee Mountains has long been one of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s highest priorities, and we are writing to share news of a major conservation project in the northern Ossipees in Tamworth and to ask for your support.
LRCT has been working for several years with The Farm Trust (members of the Bemis family) to protect the expansive forest and farm lands long owned by the family. This landscape encompasses scenic mountain summits and slopes and the upper part of the Cold River Valley, and it consists of productive farmland, working forests, and pristine wilderness. LRCT now has the opportunity to permanently protect these lands—1,615 acres in all—through the purchase of a conservation easement.
The land to be protected will become part of a 21,150-acre conserved landscape in the Ossipee Mountains. This landscape includes thousands of acres already protected by LRCT, such as the Ossipee Mountains Preserve in Tamworth abutting The Farm Trust land and the Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area in Moultonborough and Tuftonboro. The Farm Trust project is critical to the ongoing efforts to preserve unspoiled landscapes in the Ossipee Mountains and the habitat corridor connecting the Ossipees to the White Mountains. The Farm Trust land that will be conserved through this project and the contiguous conserved lands are shown on the map below.
The Farm Trust land has a wide array of qualities that make its permanent protection particularly significant. This land encompasses substantial valuable wildlife habitat, including much that is highest ranked under the NH Fish and Game Department’s Wildlife Action Plan. The property also includes land identified by The Nature Conservancy and the Open Space Institute as having great value as resilient landscape—naturally resistant to drought, flooding, and changing temperatures—and as a significant area of biodiversity.
The Farm Trust land contains woodlands used for sustainable forestry, virtually untouched wilderness areas and old growth forest, and farmland used for livestock pasturing and haying. In addition, the property affords access to trails to Larcom and Little Larcom Mountains on abutting LRCT land and opportunities for nature education and scientific study. The land also provides critical protection to vernal pools and to water quality in Cold Brook and its tributaries which flow to the Bearcamp River. And finally, the scenic qualities and value of this property are unsurpassed.
The planned conservation easement will ensure that all of these qualities are protected forever, making this an extraordinary and essential project. We are very grateful to The Farm Trust for wanting to work with LRCT to pursue their conservation vision for this magnificent landscape.
LRCT’s project fundraising goal is $1,500,000, which includes the purchase price established by appraisal, transaction costs, and funds that will be added to LRCT’s Stewardship Fund. This Fund is used to support stewardship, monitoring, and defense for LRCT’s owned conservation properties and conservation easements. We are pleased to announce that we have raised or received commitments for over two-thirds of the needed funding, including a $200,000 grant from the Open Space Institute.
LRCT could not have accomplished our past land conservation projects in the Ossipees without the support of tremendously generous donors, and we cannot complete this latest project without similar support. We need to raise the remaining funds by June 30, and we hope that you will want to join us in reaching the goal.
Please make a donation here:
Thank you for your generous support!
Whiteface Mountain Conservation Easement
The Town of Wolfeboro, through its Conservation Commission and the Land Bank of Wolfeboro-Tuftonboro, Inc., have donated a conservation easement to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust on three key parcels of land on Whiteface Mountain in Wolfeboro.
This conservation easement will ensure the permanent protection of 118 acres of land, including a one mile trail and the summit of Whiteface with its stunning views, for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.
The opportunity to protect this important landscape has been made possible by the hard work and generosity of the two organizations. The property will be known as the Whiteface Mountain Conservation Area.
Last year, the Student Conservation Association was contracted to establish a trail on the property. The trail is beautifully constructed, ensuring that hikers have an easy and scenic walk to the summit. The trail winds through a young, healthy birch forest and glacial erratics supporting vibrant lichen communities. These parcels provide a wonderful woodland setting for hiking and nature observation and also contribute significantly to the protection of water quality and wildlife habitat.
Additional 273 Acres on Piper Mountain Conserved
LRCT and the Gilford Conservation Commission worked together to conserve 273 acres on Piper Mountain in Gilford. This property encompasses Piper’s open summit (elevation 2,044′), the surrounding unfragmented forest and wild habitat, and parts of key hiking trails.
View from Piper Mt.
Rick Van de Poll Photo
Contiguous to thousands of acres of conserved land, the Piper Mountain parcel has long been a conservation priority. This project will ensure that Piper Mountain’s wildness and scenery, popular trials, and magnificent views of surrounding mountains and lakes can be enjoyed by all for generations to come.
Click on map for printable PDF
Anyone who has hiked on Piper Mountain or elsewhere in the Belknaps, or who enjoys the views of the Belknaps from around the region, can attest to the beauty of this landscape. YOU were the key to permanently protecting a critical part of this landscape.
Piper, the dog, on her namesake mountain – Nanci Mitchell Photo
You can read more about our past success conserving land in the Belknap Range here.
Thank you very much for your support!
LRCT Expands Fogg Hill Conservation Area
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust is proud to announce the expansion of its Fogg Hill Conservation Area in West Center Harbor. The permanent conservation of an abutting 43-acre parcel on Piper Hill Rd. brings the total acreage of the conservation area to 235. The newly acquired parcel encompasses valuable habitat and 1,250 feet of shoreline on Bear Pond and will allow LRCT to create a trailhead parking area to provide access to all of the trails at the Fogg Hill Conservation Area to be completed by the fall of 2016.
The Fogg Hill Conservation Area forms a significant part of a 900+ acre unfragmented woodland and wetland habitat in the Waukewan and Winona Watershed that is the largest roadless area in Center Harbor. This area is important for wildlife as well as a number of species of rare and threatened plants, and it’s also critical to the quality of surface and ground waters in the Watershed. Expanding the conserved acreage in this area is essential to maintaining this important habitat, preserving the water quality of these beautiful lakes for recreation and drinking water supplies and protecting the underlying aquifer also used for drinking water. In addition, these conserved lands will provide wonderful recreational and educational opportunities for both residents of and visitors to the area.
The property includes the Fogg Hill Bog Wetland Complex, which was designated a prime wetland by Center Harbor in 2013. One of the town’s highest elevations, the summit of Fogg Hill, is also part of the property. Fogg Hill is an important element of the scenic landscape of the area, visible from vantage points in Center Harbor, Meredith, Ashland, and New Hampton.
View of the Fogg Hill Bog Wetland Complex
Rick Van de Poll Photo
Ecologist Dr. Rick Van de Poll, who completed a Natural Resources Inventory for the town in 2011, notes:
“The Fogg Hill property provides a critical conservation link between the only level peat bog in the area and the largest unfragmented forest block of land in Center Harbor. It provides watershed protection to both Lake Winona and the Snake River, both of which contribute valuable public drinking water supplies to Meredith. This remote upland area contains a mix of unusual forest types of venerable age, complete with high value wildlife habitat and rare plant species. The conservation of this parcel provides an anchor to protecting a landscape that will be used and appreciated for generations to come.”
Dr. Rick Van de Poll at the Fogg Hill Wetland Complex
during a Guided Hike
LRCT is very grateful for extraordinarily generous support for this recent acquisition from a number of individuals and families in the area, as well as for help in the fundraising from members and directors of the Waukewan and Winona Watershed Protective Association. In addition, the project received a generous grant from the New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation, as well as a major contribution from the Town of Center Harbor Conservation Fund to purchase a conservation easement on the land to be held by the Town.
LRCT originally acquired 192 acres of the Fogg Hill Conservation Area in 2013 with tremendous support from individuals, businesses, community organizations, and foundations in the community and from other towns in the Lakes Region. In addition, the Center Harbor Conservation Fund made a significant contribution towards the project and the Town will hold a conservation easement on the property. LRCT also received a generous grant from the Aquatic Resources Mitigation (ARM) Fund of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services towards conservation and stewardship of the property.
As owner of the Fogg Hill Conservation Area, LRCT looks forward to its partnership with the Town of Center Harbor as conservation easement holder in conserving and stewarding this important property for the benefit and enjoyment of the community.
View of Fogg Hill Across Lake Winona from Sky Pond
State Forest in New Hampton
Bernie Volz Photo
Red Hill River Conservation Area
Expansion of Red Hill River Conservation Area Brings LRCT Conserved Land Total Over 24,000 Acres
LRCT recently acquired a 44-acre parcel of land in Sandwich (Map R11, Lot 9B) lying east of Great Rock Road and west of LRCT’s 372-acre Red Hill River Conservation Area. The property includes a large wetland with rich wildlife habitat, as well as forested upland and a small area of farmland. The parcel adjoins and expands LRCT’s Red Hill River Conservation Area, which in turn abuts the 176-acre Myers-Schneider property on which the Town of Sandwich holds a conservation easement.
The land was owned by the family of the late David Leach, and the family agreed to sell the land to LRCT so that it could be conserved in perpetuity. We feel fortunate to have had worked with landowners so committed to conservation.
LRCT has constructed a trail named after the late Jocelyn Gutchess, who lived nearby and worked on this conservation project prior to her passing in 2014. Jocelyn served as LRCT Trustee for many years and was devoted to conservation and to the well-being of her town. A trail map for this property as well as others can be found here.
The Red Hill River Conservation Area not only provides a scenic woodland and wetland complex for passive public recreation, but also contributes significantly to the area’s water quality and wildlife communities. The Red Hill River and its tributaries flow from and through areas, such as Red Hill Pond, Red Hill, and Garland Pond, where significant land has been conserved by the Town of Sandwich, LRCT, and The Nature Conservancy, and the Leach parcel will be an important addition to these conserved lands. This area provides habitat for bear, bobcat, beaver, fox, moose, and many other animals and plants. This project expands the protected lands that benefit the Town of Sandwich and surrounding communities.
We want to thank all those that made this project possible including the Sandwich Conservation Commission, the Alfred Quimby Fund, and many area residents who have provided strong support for the project.