Belknap Woods Expansion
Center Harbor, NH
For more than 30 years, Belknap Woods has been a favorite place for outdoor recreation, nature observation and enjoyment for people in Center Harbor and surrounding communities. Owned by the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) with a conservation easement held by the Squam Lakes Conservation Society (SLCS), this forested property provides a network of trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. It also provides an opportunity for carry-in boat access for canoes and kayaks to Dog Cove on Squam Lake.
In October of 2019, Belknap Woods was substantially expanded to nearly 130 acres through an extraordinarily generous gift of an abutting parcel of land by the Mattson family of Center Harbor. This beautiful property encompasses designated prime wetlands and critical wildlife habitat, including beaver ponds and heron nesting sites. The permanent conservation of this expansion enhances the role that Belknap Woods plays in protecting water quality.
LRCT is proud to have partnered with SLA, SLCS and the Mattsons on this outstanding project. SLA is now the owner of the former Mattson land, the SLCS conservation easement has been expanded to encompass this land, and LRCT holds a backup interest in the conservation easement on the entirety of Belknap Woods. The organizations look forward to working together in stewarding this key property in the Squam Watershed.
Munroe Preserve Conservation Easement
In 2016, the Dan Hole Pond Watershed Trust (DHPWT) acquired the Charles Norman Munroe Preserve, protecting 177 acres of diverse and highly ranked habitat along the Pine River, in Ossipee. The DHPWT recently conveyed a conservation easement to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) to ensure the protection of this preserve forever.
LRCT will monitor the property regularly to ensure continuing protection of the Munroe Preserve’s conservation values, including its extensive wetlands and upland forests that are home to a wide variety of wildlife.
The Munroe Preserve includes almost two miles of river frontage along with 28 acres of wetlands, and abuts the 3,244-acre Pine River State Forest, thus adding to a magnificent wildlife corridor. According to Dr. Rick Van de Poll, the diversity of ecosystems on the preserve provide exceptional habitat for a large variety of plants and wildlife.
LRCT and DHPWT have had a long and collaborative relationship in their complementary work of conserving important landscapes in and around the Ossipee Mountains. This is the first official partnership between the two organizations on a conservation property. The two organizations look forward to their partnership in permanently preserving the Munroe Preserve’s spectacular habitat and making it available for public benefit and enjoyment.
Moultonborough Falls Conservation Easement
The Moultonborough Falls Conservation Area is an outstanding community resource, a 37-acre woodland and wetland parcel along the Red Hill River between Whittier Highway (Route 25) and Lee’s Pond. The property encompasses significant habitat, including 3,800 feet of shoreline, and protects water quality downstream in Lee’s Pond and Moultonborough Bay of Lake Winnipesaukee. It provides a scenic setting for outdoor recreation and learning by people of all ages, and includes historical sites that were part of the thriving village of Moultonborough Falls in the 1800s.
The Town of Moultonborough purchased the land in 2018 after voters at Town Meeting agreed to the acquisition and the Moultonborough Conservation Commission raised necessary funds for the project. Earlier this year, the Town granted a conservation easement to LRCT, to ensure permanent legal protection for the land in perpetuity for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the community. The Moultonborough Conservation Commission is developing plans for a parking area and trails that will facilitate the use of the property for recreational and educational activities, and LRCT will be responsible for monitoring the conservation easement to ensure that the property’s conservation values are protected.
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, The Nature Conservancy, and LRCT. The Moultonborough Falls Conservation Area is an important addition to the conserved lands in this river corridor. LRCT is proud to work with the Town of Moultonborough, and we are grateful to the generous donors and Moultonborough property owners whose commitment made this project possible and also to realtor Tom Howard for his role in conserving this important property. Finally, we are very grateful to the members of the Moultonborough Conservation Commission for their leadership and dedication, and we look forward to working with the Commission on future land conservation opportunities.
Red Hill Conservation Area Expansion
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) is proud to announce the expansion of its Red Hill Conservation Area in Moultonborough. LRCT’s acquisition of 88 acres of land on the eastern flank of Red Hill increases the size of the conservation area to 2,664 acres. The newly acquired parcel aids in the protection of tremendous natural beauty, valuable wildlife habitat, and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature education as part of an expansive unfragmented woodland habitat.
Red Hill has long been an important recreational resource for residents and visitors alike. With over ten miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, Red Hill is one of the best places in the region for family hikes and is visited by thousands of people each year; for generations of children, Red Hill has been their first mountain climb.
For nearly 30 years, conservation of land on Red Hill has been one of LRCT’s highest priorities. LRCT is very grateful for extraordinarily generous support for this project from many individuals and families in the area, as well as from E.M. Heath’s Supermarket in Center Harbor, where over 320 customers donated to the project by adding a contribution to their total at the checkout counter.
As owner of the Red Hill Conservation Area, LRCT looks forward to conserving and stewarding this important property for the benefit and enjoyment of the community for generations to come.
Farm Trust Conservation Easement Project
LRCT has acquired a conservation easement that protects 1,615 acres owned by The Farm Trust in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Conservation of land in the Ossipee Mountains has long been one of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s highest priorities.
For more than 10 years the LRCT has been working to protect these lands that encompass scenic mountain summits and slopes, the upper part of the Cold River Valley, productive farmland, working forests, and pristine wilderness. With the support of a grant from the Open Space Institute’s (OSI) Resilient Landscapes Initiative, LRCT has permanently conserved this landscape for future generations.
Many qualities make the permanent protection of this property particularly noteworthy. The conservation easement protects significant areas of biodiversity, substantial wildlife habitat highly ranked by the NH Fish and Game Department, and resilient landscapes naturally resistant to drought, flooding, and changing temperatures, as identified by The Nature Conservancy and OSI. This project provides critical protection for vernal pools and the water quality of Cold Brook, a tributary of the Bearcamp River.
The land includes vast woodlands used for sustainable forestry, virtually untouched wilderness areas and old growth forests, and farmland used for livestock pasturing and haying. The land also provides access to Larcom and Little Larcom Mountains on abutting LRCT land and opportunities for nature education and scientific study. Finally, the property’s scenic value is unsurpassed.
The conservation easement will ensure that all of these qualities are protected forever. The land is part of a 21,150-acre conserved landscape in the Ossipee Mountains, including 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.
This project has been critical to the ongoing efforts to preserve unspoiled landscapes in the Ossipees and the creation of a habitat corridor connecting the Ossipees to the White Mountains. We are grateful to The Farm Trust for wanting to work with LRCT to pursue a conservation vision for this magnificent landscape and the support from OSI for making this project a reality.
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.
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
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.
Sugarloaf — Goose Pond Conservation Area
Landmark Newfound Lake Property Conserved
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) and the Newfound Lakes Region Association (NLRA) are proud to announce the permanent conservation of 400 magnificent acres in Alexandria overlooking Newfound Lake and encompassing the landmark ridgelines of Big and Little Sugarloaf and much of the shoreline of pristine Goose Pond.
The Newfound Region’s most recent conservation success, to be named the Sugarloaf – Goose Pond Conservation Area, was donated to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust this September. The Newfound Lake Region Association will hold a conservation easement on the land.
The Sugarloaf – Goose Pond Conservation Area forms a key part of the viewscape on the western side of Newfound Lake, most prominently the Ledges that tower above West Shore Road. This gem of land includes unspoiled rugged and diverse habitat, and encompasses about 80% (3,000 feet) of the shoreline of Goose Pond. The remainder of the shoreline belongs to Wellington State Park.
The newly conserved property also contains more than 2 miles of popular hiking and snowmobile trails, including the eastern end of the Elwell Trail, a key link in the route from Newfound Lake to Mt. Cardigan.
LRCT President Don Berry and NLRA Executive Director Boyd Smith said that conservation of this property has long been a Newfound vision and priority, and that it has been accomplished because of the extraordinary generosity of two exceptional donors, Chris Keppelman and Andy McLane, both of Bridgewater, who made it possible to acquire the property for conservation.
Andy McLane noted that “Conservation of this remarkable parcel of land ensures that the property, and its scenic beauty, natural wildlife habitat, and trails will be forever preserved for public enjoyment and for traditional low-impact public recreational uses”. Chris Keppelman further explained that the property had been on the market for some time and that its historical uses would likely have been lost to private development had this conservation transaction not been completed.
Executive Director Smith said that the NLRA’s work on conserving the Sugarloaf – Goose Pond property began in mid-2007, “which demonstrates the need for vision, patience, and persistence when working to conserve key properties for future generations.” He added, “Anyone who has ever visited this property knows how wonderful it is. If you have not been there yet, photographs give merely a sense of the beauty that permeates this place. Add the smells and sounds of undisturbed woodland near the pond or the eagle-eye view of Newfound Lake and the far away Franconia Range from the Sugarloaf ledges, and you will know what an important achievement this is.”
In addition to the two donors, Berry and Smith highlighted the roles played by the Newfound Land Conservation Partnership and the John Gemmill Newfound Fund in this project and in other land conservation work in the Newfound watershed.
The Newfound Land Conservation Partnership is a collaboration of the NLRA, the LRCT, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, along with camps, other conservation organizations, and interested individuals, formed in 2009 to promote land conservation in the Newfound Watershed.
The John Gemmill Newfound Fund was created in 2011 by Helen Gemmill, in memory of her father, John K. Gemmill, long-time Director of Camp Pasquaney in Hebron. The Gemmill Fund supports Newfound watershed land conservation by covering project costs such as surveys, appraisals, and stewardship that could otherwise be a challenge to successful land conservation transactions. The fund is managed by the LRCT and can be used to facilitate Newfound watershed land conservation projects by any organization engaged in such work.
Berry and Smith said that the LRCT and the NLRA look forward to working together and with local volunteers in stewarding the remarkable Sugarloaf – Goose Pond Conservation Area for generations to come. They noted that this will be the second land stewardship partnership between the two organizations. They also work together on the Grey Rocks Conservation Area along the Cockermouth River at the head of Newfound Lake in Hebron, which is owned by the NLRA with a conservation easement held by the LRCT.
The NLRA, founded in 1971, works for the sustainable use of the Newfound watershed and for the protection of the watershed’s water and land. The NLRA provides water quality monitoring and educational programs to protect the environment and the values of the Newfound watershed community and has played a lead role in the preparation and implementation of Every Acre Counts: The Newfound Watershed Master Plan. To learn more about the NLRA, please visit its website at www.newfoundlake.org.
Belknap Range Land Conservation — Success!
“Everybody Hikes Mt. Major” Campaign is Completed
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society), along with the Belknap Range Conservation Coalition and its members, including the towns of Alton and Gilford, are very grateful to extraordinarily generous donors who helped us complete the campaign to conserve four key parcels of land in the Belknap Range. More than 1,800 individual donors, foundations, and other grant-making organizations, and the towns of Gilford and Alton, provided support for the project, and the $1,800,000 campaign goal was reached in late August 2014.
The four parcels of land total approximately 950 acres and encompass parts of key hiking trails, including the most popular trails to the summit of Mt. Major, unfragmented forests and rare plant communities, and valuable wildlife habitat. They also contribute to the protection of the water quality of Lake Winnipesaukee and other nearby lakes and rivers.
The four parcels are as follows:
- 75 acres in Alton adjacent to the Mt. Major Trailhead on Route 11.
- 100 acres in Alton just west of the summit of Mt. Major abutting the Mt. Major State Forest.
- 331 acres in Gilford encompassing the northeast face of Piper Mountain, the south and southeast faces of Belknap Mountain, and the valley of Moulton Brook, which flows to Manning Lake.
- 455 acres in Alton west of Mt. Major, encompassing the summit and slopes of East Quarry Mountain.
The Belknap Range southwest of Lake Winnipesaukee is a treasured recreational and scenic resource. At the range’s eastern end, Mt. Major beckons as one of the most popular hikes in New Hampshire. Many hikers, however, have no idea that portions of the Mt. Major trails and other key Belknap Range trails pass through private, unprotected land. While many landowners have generously allowed public use of trails on their lands, there are no guarantees of future accessibility to trails on land in private ownership and no permanent protection for significant parts of the Belknaps’ forested landscapes.
The Mt. Major/Belknaps project ensured that the four key parcels described above, as well as the significant portions of the Belknap Range trail network on these parcels, will be available for people to enjoy today and in the future.
Thank you to everyone who supported the “Everybody Hikes Mt. Major” campaign. Your generosity makes it possible for the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, the Forest Society, and our partners to conserve and steward these key Belknaps parcels, including magnificent natural areas and one of New Hampshire’s most popular hikes, and lays the foundation for conserving more land and resources of the Belknap Range.