Thank you all for the generous support in the completion of these projects!
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. The project was completed in January 2017, with LRCT owning the land and the Town of Gilford holding a conservation easement.
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.
Belknap Range Land Conservation
Alton & Gilford, NH
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 totaling $1,800,000. This multi-year project was completed in April 2016.
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.
Fogg Hill Conservation Area Expansion
Center Harbor, NH
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust is proud to announce the expansion of its Fogg Hill Conservation Area in West Center Harbor. The acquisition and permanent conservation of an abutting 43-acre parcel on Piper Hill Rd. in January 2016 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 allows LRCT to create a trailhead parking area to provide access to all of the trails at the Fogg Hill Conservation Area.
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.
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.”
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.
Red Hill River Conservation Area Expansion
Expansion of Red Hill River Conservation Area Brings LRCT Conserved Land Total Over 24,000 Acres
LRCT 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 in July 2015. 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.
Landmark Newfound Lake Property Conserved: Sugarloaf Ridge— Goose Pond Conservation Area
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 Ridge – Goose Pond Conservation Area, was donated to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust in September 2014, and the Newfound Lake Region Association holds a conservation easement on the land.
The Sugarloaf Ridge – 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 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 Ridge – 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 Ridge – 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.