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.