96 Years of Protecting Franconia Notch

June 1, 2020
A black and white view of the forested White Mountains overlooking Echo Lake.

This week marks the 96th anniversary of the protection of Franconia Notch. We are the future generations that have benefited from the vision and action of our forebears.

In the fall of 1923, the 6,000 acres of land that make up Franconia Notch were for sale, threatening the natural beauty that fell under the gaze of the Old Man of the Mountain. The Forest Society’s first President/Forester, Phillip Ayers, sprang into action, kicking off a statewide campaign to raise the money to help purchase and conserve the Notch. His approach? “Selling” the trees of the Notch, one by one, and awarding a “Certificate of Purchase” for every tree that was protected.

The response was incredible, with people across New Hampshire rallying to the cause. The State Federation of Women’s Clubs took up the challenge, setting goals for its 12,000 members in 151 towns and cities. They raised $65,000, aided by everyone from rotary clubs and chambers of commerce to children at the Orphans’ home, who raised $20 from their pennies. With the deadline quickly approaching, Dartmouth benefactor Edward Tuck kicked in an extra $10,000, and the Appalachian Mountain club gave $7,000.

By June 1, 1924, Granite Staters and friends raised $100,000 ($1.5 million today!) in just a few short months to save the Notch. This display of generosity, collective action and Yankee ingenuity continues today — we have seen it time and time again from our supporters — and it inspires us to be bold for the sake of future generations!

You can support the Forest Society here.