Forest Advocate: Updates on Management of the CT Lakes Headwaters Forest

Matt Leahy | April 18, 2024
New Hampshire State House surrounded by trees and fall foliage in autumn

The NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has informed Aurora Sustainable Lands, LLC that the Department will not approve Aurora’s proposed Updated Stewardship Plan for the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest in Pittsburg. The company’s announcement last year that it intended to reduce the level of timber harvesting on the property while increasing the income it generates from the sale of forest carbon credits caused deep concerns in the North Country about the impacts to local tax bases and the forest products industry.  

Since that announcement, the state agencies which oversee the conservation easement the State holds on the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest have been reviewing Aurora’s proposed Stewardship Plan to ensure it meets the terms of that easement. (Read the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's comments here.) The State’s decision is detailed in its April 16 letter.  

As the holder of the conservation easement on the Connecticut Lakes property, the State has a duty to enforce the terms of the easement. Its decision reflects the agencies' concerns with the proposed changes to how Aurora wants to manage the property.  

At this point, the Forest Society cannot predict what the outcome will be. However, we will continue to watch the next steps in this important story.

The Forest Society will continue to advocate for keeping the State’s forests as forests — so they can provide critical benefits including forest products, clean water and air, and habitat for wildlife. Achieving those outcomes depends on the private landowners who own almost 75 percent of the forested land in New Hampshire. Regardless of how the issue at the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest is finally resolved, state and federal policy must continue to respect the rights of these forestland owners to develop management plans that reflect their goals for their forests.  

Read more from local news sources: