Forest Society Purchases Conservation Easement on Tuckaway Farm

“Tucked Away” along the Oyster River, the Cox Family Conserves an Additional 36-acres of Tuckaway Farm in Lee

Kelly Whalen | April 27, 2021
Dorn and Chuck Cox pose in front a snow covered field at Tuckaway Farm.

“Our family has been caring for this land for more than 40 years and are grateful to be able to continue stewarding it with the support of our community for years to come,” said Dorn Cox (right), son of Chuck (left) and Laurel Cox. (Photo: Courtesy of Tuckaway Farm)

LEE, N.H. (April 28, 2021) —The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) worked with the Cox family, Dorn and Sarah Cox, (acting through Westwick Farming, LLC) and Dorn’s parents, Chuck and Laurel Cox, to buy a conservation easement on a 36-acre parcel of land that was recently acquired by the family as an addition to Tuckaway Farm. The existing Tuckaway Farm is already conserved with a conservation easement. 

A green field on Tuckaway Farm.
(Photo: Courtesy of Tuckaway Farm)
Tuckaway Farm is a three-generation family farm "tucked away" along the Oyster River, just two miles from the University of New Hampshire. The Cox family has farmed this abutting 36 acres of land for nearly 40 years and the parcel is an important component to their farm, for grazing, hay, corn, and other grains in the fields. The historic home on the property is excluded from the easement and will become an agricultural community center run by Tuckaway Farm.

The Cox family operates an organic farm, growing vegetables, fruits, hay, mushrooms, and grains, as well as pastured lamb and eggs. They currently offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and a Bread Club to local residents, as well as working with Seacoast restaurants, markets, and school districts.

“Our family has been caring for this land for more than 40 years and are grateful to be able to continue stewarding it with the support of our community for years to come,” said Dorn Cox. “The productive and managed woodlands and fields are part of an agricultural history that predates western colonization, and we are honored to steward the land for future generations.”

One hundred percent of the property is located within a priority focus area of the Great Bay Partnership’s Coastal Conservation plan. The new easement is surrounded by other conservation easements, including the Forest Society’s 192-acre Powder Major’s Forest and the Town of Lee’s existing farm conservation easement on Tuckaway Farm and the historic Randall Farm (1719). 

“This project, while small in acreage, is big in public benefits and conservation value,” said Brian Hotz, vice president for land conservation at the Forest Society. “Tuckaway Farm has been a part of the Lee community for three generations, offering organic produce, hay, and livestock. It also protects 4,000 feet of frontage along the Oyster River, which is a significant source of drinking water for the Town of Durham and the University of New Hampshire.”

The property itself is valuable farmland with excellent agricultural soils. Its wildlife habitat value is enhanced by the fact that it has frontage on the Oyster River. Twenty-six acres of the property have been identified as high-quality wildlife habitat.

A green field on Tuckaway Farm.
(Photo: Courtesy of Tuckaway Farm)
The property also contains the stone abutments and rock foundation of the “Dishwater Mill,” which was a neighborhood sawmill on the Oyster River and is listed as one of Lee’s historic mills. The property is home to the Emerson Family Cemetery as well. Captain Smith Emerson served in the Revolutionary War and likely built the nearby farmhouse, circa 1753. Emerson is mentioned numerous times in the history of the Town of Durham and is buried with family members marked with formal graves, including both a headstone and footstone, next to less formal unmarked graves on a knoll above the Oyster River. 

“Protecting valuable agricultural land is so important to our state and our country,” states Ian Rodgers, easement specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Hampshire. “The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program helps keep working lands working. The protection of this land will allow the Cox family to continue its tradition of farming for generations to come and we are thrilled to have played a role in that.”

Federal, state and private donors came together to help conserve the 36-acres on Tuckaway Farm including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Services, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, the State of New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund, the New Hampshire Farm Future Fund, Great Bay 2020, and support from more than 200 private donors.


About the Forest Society

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests was founded in 1901 to “perpetuate the forests of New Hampshire through their wise use and complete reservation in places of scenic beauty.” The Forest Society owns and manages more than 190 Forest Reservations totaling 57,000 acres located in more than 100 New Hampshire communities. As a land trust, it holds more than 750 conservation easements protecting an additional 130,000 acres statewide.





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