Press Release: LCHIP Matching Grant to Support Forest Society Project

Anna Berry | December 14, 2023
Gov. Sununu poses with Stacie Hernandez and LCHIP leaders at the Statehouse.

Forest Society Land Conservation Project Manager Stacie Hernandez (second from left) attended the LCHIP annual awards announcement on December 11 with Governor Chris Sununu (left) and LCHIP Executive Director Paula Bellemore and Board Chair Ben Wilcox. (Photo: Joe Klementovich, courtesy of LCHIP)

Governor Sununu joined the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) on December 11 in announcing $3.7 million in matching grants to support 25 land conservation and historic preservation projects across the state, including a $150,000 grant to the Forest Society. The grants will support efforts to rehabilitate 12 historic buildings and permanently conserve more than 4300 acres of farm, timber, and ecologically significant land in all ten counties of the state.

The Forest Society is working to conserve the historic Sugar Bush Farm property along Route 13 in Goffstown. One of the last farm’s in the area, the property boasts 18 acres of open hayfield and over 20 acres of forest. Conserving the property will contribute another 50 acres to over 300 acres of surrounding conservation land, forever protecting wildlife habitat and some of the best agricultural soils in the state.

Governor Chris Sununu applauded the program noting that LCHIP makes efficient use of a variety of funding sources to maximize community impact across the Granite State.

“What’s great about LCHIP,” Governor Sununu commented, “is that these are community driven projects, with local people tackling supply chain issues and other challenges to get the job done.” The Governor added “This is just a great program, and while the ARPA funds might go away, LCHIP is here to stay – it’s a program that just keeps getting better.”  

LCHIP grant recipients must match each dollar contributed by LCHIP with at least one added dollar and complete the funded projects according to the program’s rigorous standards. in grant awards will be matched by more than $9.3 million contributed by other public and private sources, infusing $13 million into the state’s economy through direct project activity.  

48 proposals sought more than $7.3 million in funding from the program which had only $3.7 million in available funding. As a result, the program was forced to turn down 23 of the 48 proposals received. Some of these will be unable to move forward without LCHIP’s support, leading to a possible loss of farm and recreational lands, and the very real possibility of permanent damage to historically significant buildings.  

“Our historic buildings and the landscapes that surround them connect us to our communities and provide us with a sense of place,” shared LCHIP Executive Director Paula Bellemore. “The historic buildings that LCHIP grants help rehabilitate are not just bricks and mortar, and the lands conserved are more than geology and topography.  Our surroundings, both built and natural, connect us with who we are and what we value. Building and strengthening that connection is a big part of what we do every day at LCHIP – because those connections are a big part of what makes NH special.”

“The LCHIP Board of Directors is deeply appreciative of NH’s state legislators for their support of the program,” remarked LCHIP Board chair Ben Wilcox, President and General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort. “Rising land conservation and historic preservation costs have resulted in a 50% increase in the average LCHIP grant request in the past five years.  This fact has made it more difficult for our Board to award sufficient funds to grant applicants.”  

Wilcox concluded, “It is satisfying to see our state communities working to preserve our natural, historic, and cultural heritage.  In the years ahead, we will need to continue to find ways to enhance our funding to meet the needs our communities.”   

About New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program 
The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) is an independent state authority providing matching grants to New Hampshire’s municipalities and non-profits, helping to preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural, and historic resources and ensure their contribution to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. Since 2000 LCHIP has awarded 589 grants, investing $61 million in 200 NH communities to help conserve more than 241,000 acres of land and rehabilitate 172 historic structures. Learn more about how LCHIP is helping to preserve and protect New Hampshire’s heritage at, by following LCHIP_NH on Instagram, or Facebook.