By Robert Blechl, Caledonian Record
BETHLEHEM — More than a year after ground broke on Forest Society North, the renovated Carriage Barn at The Rocks Estate that will become the northern headquarters for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, construction is nearing completion and SPNHF is envisioning a campus that will be open to many other organizations for education, events, and entertainment.
Although there were some small delays because of labor issues, the Forest Society North building that will feature a gift shop, classrooms, conference room, interpretive signage for education and public restrooms on the first floor and office space for SPNHF staff on the second floor is expected to be open to the public by Nov. 1, Anne Truslow, SPNHF’s vice-president for development, said at the site on Thursday.
While SPNHF will resume its regular programming, the future and its possibilities are wide open for the campus and its central facility.
"We are approaching this project with the idea of collaboration,” said Truslow. “Our hope is that this can be a convening place and foster cooperation and collaboration among groups. It’s nice to have a place to bring people together and coordinate.”
The first big event in the new building will be SPNHF’s annual meeting on Sept. 23.
For hikers and walkers, The Rocks Estate trails are expected to be open by Oct. 1, after most or all construction vehicles are no longer on site.
And after several years, the Christmas tree season at The Rocks, which features a Christmas tree farm where visitors can cut their own trees, will be back to normal for 2023.
“For Christmas season, which starts a week before Thanksgiving, it’s on,” said Truslow. “We have a gift shop coming in, fire pits, and a horse and wagon. That’s the plan.”
Bus tours are also slated for autumn and one wedding in October.