December 6, 2009

Concord, N.H., Dec. 4, 2009--With donations continuing to roll in to conserve some 3,000 acres in southwestern New Hampshire known as the Ashuelot River Headwaters project, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests announced that deadline to complete the fundraising has been extended until Dec. 31, 2009.

 The Forest Society has a purchase and sale agreement to acquire and protect 1,750 acres in Lempster, including the peak and eastern slopes of Silver Mountain, two miles of frontage on Long and Sand Ponds, and forestland protecting the headwaters of the Ashuelot River. Should the state’s largest land trust successfully raise the $2.18 million needed to protect the land, generous abutting landowners have pledged to donate land or conservation easements on an additional 1,250 acres.

“Due to a procedural delay in some of the legal paperwork involved in the transaction, we now have until the end of this year to finish the fundraising,” said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. “We’re encouraged by some recent major gifts toward the permanent conservation of these important forestlands, but we do still have a ways to go.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, and it’s an achievable goal,” Difley said.

As of the end of November some $1.75 million has been raised or pledged toward the project, leaving $430,000 still to be raised. More than 494 individuals and organizations have contributed so far, including recent major gifts of $50,000 and $30,000 from two anonymous private donors. The Open Space Institute (OSI) recently announced a $250,000 grant toward the Ashuelot Headwaters from the Doris Duke Foundation because of the highly regarded wildlife habitat on the property.

“There are still some substantial gifts in the works that we’re hopeful will come through, but at this point every penny counts,” Difley said. “We can see the finish line, but it’s going to take a major final effort to cross it.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests ( is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization.