Bulkeley Family Conserves Cornish Colony Land

October 23, 2007

Bulkeley Family Conserves Cornish Colony Land

In 1885 when sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens rented and later purchased property in Cornish, he had no idea one of the first artists’ colonies in America was about to be born. Flourishing from the 1880s to 1917, Saint-Gaudens inspired other artists to acquire farms in the area as they became available. Soon rural Cornish evolved into what was referred to as “little New York” as Existing farm houses were replaced by larger homes and formal gardens containing many statues and other works by local artists. Some of the traditions continue to this day with an art museum and concerts performed throughout the summer at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

The Bulkeley family purchased one of the premier historic properties of the Cornish Colony in the 1940s. Recently Grace Bulkeley and her two sons, Bob and Will, worked extensively with land planner Lucia Kittredge to develop a vision for the property that led the family to donate a conservation easement to the Forest Society on 773 acres, permanently protecting valuable habitat, views, and watershed from future development.

The property abuts the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site as well as NH Fish & Game’s Cornish Wildlife Management Area.

The Bulkeley land is also near the Connecticut River, rising, eastward to encompass several hills looking out over the river, while making up the unbroken forested viewscape from Route 12.The land also contains several small streams that empty directly into the Connecticut River. The large size of the property and its adjacent conserved land provide large contiguous tracts of valuable habitat for species like bear, moose and bobcat.

Much of the land was once pasture, which has since reforested and is now dominated by mature white pine. There are areas of mixed hardwoods especially near the tops of the hills. Bob Bulkeley manages the property following a sustainable forest management plan developed by Meadowsend Timber Management Co.

By donating this conservation easement, the Bulkely family has taken an important step to permanently protect their part of a culturally and ecologically important landscape in Cornish.

The The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. The Forest Society’s Center for Land Conservation Assistance was established to help aid land trusts and municipalities achieve their land conservation goals. In order to preserve the quality of life New Hampshire residents know today, the goal of the Forest Society, in partnership with other conservation organizations, private landowners, and government, is to conserve an additional one million acres of the state’s most significant natural lands for trails, parks, farms and forests by 2026