Concord, N.H., December 16, 2008— The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests purchased a conservation easement on 960 scenic acres on the northern slopes of Ragged Mountain adjacent to the Ragged Mountain Ski Area.
Located in the Town of Hill near the Danbury and Andover town lines, the March Pond Forest sits amid a 10,000-acre landscape of large unbroken woodlands and is a high-priority area for Quabbin-to-Cardigan Initiative. It connects with more than 750 acres of conserved land in the Town of Andover and is in close proximity to other conservation lands, including several Forest Society-held easements. Protecting these large forest blocks while they remain undeveloped is critical for preserving wildlife habitat for forest birds, reptiles and amphibians, and a number of wide ranging mammals such as black bear, moose, white-tailed deer, bobcat and fisher.
In addition to its scenic beauty and strategic location, the Forest contains the beautiful, remote March Pond and a number of small streams that feed Danbury Bog and the Smith River – one of the most pristine tributaries of the Merrimack River. Protecting these small coldwater streams and the forests that surround them is vital for clean water. These upland streams are critical habitat for native fish, including such species such as the Atlantic Salmon and American Shad that have historically migrated from the sea to spawn in fresh clear streams.
“I want to commend the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests for their efforts to conserve 960 scenic acres on the northern slopes of Ragged Mountain,” Congressman Paul Hodes said. “This easement will help preserve New Hampshire’s natural splendor for generations and protect critical natural resources. I am pleased that I was able to help secure federal funding for the forest society that helped this important project.
The March Pond Forest landowner generously sold the easement to the Forest Society for a below-market price. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded the Forest Society a special grant of $235,000 to purchase the conservation easement to protect fish habitat in the Merrimack River watershed. Forest Society members and other donors raised the final $40,000 needed to complete this important project.
“This easement will ensure that critical fish habitat in New Hampshire will remain protected,” said John Catena, Northeast Regional Supervisor for the NOAA Restoration Center. “It is an important part of a larger effort to protect and restore fish habitat in the Merrimack River watershed.”
“This project is one more example of the commitment the SPNHF has long demonstrated to protecting our state’s unique natural resources,” said US Senator Judd Gregg. “The March Pond Initiative will not only conserve critically important wildlife habitats and forest resources but will further protect New Hampshire’s special quality of life. I want to thank SPNHF for their leadership in insuring that future generations will be able to enjoy the scenic beauty for which New Hampshire is well-known.”
Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Society’s mission is to perpetuate the forests of New Hampshire by establishing permanent conservation areas and promoting the wise stewardship of private lands. For more information, visit www.forestsociety.org.
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