Donor Gives Forest Society $500,000 for Land Protection, Trails Grants

January 13, 2013

An anonymous donor has awarded $500,000 to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to continue a highly effective land protection grants program and to create a new grants program to fund hiking-trail development in the “Quabbin-to-Cardigan” (Q2C) region of western New Hampshire and north central Massachusetts.

The Forest Society will use $250,000 of the anonymous gift, which came through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, to extend the Quabbin-to-Cardigan Partnership’s Land Conservation Grants Program over the next two years. This program accelerates conservation projects by underwriting transaction costs – appraisals, surveys, title research, etc. This support has proven integral to 36 key land conservation projects in the region, which stretches from the Quabbin Reservoir to Mount Cardigan and the White Mountain National Forest.

Over the past three years, the program has awarded nearly $500,000 to projects in New Hampshire that have conserved 12,360 acres of land. These grants have been matched by an additional $13 million in state, local and private funding and donations of land value. The program had been funded by federal dollars, but these dried up when Congress discontinued earmarks in 2010.

“Many of these acres would not have been conserved without these grants,” said Jane Difley, Forest Society forester/president. “We’re confident that keeping this program alive will inspire many additional projects to keep intact the forests we value for their recreational opportunities, wildlife habitats, water quality protection and scenic beauty.”

“The impact of this new grant cannot be overstated,” said Chris Wells, the Forest Society’s Senior Director for Strategic Projects and Q2C Partnership coordinator. “The Q2C Partnership’s land conservation grants program was out of money and about to shut down. Now we will be able to continue making grants for at least the next two years and help protect thousands of additional acres in western New Hampshire.”

The Forest Society will use the other $250,000 of the donation to create a new grants program that will support hiking trails-related work in the Quabbin-to-Cardigan region. The grants program will encourage projects that serve and engage economically disadvantaged communities within the region.

“Trails projects can utilize volunteer labor and build outdoor skills, so they are an ideal vehicle for getting people -- especially young people -- engaged in trails development and stewardship,” Wells said.

In both grants programs, grants will be awarded through a competitive application process and will be available to projects in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

For more information about the grant programs, call Chris Wells at 224-9945, ext. 355 or email him at For more information about the Quabbin-to-Cardigan initiative, go to