Forest Society & Bethlehem Fire Department Collaborate on Next Phase of Renovation at The Rocks

May 20, 2021
The Rocks
Rows of Christmas trees in a green field leading to a barn.

Bethlehem, NH (May 20, 2021) The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Bethlehem Fire Department are working together to advance the next phase of a major renovation project at The Rocks in Bethlehem — and provide valuable training opportunities to area fire and rescue departments.

Over weekends in May and June, the Bethlehem Fire Department and Ambulance is conducting a series of training exercises and a practice burn at a vacant structure at The Rocks. These training drills will be undertaken in coordination with a number of other volunteer fire and rescue departments in the region.

“The Forest Society welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Bethlehem Fire Department and other regional volunteer fire departments at The Rocks,” said Jack Savage, president of the Forest Society. “The BFD was on the scene to fight the terrible fire that took the Tool Building and Electric Plant at The Rocks in 2019. As we begin the next phase of renovation at The Rocks, we are grateful to be working again with Chief Anderson and his colleagues.”

The site of the training burn is a building most recently used as office space, but it has been uninhabitable for several years. Structural and design features of significance were removed from the building some time ago, and the Forest Society also removed hazardous materials prior to turning it over to the Fire Department for training.

The removal of the building is part of a next-generation vision for the Forest Society North at The Rocks that will host a range of forest exploration, conservation, recreation and educational programs. This summer and fall, the site to the east of Glessner Road will blossom into a multi-use open space that features the glorious panoramic view stretching across the Kilkenny Range to the Presidentials, creating a lovely spot for events, performances, and outdoor classrooms.

Also, prior to the 2021 holiday season, the Forest Society will complete the expansion of parking areas to increase access for the cut-your-own Christmas tree and wreath sales that have become a family tradition for many families throughout New England. Just before Thanksgiving, The Rocks Christmas Tree Farm will open for its 29th season.

A second phase of work to create Forest Society North involves the renovation of the 1884 stone and shingle carriage barn that sits atop the hill on Glessner Road. While maintaining its traditional exterior, the interior of the barn will be converted into an energy-efficient education and forest exploration center with classrooms, exhibition space, offices for staff working on regional conservation issues and local programs, and public restrooms to serve recreational users and visitors throughout the year.

Over the coming two years, the site will remain in various phases of construction, landscaping and renovation, but public use will be welcomed and redirected as needed – beginning with Wildflower Walks in early June, NH Maple Experience programs through the summer, and fall and winter wildlife watching and Christmas tree farm operations. 

For more information about Forest Society North at The Rocks, please visit or to learn more about the capital campaign contact Anne Truslow at



The Forest Society is a private, non-profit land trust and forestry organization established in 1901. It currently holds more than 750 conservation easements statewide permanently protecting more than 135,000 acres of New Hampshire’s landscapes. The Forest Society also owns 191 forest reservations constituting nearly 60,000 acres in 105 New Hampshire communities.


For more information contact:

Kelly Cioe

O. 603-436-2347

C. 207-441-5624