Forest Society Helps Expand 40,000-acre Nash Stream Forest in North Country
In October, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests transferred 50 acres in Columbia adjoining the Nash Stream Forest to the State of New Hampshire.
Stretching across the three towns of Columbia, Stratford, and Odell, the 40,000-acre Nash Stream Forest was acquired in 1988 by the State in cooperation with the Forest Society, United States Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Trust for New Hampshire Lands. It was purchased to protect the site’s outstanding ecological values, forest resources, and to provide public access for recreation.
Located high on a ridge, this recent 50-acre addition was purchased two years ago from John Harrigan, John had purchased the land years before with his friend Vicki Bunnell as a possible site for a hunting camp and to prevent liquidation of what appeared to be rare old growth forest. Later, after Vicki’s death, John decided he’d like to see the woodlot added to the adjacent Nash Stream Forest owned by the State.
Although the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED)’s Division of Forest and Lands and the Trails Bureau expressed interest in the property, the State was not able to immediately identify a funding source.
The Forest Society provided the bridge funding necessary to ensure the parcel’s protection while the State worked to assemble the needed resources.
This initiative was made possible by the Forest Society’s Land Action Fund. Often, the Forest Society must take action quickly to conserve land with outstanding natural resource values. In many cases, the owners of such important properties do not have the capacity to donate either their land or a conservation easement. The Forest Society can try to raise money from local donors and state and national grants, but this process takes time.
In these cases, the Forest Society’s Land Action Fund can help provide the capital needed to take the property off the market while the Forest Society and its conservation partners raise the funding needed to ensure the parcel’s permanent protection.
DRED drew from a variety of accounts, including the Trails Bureau. The Forest Society sold the land to DRED last month for $25,000, which will be reinvested back into the Land Action Fund to help conserve future projects.
“This project is a great example of how we at the Forest Society can partner with the state to fulfill a landowner’s wishes and protect additional land in New Hampshire,” said Jane Difley, president/forester,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley.