Forest Society Launches Campaign to Conserve 1,100 Acres on Eastern Slope of Mount Sunapee

March 30, 2007

Jack Savage, VP for Communications & Outreach
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
(603) 224-9945, ext. 330;

Forest Society Launches Campaign to Conserve 1,100 Acres on Eastern Slope of Mount Sunapee

Concord, N.H., March 28, 2007—Continuing a land conservation effort in the Sunapee region that dates back nearly a century, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has launched a campaign to protect 1,100 acres on Mount Sunapee’s eastern slope. The Forest Society, New Hampshire’s oldest and largest land trust, must raise $190,000 in private donations by May 15 of this year in order to permanently protect the land from potential future development. The project is a collaborative effort with the Newbury Conservation Commission and North Woodlands LLC.

The Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest Project includes two tracts of land – 845 acres in Newbury and 250 acres in Goshen. These properties are adjacent to nearly 15,000 acres of protected forestland, including Mount Sunapee State Park, Pillsbury State Park, and private property under conservation easements. The Forest Society originally protected the crest of Mount Sunapee in 1911 and donated its protected acres on the mountain to the State of New Hampshire in the late 1940s. Today the area remains one of the largest unfragmented landscapes south of the White Mountains.

“The Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest property has outstanding wildlife habitat and natural resource values that give it local, statewide and regional significance – including as a priority of state Wildlife Action Plan and the Quabbin-to-Cardigan Collaborative,” said David Anderson, Director of Education at the Forest Society. “It’s also a critical link for recreational use.”

Both Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Forest properties border popular regional hiking trails, including the main stem of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and the Andrew Brook Trail, a beloved route from Mountain Road in Newbury to the shore of Lake Solitude and beyond.

"The Andrew Brook Trail is the most popular route to Lake Solitude and to the cliffs overlooking the lake," said Frank Perrotta, secretary of the Newbury Conservation Commission and a director of the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition. "From Lake Solitude, the trail links to the Monadnock-Sunapee and SRK Greenways, and by those trails to the Summit Trail to the west, the old growth forest in the east bowl of Mount Sunapee State Park, and to Pillsbury State Park to the south along the ridge."

Charlie Killam, chair of the SRKG, said, “We are thrilled to support the efforts of the Forest Society, the Newbury Conservation Commission and North Woodlands to conserve access to these important mountain parcels for future generations of hikers.”

The Newbury parcel of land was recently for sale on the open market and was likely to have been sold for development, thus forever changing the views of the ridgeline and lower slopes seen from Route 103 at Sunapee’s southern gateway. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Forest Society, North Woodlands LLC, and the towns of Newbury and Goshen, there is a window of opportunity to raise the funding that will assure the land remains in private ownership by North Woodlands, under permanent conservation easements held by the Forest Society.

“The Newbury Conservation Commission immediately recognized the importance of securing such a large tract of land on Mt. Sunapee’s eastern slope. We are pleased to allocate $200,000 from our Conservation Fund, supported by Land Use Change Tax funds, to assure the permanent protection of this iconic landscape in our community,” said Bill Weiler, chair of the Newbury Conservation Commission.

To complete the project, the Forest Society must raise $190,000 from private donors. This will support both the Newbury and Goshen portions of the project, along with associated project costs. Funds must be pledged to the Forest Society by May 15, 2007, For more information contact Anne Truslow, Director of Development, at 224-9945, or use the following link to donate on-line.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. 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.