Forest Society Seeks to Conserve 1,025 acres next to Mount Kearsarge

October 7, 2010


Over 1,000 Acres Adjoining Iconic Mount Kearsarge

Must Raise $1.2 Million by Dec. 15

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is working to purchase 1,025 acres on Black Mountain, a secondary peak of Mount Kearsarge in the towns of Sutton and Warner. If successful in raising $1.2 million by Dec. 15, the Forest Society will manage the property as one of its Forest Reservations.

“The Black Mountain project continues our century-long commitment to protecting the area around Mount Kearsarge, one of New Hampshire’s iconic peaks,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “We know that it will be a challenge to raise the funds in the short time frame, but we need to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Just two years ago, the land was advertised as a promising site for a residential subdivision. Today, the landowner has agreed to sell the parcel to the Forest Society, but the $1.2 million must be raised by Dec. 15. To date the Forest Society has identified funding sources for approximately $650,000 of the total.

Mount Kearsarge and Black Mountain together form a picturesque and historic backdrop when viewed from New London, Sutton, Salisbury, Wilmot, Warner, and by all who travel past on Interstate 89. Those who climb the trail up Black Mountain in turn enjoy panoramic views of the lands below.

Black Mountain abuts Mount Kearsarge State Forest and contains more than a mile of the Lincoln Trail, a popular hiking path to the summit of Mount Kearsarge and a key link in the larger Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway.

“If the Forest Society succeeds in its effort to purchase the property, the land will remain open to the public for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other recreational pursuits,” said Brian Hotz, Director of Land Protection at the Forest Society. “Winter snowmobile access would continue on the trail corridors that cross the property.”

Black Mountain is part of one of the largest and most ecologically important forest blocks in New Hampshire south of the White Mountains, featuring vernal pools, forested seeps, and many different habitats for wildlife. Signs of bear, bobcat, moose, deer, turkey, fox, mink, fisher and other species have been found on the land. The mountain’s streams and cascades feed the Blackwater and Warner Rivers, both headwaters of the Merrimack River.

“Black Mountain is a conservation priority for not only the Forest Society, but also the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Quabbin-to-Cardigan (Q2C) Partnership,” said Chris Wells, who manages the Q2C Partnership. “If the Forest Society succeeds in purchasing the land, the protected acreage around Mount Kearsarge will surge to nearly 9,000 acres.”

The Towns of Sutton and Warner both strongly support the project. Black Mountain is right behind Kearsarge Regional High School, offering recreational and educational opportunities to students.

The Forest Society seeks to purchase the land and manage it as a Forest Society reservation. The organization will host public hikes and information sessions in Sutton and New London over the next two months to provide details about the project, including a hike on Saturday, October 23.

For more information about Black Mountain or to contribute to the project, visit, email, call 603-224-9945, or look for “Black Mountain, NH” on Facebook.

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 Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit