Forest Society Working to Conserve 6,600 acres

November 12, 2007

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

Forest Society Working to Conserve 6,600 acres

Conservation easement requires $3.6 million in federal funding

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the State of New Hampshire are working to secure $3.6 million in federal funding to buy a conservation easement on 6,578 acres of working forest in Groton, Hebron and Plymouth. Owned by Green Acres Woodlands, a private timberland owner, the land forms the core of one of the largest and most ecologically rich forests south of the White Mountains, and supplies water to both the Baker River and Newfound Lake.

Under the proposed conservation easement, the land would continue to be privately owned and managed for forest products, but could never be subdivided or developed. The lands would continue to be open for public recreation, including hunting, hiking, snowmobiling and fishing.

The easement would be funded through the federal Forest Legacy Program. Administered by the U.S. Forest Service, the competitive grants program funds the protection of privately-owned forest land, usually through the purchase of conservation easements. The State of New Hampshire has requested $3.6 million for the Green Acres easement in the Forest Legacy program’s next round of grants in 2009.

“We think the Green Acres project should compete well in the national program, and we will be working hard to secure at least partial funding next year,” said Chris Wells, the Forest Society’s Director of Policy. “Green Acres is exactly the kind of project Forest Legacy was designed for – conserving productive private working forest with high ecological, recreational and scenic values; the key will be the President and Congress providing adequate funding for the program in the federal budget.”

The Green Acres Woodlands property includes the entirety of Groton Hollow, a once-thriving farming community that was abandoned in the late 1800's. The remains of the Ordway Homestead are one of the many cellar holes and stone foundations that dot the property. In 1803, then Sergeant John Ordway became one of the first volunteers to join the historic Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific.

The Hebron portion of the property forms part of the mountain backdrop at the north end of Newfound Lake, and portions of the lands in Groton are visible along the south side of Route 25.

The project includes more than five miles of public hiking and snowmobiling trails. As a working forest, the Green Acres lands provide an annual, steady flow of fiber to area pulpwood markets, logs to regional sawmills and biomass chips to wood energy plants.

The Green Acres Woodlands project is part of a larger effort by the Forest Society to protect large private working forest ownerships between Mount Cardigan and White Mountains National Forest. The area features several large unfragmented forests, including one of only three larger than 25,000 acres remaining south of the White Mountains. The region’s forests are interlaced with high quality headwater streams of the Newfound, Baker, Smith and Mascoma Rivers, and contain extensive areas of significant wildlife habitat as identified in the state’s new Wildlife Action Plan.

The Forest Society’s work in the Cardigan Highlands area is part of an even larger regional effort: the Quabbin to Cardigan Initiative (Q2C), a public-private partnership working to conserve forests throughout the western highlands of New Hampshire and North Quabbin region of Massachusetts. Comprising roughly two million acres, the region is one of the largest remaining areas of intact, interconnected, ecologically-significant forest in central New England, and is a key headwater area for the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers.

The USFS Forest Legacy Program is a key federal funding source for conservation projects in the Quabbin to Cardigan region. To date the program has funding the protection of more than 18,000 acres in the region, with grants totaling $13.5 million.

The The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests ( is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. The Forest Society’s Center for Land Conservation Assistance was established to help aid land trusts and municipalities achieve their land conservation goals. 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