Grassroots Effort Creates New, 313-Acre Forest Society Reservation in Washington

January 8, 2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2013 — Committed community members raised funds to purchase two parcels of land in Washington that together form the new, 313-acre Farnsworth Hill Reservation, donated to the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests at the end of December and open to the public for hiking, hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and other non-motorized pursuits.

The reservation is located above Millen Lake, close to the Forest Society’s Ashuelot River Headwaters Forest and within the critical corridor between the protected lands surrounding Pillsbury and Mt. Sunapee state parks to the north and the Andorra Forest to the south.

The connection of these two massive areas of conservation land is a goal of the Quabbin to Cardigan Initiative, a landscape-scale effort launched in 2003 to conserve the Monadnock Highlands of north-central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire from the Quabbin Reservoir to Mount Cardigan and the White Mountain National Forest.

Community members, led by John Brighton and Jim Crandall, worked to protect the land after hearing the former owner’s plans to subdivide and sell it. The Millen Lake Association contributed $25,000 in a matching grant while more than 80 individuals and organizations contributed to the purchase of the two parcels.

“The Washington Conservation Commission also played a significant role in advising on this purchase and helped by contributing $20,000 towards the transaction and stewardship costs,” said Brian Hotz, senior director of strategic projects with the Forest Society. “The Forest Society served as fiscal agent for the local fundraisers, orchestrated the transactional aspects of the project and raised $30,000 towards the fundraising goal.”

Brighton said contributors were committed to keeping lands open for community members to enjoy. “It’s really one of those things where I grew up with it as a young kid, and you want to see other young people coming along be able to have experiences with trees, animals and quiet,” he said.