Home of the blue-tinged balsam fir and nearby undeveloped

August 31, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Contact: Paul Doscher (603) 224-9945
                                                             Karen Finogle (603) 224-9945

 September 9, 2003

Kribstock-Fowler Preserve in West Stewartstown becomes 136th reservation

W. STEWARTSTOWN – The birthplace of the blue-tinged balsam fir (known as the "Cook Strain"), a popular breed of Christmas trees, and one of New Hampshire's last remaining undeveloped ponds are now permanently protected.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) recently acquired 26 acres around Back Pond in West Stewartstown, which includes a Christmas tree plantation.  Cited as a "great gift in a small package" by Paul Doscher, senior director of land conservation for the Forest Society, the newly acquired land was most recently owned by Reginald and Arline Kribstock of Braintree, Vermont.

The Kribstocks bought the land from the Cook family of Stewartstown in 1987.  Various Cook family members owned the land since 1955. The Cook name is famous among Christmas tree growers because the original "Cook Strain" of blue tinged balsam fir was discovered on the property.  For many years, seed from these unique trees was sought by Christmas tree growers and plant breeders from around New England and the region.

With conservation in mind, the Kribstocks kept the land undeveloped and retained and managed the existing Christmas tree plantation. Recently, they decided to sell the property to the Forest Society with the agreement that the land will remain undeveloped and be available for the public to enjoy. 

"This purchase made a lot of sense to the Forest Society," states Doscher. "First because we appreciate the unique ecological characteristics of Back Pond, and also because we value the opportunity to continue managing the existing Christmas tree plantation on a portion of the land."

One half of the purchase price came from an anonymous North Country donor who knows the pond and appreciates its special value.  The remaining money came from the Forest Society's Land Action Fund, established to help the Forest Society buy important parcels and made possible by the contributions of numerous Forest Society friends and members.

Nearly 8,000 Christmas trees are on the property, which will now be managed under the guidance of Nigel Manley, director of North Country properties for the Forest Society at the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, a popular Christmas Tree Farm.

The Back Pond reservation will be known as the "Kribstock-Fowler Preserve" in recognition of the families of the sellers.  As with most Forest Society properties, the reservation will be open for public pedestrian use, except when Christmas trees are being managed or harvested.  For more information about the Kribstock-Fowler Preserve, contact Paul Doscher at 224-9945.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is a 10,000-member, nonprofit organization that has helped protect more than one million acres. Visit www.forestsociety.org for more information, or call (603) 224-9945.