NH Sets Priorities for Forest Legacy Funding
The State of New Hampshire recently announced its FY 2010 funding priorities through the Forest Legacy Program. Administered by the U.S. Forest Service, the Forest Legacy Program funds the permanent conservation of productive, ecological valuable private forest land, usually through the acquisition of conservation easements. In New Hampshire, Forest Legacy easements are held by the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, but private land trusts like the Forest Society play an important facilitating role. Due to uncertainty over final funding levels for the program in federal FY09, (most observers agree that FY09 appropriations will not be finalized by Congress until next spring), the state decided to re-submit the projects it recommended last year:
#1: The Crotched Mountain project in Greenfield, Francestown, and Bennington would place a conservation easement on 1,165 acres of forestland surrounding the campus of the Crotched Mountain Foundation and Rehabilitation Center (CMRC). The lands are managed as a certified Tree Farm, and the purchase of a conservation easement through Forest Legacy would enable CMRC to establish the nation’s foremost center for universally accessible outdoor recreation. Facilitated by the Keene-based Monadnock Conservancy, the project was ranked #12 nationally by the Forest Legacy Program for FY09 and slated for $1,765,000 in funding. Combined with $1,000,000 the project received in FY08, this funding would complete the project.
#2 The Green Acre Woodlands project would conserve 6,600 acres of impeccably managed, ecologically exceptional working forest land in Groton, Hebron, Rumney, and Plymouth. Owned and managed by the same family for more than 60 years, the land includes seven miles of frontage along rivers and perennial streams and more than five miles of public hiking and snowmobiling trails. This project was ranked 14th nationally by the Forest Legacy Program in FY09 and recommended for $1.2 million in initial funding. It is hoped the Forest Legacy Program will make funding the $2,218,000 balance a high priority in federal FY10. The project is being facilitated by the Forest Society.
#3 Located just southwest of the Green Acres Woodlands project, the 2,700-acre Kimball Hill project in Groton would link protected land at Province Road State Forest and other easements to the north. The property includes old growth forest and a dramatic cascading gorge on the Baker River. This new project is being facilitated by the Forest Society, and we are hopeful that the $1,350,000 project will be high on the Forest Legacy Program’s national priority list for FY10.