Nutt Family Donates Conservation Easement to Protect Slade Brook Watershed

January 13, 2009

Nutt Family Donates Conservation Easement to Protect Slade Brook Watershed

The Nutt family recently donated a conservation easement on 212 acres in Hanover to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Siblings Mary Nutt, David Nutt, Patsy Decker, Bill Nutt, Sally Nutt, and Peggy Nutt Mitchell made this gift to complete a process begun by their parents, David and Babs, 12 years earlier.


The couple initially placed their woodlot into a revocable trust with instructions to donate a conservation easement on 192 acres upon the last of their deaths. The revocable trust allowed the Nutts to retain ownership of the property during their lifetimes. Mrs. Nutt passed away in 2006, and Mr. Nutt died in January 2008.


“We decided to add more acreage to the easement,” said Peggy Nutt Mitchell, trustee of the estate. “Our parents loved the land. I think they’d be excited by our decision to enhance their easement by another 20 acres.”


David and Babs married shortly after college in 1943. David enlisted in the Navy before his graduation from Dartmouth in 1941. He spent time in Greenland and Washington DC for training, then served in the Pacific where he quickly rose to the rank of captain – becoming one of the youngest commanding officers in the Pacific theater.  David's ship the Sumner was charged with mapping the waters in advance of the fleet.


After completing his tour of duty, David led research teams throughout the 1940s and 1950s, surveying the fjords and estuaries of Labrador and researching the Greenland icecap.


In the fall of 1946, the couple moved to a picturesque spot in Hanover Center overlooking the Connecticut River valley.  There they remained for the next 60 years. David became a town selectman and served several terms in the New Hampshire State Legislature. After becoming pilots in the 1960s, David and Babs owned and operated the Post Mills Airport in Post Mills, Vermont for many years. Babs Nutt made aviation history in 1975 by setting a world record reaching an altitude of 35,463 feet over Pike's Peak in her sailplane.


They managed their land as a certified tree farm that was recognized with the 1995 winner of the Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year award.  Several vernal pools add to the property’s rich wildlife habitat, which provides homes for moose, deer, bear, and other animals.


The land is adjacent to and near other protected lands. The Hanover Conservation Council has a major initiative to protect the entire watershed of Slade Brook, located just north of the Nutt property, as well as the lower reaches of the Brook, including the outlet into the Connecticut River.  


“We’re honored to hold an easement on this beautifully managed working forest,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “Not only is it one of the most respected certified tree farms in the state, but it is also a high priority for wildlife habitat and watershed protection.”