Public Invited to Listening Session about Sustaining New Hampshire Forests

August 5, 2010


New Hampshire residents are invited to join in a discussion about the state’s working forests. Organized by the US Department of Agriculture and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the America’s Great Outdoors Working Forests Listening Session will take place on Monday, August 9 at the Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Avenue, Concord, NH from 12:30 – 5:00 pm.

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and NH Governor John Lynch are among the officials scheduled to speak at Monday’s event.

The goals of the Listening Session are to examine the challenges and opportunities facing New Hampshire’s working forests, identify approaches that have been successful, and explore what more needs to be done to ensure that our working forests remain forests.

President/Forester Jane Difley from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is a panelist at the event.

“We have so many examples of successful collaborations that effectively focus federal, state, and philanthropic efforts, such as the Quabbin-to-Cardigan initiative in western New Hampshire and the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership in the Southeast,” said Difley.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to explore some of New Hampshire’s grassroots strategies with Secretary Vilsack, Senator Shaheen, and Governor Lynch,” she said. “We appreciate their commitment to our great outdoors, and we hope that New Hampshire’s success stories can serve as models for other regions.”

New Hampshire’s forests form a green infrastructure that provides our communities with clean water, clean air, and opportunities for outdoor recreation while supplying habitat for animals, birds, and other wildlife. They also support our state economy with sustainably harvested timber products, renewable energy, and destinations for travel and tourism.

The America’s Great Outdoors Working Forests Listening Session will open with remarks from Governor Lynch, Senator Shaheen, and Secretary Vilsack, followed by a panel discussion with local landowners, foresters, and leaders in the outdoor recreation industry. After the panel discussion, the public will be invited to provide feedback during concurrent break-out listening sessions about:

1.       Promoting new markets for working forests and providing incentives for traditional wood products;

2.       Providing incentives, investments, and policies to support the strategic conservation of working forest landscapes;

3.       Identifying incentives, investments, and policies to promote outdoor recreation and educational experiences;

4.       Maintaining and managing working forests in the face of climate change; and

5.       Engaging youth to be the future conservation leaders of working forests.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to preregister, contact Tiffany Benna at (603)536-6241 or by August 6. Please include your name, the name of the organization with which you are affiliated if applicable, and your telephone number, as well as your first, second, and third choice of break-out sessions listed above.

Those who are unable to participate in person are invited to submit comments and stories via the America’s Great Outdoors website at [Link is no longer active.]

This past April, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Through this Initiative, the federal government is working with states, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners to identify innovative and effective ways to protect our country’s most important lands, waters, wildlife, and historic and cultural resources, and to reconnect Americans to the great outdoors.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry.