FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 15, 2005
Jack Savage, (603) 224-9945,
Senator Judd Gregg Finds the Perfect Family Tree at The Rocks Christmas Tree Farm
Bethlehem, NH: Surrounded by more than 60,000 choices, Senator Judd Gregg cast a practiced eye to the fields of waiting balsams and firs at the 1,400-acre Rocks Christmas Tree Farm, consulted with forester Jane Difley, and zeroed in on the perfect tree for his family’s living room. With a few energetic Senatorial strokes with a buck saw, Gregg harvested the seven-foot balsam and then let Rocks’ employees bale the tree and secure it to his car for the trip home.
“It’s a New Hampshire tradition,” Gregg said. He was interested to learn that The Rocks fulfills mail orders for trees from across the country. The Rocks Balsam is the ultimate conservation tree – a beautiful balsam grown in the picturesque White Mountains on protected land by a conservation organization dedicated to land protection, education, advocacy, and wise use of the land.
“This is one of our premier reservations,” said Difley, President/Forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, which owns The Rocks and operates it as a Christmas Tree Farm under the guidance of property director Nigel Manley, who also serves as the Chair of the NH Christmas Tree Farm Promotion Board.
The Rocks Estate was the summer home of John Jacob Glessner and family of Chicago. A leader in the advancement of agricultural technology and one of the founders of conglomerate International Harvester, Glessner used The Rocks as an experimental farm, testing mechanized equipment on New Hampshire’s stony soils. At its peak, The Rocks was an advanced retreat, featuring its own electric plant, terraced gardens designed by the Frederick Law Olmstead firm, and a variety of agricultural buildings designed by architect Herman von Holst. Today the unique Bridge Barn, Saw Mill/Pig Pen and Carriage House/Horse Barn await restoration.
The Society for the Protection of NH Forests has owned the 1,400-acre Rocks Estate since 1978, thanks to a generous donation by Glessner’s grandchildren. (Glessner was one of the first members of the Forest Society in the early 20th century.) The Forest Society has been growing Christmas trees at the Rocks since the late 1980s. At any given time there are approximately 65,000 Christmas trees in the ground at the Rocks; each year the staff plants some 7,000 seedlings and harvests around 5,000 trees of various heights. The Rocks hosts more than 15,000 visitors a year, many of whom are repeat visitors who have made choosing and cutting their own Christmas tree a family tradition.
Directions to The Rocks Christmas Tree Farm:
Take I-93 to exit 40.
Take Route 302 East for 1/2 mile.
Turn right opposite the Exxon Station and follow signs to parking area and program center.
Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. through Dec. 24. Enjoy beautiful views, a horse-drawn wagon ride (weekends only), and a browse through the New Hampshire crafts gift shop. For more information call 603-444-6228.
The Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests was founded in 1901 to protect the state’s most important landscapes and promote the wise use of its renewable natural resources. Today, the Forest Society owns 145 reservations that encompass more than 40,000 acres in 90 communities across the state. In addition, the Society holds more than 600 conservation easements on over 90,000 acres, and conducts ongoing programs in research, advocacy, land protection, education, land management and sustainable forestry. www.forestsociety.org