Tamworth Land Conservation Efforts Receive a Boost with New Donation

October 28, 2009

Tamworth Land Conservation Efforts Receive a Boost with New Donation

Jean Mertinooke recently donated a seven-acre parcel in Tamworth to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. She had previously donated an easement on 105 acres of productive forestland in Tamworth, portions of which have been in her family for more than 100 years. Both the 105-acre easement and the seven-acre parcel connect with other conserved lands owned by the Forest Society and the Town of Tamworth.

The seven-acre parcel expands the adjacent 203-acre Porter-Rogerson Forest, which was donated to the Forest Society in 1999 by Jean P. Rogerson. Mertinooke’s addition includes vernal pools, 260 feet of frontage along Mill Brook, and scattered wetlands that make this small piece an attractive resource for moose, bear, mink, otter, and other wildlife.

“We’re very grateful for Mrs. Mertinooke’s generosity,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “Although the property is small, it is strategically located and has great natural resource value. The protection of this piece also builds momentum for other land conservation initiatives in the area.”

The property is close to the 130-acre Gilman Forest that the Town of Tamworth and the Forest Society are partnering to conserve. The Gilman Forest includes 3,045 feet of road frontage, plus 2,500 feet of shoreline along Mill Brook. The property, along with the surrounding lands, contains a trail network maintained by the Mill Brook Trail Association.

“Even in a depressed economy, the Gilman Forest is at risk for development,” said Difley. “That could compromise recreational access, water quality and wildlife habitat.”

Both the Porter-Rogerson Forest and the Gilman Forest are located within the White-to-Ossipees Wildlife Corridor identified by the Forest Society and the Town of Tamworth as a conservation priority. Connecting the Sandwich Range with the White Mountains and the Ossipees, this landscape features a rich tapestry of fields, forests, rivers, and marshes that wild creatures need to live and breed.

Large areas of connected open space allow individual mammals, birds, and reptiles to move between populations and to seek out more favorable habitat in the face of changing conditions. Without this connectivity, the exchanges that ensure the long-term survival of species are choked off. Fortunately, much of the Mill Brook area has been conserved by the Forest Society and other organizations. Difley estimates that nearly 800 contiguous acres along Mill Brook are now protected.

The Town of Tamworth and the Forest Society have until May 1, 2010 to raise $140,000 to conserve the Gilman Forest. Approximately $92,000 of this has been raised to date, with $48,000 left to go.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.tamworthconservationcommission.org.

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. For more information, visit www.forestsociety.org.