Thayer, Zaeder Land Donation Does Double Duty

October 29, 2006


Amanda Nickerson, Communications Specialist
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
(603) 224-9945, ext. 301

Thayer, Zaeder Land Donation Does Double Duty

Concord, N.H., October 30, 2006—Philip Zaeder and Sylvia Thayer and family knew they wanted to do a good thing by permanently protecting a 177-acre woodlot in Farmington. When they realized that a land donation to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests could also help protect more than 2,000 acres in the Moose Mountain Range in Brookfield and Middleton, they decided to act sooner rather than later.

The Tibbetts Hill Reservation is a well-managed woodlot on Old Bay Road on the Farmington side of the Farmington/New Durham town line. The parcel stretches out on a long south-facing slope extending from the ridge of Tibbetts Hill down to and across the Ela River.

Zaeder and Thayer, along with their three children who also held partial interests in the land, were willing to donate the land, allowing the Forest Society to use the value of their donation as “match” for one of the federal grants used to finance the 2,189-acre Moose Mountains purchase in nearby Middleton and Brookfield. The Tibbetts Hill Reservation lies only a few miles due south of the Moose Mountains, but it is integrally connected to it, because it helped make the Moose Mountains Reservation possible.

“We did not want to see the land developed,” said Zaeder. “We wanted to help the Forest Society in any way we could, and are happy we were able to contribute to the protection of the Moose Mountains.” Zaeder and Thayer live in Milton.

Which is not to say that the newly-named Tibbetts Hill Reservation isn’t a valuable land conservation project in and of itself. Other conservation lands nearby include 54 acres of Farmington Town Forest and the Forest Society’s 389-acre Jennings Forest in New Durham. The donation falls in line with Farmington’s master plan provisions that call for the creation of Scenic Enjoyment—the extensive road frontages create long forested vistas, and Historical perspectives, the parcel south of Old Bay road contains a cellar hole and stone-fenced farmyard.

All but the lowest part of the land features northern hardwoods, predominately red oak, but with significant white oak as well, with the land along both sides of the river consisting of hemlock. This combination of habitats meets the needs of many species such as deer, fox and coyote rabbit and pileated woodpeckers. The smaller northern slope contains a wetland, good pine soils, and provides connectivity to other open and protected land along the Cocheco River, creating a safe passage for animal inhabitants between the Ela and the Cocheco.

“I was able to follow a set of fox tracks right to the burrow, with ice crystals surrounding the opening where warm, moist breath hit cold winter air,” said Mike Speltz, Land Protection Specialist at the Forest Society, after visiting the property. “The ground looked like grand central station, with deer, fox and coyote tracks recording the results of a hard night’s work of foraging.”

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. In order to preserve the quality of life New Hampshire residents know today, the goal of the Forest Society, in partnership with other conservation organizations, private landowners, and government, is to conserve an additional one million acres of the state’s most significant natural lands for trails, parks, farms and forests by 2026.