Unusual Black Gum Tree Stand Conserved in Sandwich

May 15, 2012

Every so often, landowners joyfully discover natural treasures on their land as a result of their work with the Forest Society.  Such was the case when sisters Rachel Boyden, Rebecca Boyden, and Jennifer Kampsnider learned of the 400+ year-old black gum trees in the most distant corner of their family’s land in Sandwich and Tamworth. The stand’s location at the most northerly extent of this tree’s range adds to its importance. The sisters’ awe, delight, and surprise contributed to their decision to donate a conservation easement to the Forest Society, protecting this and other significant features of their 158-acre Tree Farm straddling the Sandwich/Tamworth town line.

This diverse property also includes fields kept open for views and wildlife, wetlands, and more than a mile of undeveloped road frontage. Water quality is also well served by the location of this parcel. The headwaters of Mill Brook, on which the Forest Society has protected many other properties, lie just to the east. To the southwest are the headwaters of the Cold River, documented as having the highest water quality of all the waterways feeding into Ossipee Lake. 

At a landscape scale, this land sits squarely within a priority corridor having “Whites-to-Ossipees Wildlife Connectivity” as identified by the Tamworth and Sandwich Conservation Commissions and endorsed by the Forest Society and others. This land is close to other conserved parcels, including conservation easements donated to the Forest Society by the Nye and Daniels families. 

In addition to the black gum trees, another surprise for the sisters was learning that their late mother had requested and received information about conservation easements from the Forest Society some 14 years earlier. Reaching farther back in time, the sisters’ family has owned this land off and on dating back to the late 1700s, when their ancestor Silas Fry built his homestead on the site. The walled “Fry Burying Ground” on the town line marks the family’s early commitment to this land. Spanning the centuries, the sisters’ recent gift has honored those who came before.

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.