This week a multi-year effort to secure 24,000-acres of working forestland in Coos County was completed.
It may not have made huge waves in the press given all of the events going on nationally, but this week, The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands and The Conservation Fund announced completion of a multi-year effort to secure 24,000-acres of working forestland in Coos County near the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in the Mahoosuc Mountains of Gorham, Shelburne and Success.
The private-public partnership recently acquired a working forest conservation easement on 14,987 acres owned and managed by private landowners using funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and state and private funding.
This easement is held by the state of New Hampshire’s Division of Forests and Lands, and together, with another easement on an adjacent 8,700 acres surrounding Success Pond, ensures the forest will be sustainably managed for the production of responsibly harvested timber and will be open for public outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, hiking and motorized recreation into the future.
The forestland will continue to support local and regional jobs while providing timber to mills in New Hampshire, Maine and Canada.
Unknown to many is the fact that New Hampshire at 77.5 percent, is the second-most forested state in the nation just behind Maine which boasts an 89 percent forest coverage rate.
The newly protected forest provides critical water supply, aquatic habitat and watershed protection that features 35 square miles of the Androscoggin River watershed, 78 miles of perennial streams, 467 acres of ponds and lakes, and 1,200 acres of wetlands and important wildlife habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species, including the federally threatened Canada lynx and the state-threatened American marten, common loon and bald eagle.
Nancy Bell, Vermont and New Hampshire director for The Conservation Fund applauded the “unflagging and diverse support for this project from the Fish and Game Department, Coos County Commissioners, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the City of Berlin, the Androscoggin Valley Fish and Game Association, snowmobiles clubs and others.”
More than $4.64 million in federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, together with donations from the landowner and The Conservation Fund, and with support from C&S Wholesale Grocers and U-Haul made this landscape-scale conservation success possible.
For more information on The Division of Forests and Lands visit nhdfl.org and for more on The Conservation Fund visit conservationfund.org.