13 Mile Woods Community Forest

13 Mile Woods, Errol, New Hampshire
Photo credit: 
Jerry and MArcy Monkman

A federal, state, and local partnership created the 13 Mile Woods Community Forest in Errol, NH, but it took one man's vision and the dedication and perseverance from the town's citizens to conserve the 5,300 acres of working forest land along the Androscoggin River known as Thirteen Mile Woods. The project was initially spearheaded by the late Fran Coffin, a former Select Board member and businessman who envisioned conserving the property as a working forest, and believed the property was an important recreational and economic development asset for Errol.

The Trust for Public Land helped the residents of Errol, NH acquire the property, and in late 2005, conveyed it to a nonprofit group established to manage their community forest, which includes nine miles of river frontage, as well as mature hardwood and softwood forests. The land also offers hiking, hunting, fishing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities. Located adjacent to the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, the property is an important wildlife corridor, containing rare flood plain forest and trout streams.

Like other community forests, 13 Mile Woods will pay its way and generate income for the town long after the property is paid for, while at the same time preserving cherished public recreation access and wildlife habitat.

Funding for the $4.05 million project came from USDA Forest Legacy Program (FLP), the state's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and residents of Errol. In 2009, the forest was expanded by an addition of 1,839 acres from the larger Mollidgewock Brook purchase (which also enlarged the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge).

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.