171,000 NH Acres Could be Protected
PITTSBURG, NH: On Monday, TPL confirmed that it is negotiating to purchase the land from International Paper. TPL plans to hold the property off the market while it works with local residents, officials, and organizations to develop a vision for the land’s future. At the same time, TPL will work with other nonprofit organizations and state and federal officials to raise the funds needed for permanent protection.
“This land is important to both the people and the economy of the North Country, and we are pleased that International Paper has agreed to work with us on a conservation outcome,” said David Houghton, field office director for the Trust for Public Land. “Our top priority now is to work with local officials and residents to develop a plan for the property that will maintain public access and the land’s traditional uses, while also protecting environmentally sensitive areas.”
“TPL hopes to keep most of the property in private hands, while protecting its outstanding natural and recreational resources through a conservation easement, which is a binding legal document that will permanently prohibit development of the land,” explained Houghton. “We are delighted by the strong support that the project has already received from New Hampshire’s state and federal officials including Senator Gregg, Congressman Bass, Congressman Sununu, Governor Shaheen, New Hampshire Senate President Klemm, and New Hampshire House Speaker Chandler. Their support will be critical as we raise the funding for this project, which will likely total at least $20 million.”
The largest contiguous block of New Hampshire land in private ownership, the Connecticut Lakes property surrounds three of the four lakes which form the headwaters of the Connecticut River. It also includes the entire watershed of both Perry Stream and Indian Stream, and abuts the 1,548-acre Connecticut Lakes State Forest. At least 20 rare plant and animal species have been documented on the property, including loons, osprey, bald eagles, and pine martens. The area is also an outstanding resource for public recreation, including fishing, hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling.
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including land around New Hampshire’s Lake Umbagog, Lake Tarleton, Pond of Safety, and Bretten Woods. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs.