664 Acres on Kimball Pond Protected (NH)

DUNBARTON, New Hampshire, 7/18/02: After nearly two years of effort, the Dunbarton Conservation Commission and the Trust for Public Land announced today that roughly 664 acres have been added to the town-owned Kimball Pond Conservation Area. Formerly owned by the Nassikas Corporation, the land surrounds Kimball Pond and its addition to existing Town-owned land has created a 1,300-acre block of contiguous open space. The project was made possible by a partnership consisting of federal, state, local, and private organizations working together to raise just over $1 million in funds necessary to complete the project.

“Protection of the Kimball Pond land can only be described as a miracle for the Town of Dunbarton,” said Larry Cook, chair of the Dunbarton Conservation Commission. “The project’s success would not have been possible without support at the local, state, and national levels. Dunbarton residents, with their votes at Town Meeting and with their generous financial contributions, were the true drive behind this project. The Trust for Public Land’s assistance was also critical, as was the leadership of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation. Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone involved.”

“Kimball Pond is an extraordinary local resource, and the Town of Dunbarton has shown great foresight in working consistently over many years to protect it permanently,” said Rodger Krussman, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, which negotiated the purchase on behalf of the Conservation Commission. “Projects like this one are only possible because of the strong commitment of the many partners working together for land conservation in New Hampshire.”

The majority of funding, some $700,000, was provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, thanks to the support of Senator Judd Gregg and Congressman Charlie Bass. As a condition of the funding, the State of New Hampshire acquired a conservation easement over the entire Kimball Pond Conservation Area, which totals 972 acres after today’s purchase. The easement is a binding legal agreement that permanently prohibits development and provides for public access.

“Kimball Pond is a pristine pond located thirteen miles from both Manchester and Concord, one of the most densely populated regions of our state,” said U.S. Senator Judd Gregg. “This protection will ensure a diverse habitat for wildlife, including otter, bear, moose, and deer, as well as protection for various wetlands in a significant section of Dunbarton. Kimball Pond is an excellent New Hampshire resource and I am pleased that these funds will continue its use by so many wildlife species for years to come.”

“By working together, the natural splendor of the Kimball Pond Conservation Area can now be enjoyed by future generations,” said U.S. Senator Robert Smith. “The individuals who worked on this project are to be commended for their dedication to preserving this land for public enjoyment.”

“Many Granite Staters have expressed concern about urban sprawl,” said U.S. Representative Charles Bass. “I was pleased to help secure federal funding to help the community of Dunbarton protect this important natural resource from encroaching development and maintain outdoor recreational opportunities for local residents.”

Additional funding came from the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), which awarded a total of $210,000, and the Dunbarton Conservation Commission, which committed $100,000 from existing funds. Private supporters contributed roughly $50,000, and Dunbarton Town Meeting voted unanimously last March to allocate $25,000 for the project.

“LCHIP is so proud to have been a partner in this important project,” said LCHIP executive director Rachel Rouillard. “The Kimball Pond project has significance not only in the resources that it has protected, but also in the successful partnerships forged around it.”

The Conservation Commission has been working for more than six years to conserve Kimball Pond, which is totally undeveloped. Located within 15 miles of Concord and Manchester, New Hampshire’s two largest cities, 60-acre Kimball Pond provides outstanding opportunities for fishing and canoeing, and is publicly accessible by means of a state-maintained boat launch.

The Kimball Pond property includes two beaver ponds, several vernal pools, and a black gum-red maple basin swamp. The property and surrounding conservation land also provide habitat for rare wildlife species, including the American bittern, Blanding’s turtle, blue-gray gnatcatcher, common loon, Cooper’s hawk, New England cottontail, pied-billed grebe, sedge wren, spotted turtle, and wood turtle.

In addition, the property and surrounding land serve as an important wildlife and recreation corridor linking Bela Brook and the Turkey Ponds to the north with Black Brook to the south. A potential trail system through the property has been identified for hiking, cross country skiing, bird watching, and other low-impact recreation. Hunting and snowmobiling will also be permitted, and the property will be managed for sustainable timber harvesting. The land will be managed by the Dunbarton Conservation Commission.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 30,000 acres in New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.