New Town Forest for Albany, NH

Land for a new town forest has been purchased and conserved
for the Town of Albany, N.H., The Trust for Public Land, the State, and the
Town announced today. At the junction of two intersecting national scenic
byways, the 310 acres of land will remain intact, preserving the views entering
the White Mountain National Forest, which attracts more than 6 million visitors
annually. The town’s purchase of 310 acres establishes the Albany Town Forest,
which will generate revenue through sustainable timber harvesting while
offering public access for recreation and connections to more than a mile of
Swift River frontage. The project also sets aside 6.7 acres for use as a future
Albany town center.

“Acquiring this property for a town forest is a rich investment
both for Albany and for the region,” said Rodger Krussman, The Trust for Public
Land’s New Hampshire state director. “Town forests are a strong model for
sustaining jobs, town revenue, and tourism. Albany’s new town forest will
enhance the local economy and support recreation and tourism, and The Trust for
Public Land is pleased to have played our part in helping Albany achieve its

With substantial stands of northern hardwoods, red oak,
hemlock, and white pine, the Town of Albany now has a sustainable asset for
investing in other community priorities, including the establishment of a new
town center.

“We would like to thank the citizens of Albany for their
continued support of this project. After 4 years of effort, the Town of Albany
will have a 300 acre town forest to provide both open space, recreation and
natural resources for the townspeople, area residents and visitors,” said Rob
Nadler, Albany Land Governance Board. “The successful purchase would have not
been possible without the help from the seller, the Kennett Company, whose
continued patience and accommodation over 4 years of difficult fund raising has
helped make this project a reality.”

“This project is the culmination of the vision and
perseverance of Albany’s community leaders.  After 4 years of working with public and private partners, I
am thrilled to have played a part in helping establish the Albany Town Forest,”
said Ray Burton, New Hampshire Executive Councilor. “I would like to personally
thank the dedicated staff of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation for
helping attract federal transportation dollars to this effort and working
closely with the Town of Albany throughout this process.”

Funding for the $800,000 purchase of the Albany Town Forest
property included $250,000 from the federal Public Lands Highways Discretionary
Program. U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were
strong supporters of the project, which has been underway since 2009.
Additional funding included $149,000 from the Town of Albany, as approved by
voters in March, 2010; $145,000 from the New Hampshire Land and Community
Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP); a $150,000 grant from the Open Space
Institute’s Community Forest Fund; and funding from the New Hampshire Conservation
Plate Program, and private donors.

“This crucial tract of land serves as the gateway to the
White Mountains for the 2 million people who drive on the Kancamagus Byway each
year during their visits to the region. The acquisition will increase public
access for recreation in Albany and protect important scenic views,” said Sen.
Jeanne Shaheen. “In addition to the significant impacts this project will have
on outdoor recreation opportunities and the economic activity they generate in
Albany, conserving the property will protect important wildlife habitat and
water quality in the Swift River. This is great news for Albany and I offer my
congratulations to the town and its partners: the New Hampshire Department of
Transportation and The Trust for Public Land.”

“Often referred to as the ‘eastern gateway,’ an estimated 2
million visitors drive on the byways into the national forest each year,” said
Sen. Ayotte. “These visitors not only enjoy the beautiful scenery but also are
key contributors to the region’s economy. This acquisition will expand public
access to recreational resources while protecting scenic views.”

“We are grateful to our many partners, including the State
of New Hampshire, New Hampshire congressional delegation, the Upper Saco Valley
Land Trust, private donors, and of course, the Town of Albany,” added Krussman.

LCHIP is an independent state authority that makes matching
grants to N.H. communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve New
Hampshire’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. Through
this investment program every $1 in state investment brings back more than five
times local, private, federal funds.

“LCHIP is delighted with the success of this project. We
salute the vision and perseverance of the Town of Albany in conceiving of this
acquisition and finally making it a reality with the help of carefully selected
and skilled partners. In addition to the many ecological, economic,
recreational and community benefits of the acquisition, the view across the
open fields toward the Presidentials, one of the scenic treasures of the White Mountains,
will now be protected forever. The investment of state dollars through LCHIP
has had a truly significant impact,” said Dijit Taylor, LCHIP Executive

“N.H. Fish and Game is pleased to support the Town and
assist The Trust for Public Land in the success of the Albany Town Forest
project. The project maintains a significant cold water fishery by protecting
more than 8,000 feet along the Swift River, and the property conserves valuable
wildlife resources with its floodplain forest, grassland, and woodland
habitats,” said Charlie Bridges, Habitat & Diversity Programs
administrator, N.H. Fish and Game Department.

“In addition, the project’s scenic value is outstanding, and
public pedestrian access to the land and its resources is forever secured. The
commitment of the citizens of the small town of Albany to the success of this
project is truly inspirational.”

A conservation easement for the majority of the property has
been conveyed to the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, which will manage the terms
of the easement.

“As a Kennett High School student in the 1960’s I ran and
skied along the Swift River assuming that this beautiful forest would always be
here. With 40 years hindsight it is particularly rewarding to see this
assumption realized,” said Tom Earle, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust president.
“Congratulations to the citizens of Albany for recognizing the promise that
this property holds as a town forest, as a place of recreation, and as the
gateway of our much loved Kancamagus Highway. Thank you to all who have
contributed their time and finances to help realize this vital conservation
achievement. The Upper Saco Valley Land Trust looks forward to a strong
partnership with the Town of Albany in stewarding this forest for this and all
the generations to come.”

The property is at the junction of two national scenic
byways, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway and the White Mountain Trail, which
together feed access to the eastern gateway to the White Mountain National
Forest. In addition to providing revenue to the town through sustainable
harvesting, the town forest has important wildlife habitat, including
floodplain forests that support migratory birds, globally imperiled Pine
Barrens, and grasslands. The access to the Swift River, a major Saco River tributary,
provides connections to a top fishery and valuable fishing resource. And the
Albany Town Forest will maintain fishing, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing,
and snowmobiling trails and access.

“By establishing a Town Forest, the citizens of Albany will
directly steward and benefit from the resources of their forest through
productive forestry, water quality protection and conservation of wildlife
habitat,” said Jennifer Melville, Open Space Institute. “It is a remarkable
victory for this vibrant community.”

“The Albany Town Forest project was also supported by Tom
Wagner, Forest Supervisor for the White Mountain National Forest, N.H.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton, Chuck Henderson and the staff of U.S. Senator
Jeanne Shaheen, Sean Thomas and the staff of U.S. Congressman Frank Guinta, and
the staff of the N.H. Department of Transportation. And finally, the project
would not have been possible without the dedicated work and effort of Gregg
Caporossi, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land,” added Nadler.

Over the last decade, The Trust for Public Land has worked
with New England communities to conserve more than 24,000 acres of community
forests in 12 communities as part of its Community Forest Program, and as part
of its partnership with the Community Forest Collaborative. TPL depends on the
support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. Over 25 years in New
Hampshire, TPL has protected more than 230,000 acres.