Owl’s Head Cliff Added to White Mt. National Forest (NH)

Benton, NH, 12/12/2007: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) today announced the protection of 360 acres of land, that features the towering granite cliff face called Owl’s Head as part of the White Mountain National Forest.

The large parcel of land, located off Route 25 in Benton, New Hampshire, is a popular attraction for rock climbers and hikers and is only one-half mile from the Appalachian Trail. The property is bounded on three sides by the White Mountain National Forest and has over 6,000 feet of frontage along Oliverian Brook. In addition, four fledgling peregrine falcons were observed on the cliff this past year by New Hampshire Audubon, which was more than any other site in the state.

Last fall, at the urging of local citizens, members of the rock-climbing community, and staff of the White Mountain National Forest, TPL negotiated an agreement for the purchase of this important property. On August 30, 2007 TPL purchased the property to temporarily hold it off the market while the Forest Service worked to purchase it. Funding to protect the property was secured through the Land and Water Conservation Fund by the New Hampshire congressional delegation, lead by U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee. A grant from the Access Fund, a national nonprofit group dedicated to preserving climbing environments, helped enable TPL to purchase the property.

“The White Mountains represent the beauty that is New Hampshire’s natural environment. Today’s announcement ensures the public will always be able to enjoy this unique natural resource,” said Senator Gregg.

“Protection of acreage at Owl’s Head cliff is yet another example of our state’s long tradition of land stewardship,” said Senator Sununu. “Dedication at the local level, the involvement of many parties, and the utilization of federal Land and Water Conservation Funds were all part of the team effort that helped lead to the preservation of this acreage for residents and visitors for generations to come.”

“Protecting our open spaces and natural resources is critical to preserving our quality of life here in the Granite State,” Congressman Hodes said. “These forest lands represent not only our cultural heritage, but our way of life. We must work hard to protect the traditional uses of our land that Granite Staters have enjoyed for generations. I applaud The Trust for Public Land and the National Forest Service for partnering to ensure the protection of Owl’s HeadCliff.”

Josh Kelly from The Trust for Public Land said, “We are very pleased to have permanently protected the Owl’s Head Cliff property by adding it to the White Mountain National Forest. TPL has completed over 24 projects with the White Mountain National Forest since 1987 and this property’s unique natural and recreational resources make it stand out as a true gem. We are very grateful for the hard work of the New Hampshire congressional delegation for securing critical funding to publicly protect the property.”

Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner said, “This land purchase helps protect unique natural resources and recreation opportunities. We’ve had tremendous support from numerous stakeholders and are excited to add this special area to the White Mountain National Forest.”

TPL is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and federal, state, and local agencies to complete more than 3,500 land conservation projects in 47 states, protecting more than 2 million acres. In New Hampshire TPL has protected more than 200,000 acres. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations to fulfill their land for people mission.