Sagamore Creek Headlands Protected (NH)

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire, 8/21/2003: The people of Portsmouth will soon be enjoying a new public park, thanks in large part to a $1.987 million federal grant. The City of Portsmouth and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced the acquisition today of 10 acres from Sagamore Creek, LLC. The property, which lies on Tucker’s Cove off of Sagamore Avenue/Route 1A near the Singing Bridge, was purchased by the City for use as publicly accessible open space. The federal award covered the majority of the $2.15 million purchase price. Portsmouth City Council appropriated the remaining $163,000 from existing conservation funds.

The federal grant was allocated through the new Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which establishes partnerships between the federal, state and local government to protect key lands along the country’s coastline and to create more public access to coastal areas.

U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), who secured the federal funding through his position as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for NOAA, stated, “Protecting significant coastal lands like Sagamore Creek was exactly what I had in mind when I drafted the Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection legislation. A probable target for development given the terrific views from the property and the easy access to the water and downtown Portsmouth, this land was critical to protect before it was developed. As one of the largest salt water frontage properties left in New Hampshire, this property is significant to the overall health of the area’s coastal estuary, and in turn, to the health of the local fish and wildlife. I am pleased to have been able to the protect one of our State’s environmental jewels for generations to enjoy.”

“This is a very special piece of property, with views of our working waterfront and the important natural areas of Sagamore Creek,” said Evelyn Sirrell, Mayor of Portsmouth. “We are very happy that we were able to work together with our project partners, especially Senator to create additional open space in Portsmouth. The protection of this property will ensure that passive recreational opportunities are available for present and future generations right here in Portsmouth.”

“City of Portsmouth officials, with their vision and hard work, have today added a true jewel to the network of protected open space in this region,” said Sam Hodder, project manager for TPL, a national nonprofit conservation organization that negotiated an agreement to purchase the property last December and worked with the City to identify funding sources. “We are extremely grateful to Senator Gregg for his leadership in securing federal funds for this conservation effort. I would also like to thank Peter Britz of the City of Portsmouth and Danna Truslow of the Seacoast Land Trust for their hard work and partnership.”

The property’s protection was strongly supported by the Seacoast Land Trust, which first identified the land as a conservation priority as part of a larger initiative to map threatened lands in the Seacoast Region.

“We are thrilled that our mapping efforts provided the catalyst for this important conservation project,” said Danna Truslow, executive director of the Seacoast Land Trust. “The salt marsh habitat on this property and in this urban estuary is remarkably healthy. This acquisition will help it to stay that way so that the hundreds of kayakers and other boaters who float past on Sagamore Creek can continue to enjoy its natural beauty. We appreciate the support that local and federal officials and the Trust for Public Land have provided to protect this property and other sensitive lands in the region.”

The Sagamore Creek Headlands property is a 10-acre peninsula that juts into the Sagamore Creek estuary at Tucker’s Cove. The land includes nearly one-half mile of frontage along the Creek, as well as woodlands, tidal marsh, and rock outcroppings.

The property is located within 1.5 miles of downtown Portsmouth and lies near significant conservation land, including the State’s 180-acre Urban Forestry Center and 16 acres of city owned open space, which also connects to conservation land in Rye. Identified as a high conservation priority by both the City and the Seacoast Land Trust because of its habitat value and unique ecological features, this stretch of Sagamore Creek is also popular for kayaking and birdwatching.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including nearly 60,000 acres in New Hampshire. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact TPL’s Concord office at (603) 224-0103 or visit