Senate Approves $8M for CT Headwaters (NH)

CONCORD, New Hampshire, 1/24/03: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) applauded U.S. Senator Judd Gregg and the entire U.S. Senate for approving an omnibus funding bill last night that included $8 million in federal funding to help conserve the 171,000-acre Connecticut Headwaters property. The property surrounds the headwater lakes of the Connecticut River in Pittsburg, Clarksville, and Stewartstown, New Hampshire.

“We are extremely grateful for Senator Gregg’s leadership in ensuring that the $8 million Forest Legacy appropriation needed for the Connecticut Headwaters project was included in the Senate’s Omnibus Appropriations bill. His consistent support of this project has been essential, both in his role as Co-Chair of the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Partnership Task Force and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee,” said David Houghton, field office director for TPL. “Forest Legacy funding is absolutely critical in the effort to conserve this land as the backbone of northern New Hampshire’s culture and economy.”

Strong support has also been provided by the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation, especially Congressman Charles Bass, who represents the North Country, as well as by former Governor Jeanne Shaheen and the state’s legislative leadership.

TPL purchased the property from International Paper last March. At the end of December, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department purchased 25,000 acres for management as natural areas and donated a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy. TPL is temporarily holding the remainder of the property, some 146,000 acres, while the final federal and private funds are assembled for its permanent conservation.

With Senate approval, the omnibus bill now goes to the House of Representatives, and discussions between the two bodies should be finalized within the next several weeks. It will then go to President Bush for his signature.

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 1.5 million acres nationwide, including nearly 60,000 acres in New Hampshire. 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, for the third year in a row.