Mount Sunapee State Park Forest

About Us

Friends of Mount Sunapee is an alliance of neighbors, town leaders, conservationists, and civic-minded advocates from towns across our mountain region and from across New Hampshire and the country.

Supporters include business owners, skiers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and families with current and generational ties to Mount Sunapee State Park. Friends of Mount Sunapee brings a voice to issues and concerns of people who love Mount Sunapee and our state parks.

Our Mission

Our mission advocates for the permanent protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s old growth forest and exemplary natural community system of which it is a part, thus preserving the unique character and natural beauty of the rural communities in the mountain’s shadow.

Our Goals

Our goal is to maintain our region’s essential qualities of clean air and water, large forest tracts and open lands, wildlife, and their habitats, and the traditional methods of enjoying these resources. We advocate for local land-use measures, regional planning practices, and land protection initiatives that safeguard livable and healthy communities.

Seeking to promote government and corporate leadership and accountability, we encourage public participation and openness in all policy-making processes that determine our region’s future. With education, information, and citizen involvement, we will preserve the unique character of our state park, our mountain, and our region.

History of Preserving Mount Sunapee

In 1909 Herbert Welsh, and Phillip Ayres, led a campaign to: “Save Mount Sunapee for all people to all time!” Welsh working with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests created the Society’s Sunapee Reservation which eventually grew to 1,185 acres and would form the core of Mount Sunapee State Park.

 After the passing of Welsh and Ayres the Forest Society ceded its holdings in 1948 to the State of New Hampshire in the formation of our mountain park. The memory of the ancient forest had faded from public memory until in 1997 Chris Kane while working as an intern for the NH Bureau of Forest and Lands rediscovered the old forest originally observed by Forest Society forester Philip Ayres in 1909.

 Later documented in a series of reports by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau the forested system on Mount Sunapee still lacks permanent protection.

Now, it’s our turn to Permanently Preserve Mount Sunapee’s conservation legacy and protect the area’s scenic beauty and unique natural resources and old growth for current and future generations.

Conserving the legacy of Herbert Welsh continues to be a concern as reflected in a 2014 letter written by great grandson, Michael Welsh, to the then operators, Triple Peaks LLC, when the West Bowl Expansion was being proposed.…ith-their-legacy/ ‎

Join or Donate Today

Lake Solitude, Mount Sunapee State Park. Courtesy photo.

The Friends of Mount Sunapee brings voices to issues and concerns of people who love Mount Sunapee, our state parks, and the great outdoors. We are friends and neighbors, town leaders, and business owners, conservationists and public-interest advocates.

Vail Resorts is now the leaseholder and operator of our state-owned ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park. At this critical time for Mount Sunapee, it more important than ever to be involved.

Membership and donations from concerned citizens like you support our work. Your contribution will directly support our activities, education, and advocacy to preserve and protect Mount Sunapee State Park for its essential public values and to protect our region’s quality of life, clean waters, and open spaces.


Action Goals for Friends of Mount Sunapee

  • To compel the state of New Hampshire to recognize that its primary responsibility is to serve as guardian of the public interest at Mount Sunapee State Park, and to deny efforts that undermine the essential conservation, public recreational and aesthetic values for which the park fundamentally exists to provide.
  • To support efforts to build a connected constituency for conservation in the Mount Sunapee region
  • To protect land under threat of development through acquisition in part or whole and by supporting existing land protection efforts. 
  • To engage, inform, and activate citizens in a variety of public policy-making opportunities, including the five-year Master Development Plan process at Mount Sunapee State Park.
  • To encourage the establishment and enforcement of local land use regulations in communities impacted by current and potential resort-driven growth.
  • To actively network with individuals and groups across the state that support the wise and thoughtful use of New Hampshire’s public parks and forested lands so as to protect their natural heritage for future generations.

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