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2021 Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Join the New Hampshire Rivers Council and enjoy one of the largest environmental film festivals on your own screen, starting on Friday, March 26, 2021, at 6:30 pm.

The Council brings you the 2021 Wild & Scenic Film Festival with live-streaming and video-on-demand for five days, March 26 – March 30. This is the Council’s eleventh year hosting the festival. For tickets, go to https://nhrivers.org/film-festival-2021/

For the Festival’s “On Tour” calendar, go to https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/events/

The New Hampshire Rivers Council is the only statewide organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of New Hampshire’s river resources. The Council is committed to the conservation and ecologically sound management of New Hampshire’s rivers, watersheds, and related natural resources.  

Voices & Views

 

Rewilding: Bob Leverett on old growth, carbon sequestration, forest recovery

Voices & Views shares an interview with forest expert Bob Leverett via Rewilding. The discussion delves into the complex web of life in old-growth forests, carbon sequestration, and the edge-effects of rewilding areas adjacent to old growth.

Leverett is the co-founder of the Native Tree Society, co-founder and President of Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest, chairperson for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Forest Reserves Scientific Advisory Committee, the co-author of the American Forests Champion Tree-Measuring Guidelines handbook.

He is also co-author of several books including the Sierra Club Guide to Ancient Forests of the Northeast.

This compelling interest placed him in the center of the early old growth preservation movements, which continue to this day.  – Rewilding

Related article: “The push for standing forest protections in US climate policy” (January 19, 2021) via Environmental Health News

Voices & Views

Latest News from FOMS

 


IMG_3773 - Copy

Large Maple Exemplary Forest  Polygon 23 

 

February 8, 2021

On November 5, 2020 the NH Dept. Natural and Cultural Resources held an online public hearing regarding Vail’s draft 2021-2025 Master Development/Environmental Management Plan for the leased area of Mount Sunapee State Park. Currently the plan is still under review by the Commissioner of  the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Friends of Mount Sunapee submitted comments focused specifically on impacts from previously approved but not yet implemented projects that would directly impact Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique State Documented 484 acre exemplary forest(ENCS) . (see attached letter below)

 

 



The 484 acre forest also includes the exemplary forest in the west bowl which would be eliminated by the expansion plan submitted in 2015.

FOMS has called upon the State to work with the NH Natural Heritage Bureau (which has sole authority under NH law to designate the exemplary status of the forest) and the current lessee Vail corp. to permanently protect this irreplaceable NH state treasure. 

Additionally the Newbury Town Conservation Commission submitted a letter to the State which supports the permanent protection of the 484 acre exemplary forest. This recommendation will continue to remain a priority for the Conservation Commission in the coming year.  The entire  forest is within the town limits of Newbury.

We encourage you to write Dept. of Natural and Cultural Commissioner Sarah Stewart urging permanent protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique forest.

Send comments to :

Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources
COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE
Sarah L. Stewart, Commissioner
603-271-2411


FOMS-MDP-EMP-2020-2025-Comments-2

Lastly FOMS is currently engaged in a fundraising appeal. Thank you to all those who have responded thus far. We could not continue to maintain our organizational outreach  to inform our members and the public without your help. 

 

Resistance Radio talks old forest ecology and protection

Resistance Radio recently aired an interview with Joan Maloof, an old-growth advocate. During the discussion, Maloof relates personal stories as she teaches about forest ecology, the importance of preserving old forests, and the work of the Old-Growth Forest Network. We share that interview here. And to learn about the rare old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park, see the links below.

“Joan Maloof, Professor Emeritus of biology and environmental studies at Salisbury University, founded the Old-Growth Forest Network to preserve, protect and promote the country’s few remaining stands of old-growth forest. She spends her time lecturing, writing, visiting forests, assisting private landowners, and supporting local groups trying to protect community forests from development. She is the author of four books about trees and forests.” – Resistance Radio, May 24, 2020

Related links

Voices & Views

The Environmental Hour explores Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest

Photo courtesy of Lisa Coté, host of The Environmental Hour on Portsmouth, N.H., community radio WSCA. Images from a June 2020 hike at Mount Sunapee State Park.

The Environmental Hour on Portsmouth, New Hampshire, community radio WSCA 106.1 FM recently explored the exemplary and old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park with Steve Russell, president of the Friends of Mount Sunapee. The state-documented 484-acre exemplary natural community system in the Park includes enduring, rare old-growth surrounded by mature forest.

“When I learned about this (old forest on Mount Sunapee) … I said I wanna go, I want to see what this is, I want to learn more about this,” said Lisa Coté, host of The Environmental Hour

Coté is a certified hydrogeologist as well as an avid hiker, skier, and environmentalist. She learned of the rare forest on Sunapee from listening to the Earth Day 2020 webinar hosted by the New Hampshire Sierra Club and the Friends of Mount Sunapee. After contacting FOMS and arranging for a hike through the old forest, Coté interviewed Russell on-air.

“What follows is an audio journey through the forest and the past and current efforts to preserve Mount Sunapee’s amazing forest,” says Russell.

Audio from WSCA The Environmental Hour, June 19, 2020

 

Related FOMS articles and resources

Sunapee Mountain hike bestows far more than one seeks

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. – Henry David Thoreau

Take a walk in nature and smell the wild air.

Hiking the Summit Trail along Mount Sunapee’s west flank

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. – Henry David Thoreau

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks. – John Muir

At Mount Sunapee State Park, the forested hiking trails take you through an exemplary natural community system, which encompasses rare old forest.

As you explore the great outdoors, please stay on the trails and be mindful of trail conditions and others on the trails. Follow hiking guidelines and Leave No Trace practices. Stay safe. Be well.

Friends of Mount Sunapee photos: Mount Sunapee State Park, hiking the Summit Trail (2020).

Further reading and viewing

Voices & Views

Mount Sunapee Resort five-year plans now online

At Mount Sunapee State Park, looking across the parking lot toward the Spruce Lodge at the base of the mountain. Vail Resorts is the current lessee and operator of the state-owned ski area. FOMS photo, May 2020.

Mount Sunapee Resort’s five-year Master Development Plan (MDP) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 2020-2025 are now available online. The plans, submitted to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) by Vail Resorts, are subject to a public hearing and public comment:

Or view the plans via the NH Parks’ website.

Submit comments to Mount Sunapee Comments, Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, NH  03301, or email mountsunapeecomments@dncr.nh.gov.

Please contact the Friends of Mount Sunapee if you can help us review these plans as we prepare for a public hearing. We encourage citizen involvement in the public policy-making opportunities for Mount Sunapee State Park, including the master development planning process for the ski area.

Additional information

DNCR and the division of Parks and Recreation are responsible for managing Mount Sunapee State Park and overseeing the ski area lease, which encompasses approximately 1100 acres of public conservation land.

The agency’s Involvement and Oversight Policy requires the ski area operator to submit master development and environmental management plans every five years.

In considering these plans, DNCR shall hold at least one public hearing in conjunction with the regional planning commission, according to the public involvement policy.

At the June 9 telemeeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission, DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart said a hearing date had not been set.

For related information see the FOMS resource pages: Mount Sunapee State Park management and policies and Mount Sunapee’s natural heritage and ancient forests.

Where to view the plans?

“The plans are available for public review at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, N.H., as well as in the Towns of Newbury, Goshen, New London, Sunapee, Newport, Bradford, Sutton, and at the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission,” according to NH State Parks.

However, as of this posting, FOMS is unable to confirm the local availability of the plans. We will update this post when more information is known.

 

Old-Growth Forest Network: The Healthiest Forest

Created by the Old-Growth Forest Network, this film “takes you on a 4-minute journey that represents 300 years in the life of a forest. See how structure and biodiversity recover naturally, and how continued management like thinning and harvesting interferes with recovery.”

Related news articles

OGFN related articles

About the old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park (FOMS resource page)

Voices & Views

Mount Sunapee Resort five-year plans 2020-2025, June 2020

Mount Sunapee Resort Five-Year Master Development Plan (MDP) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 2020-2025, June 2020

‘Time for a climb’ from New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Is it time for a climb and new discoveries? The delicate spring beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) welcomes forest hikers in New Hampshire, April through June. Friends of Mount Sunapee photo.

It’s Time For a Climb: New Hampshire Garden Solutions takes you along on a recent outing on Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, N.H., and the discoveries made by taking the same trails again and again.

John Burroughs said “To find new things, take the path you took yesterday” and of course he was right. I thought of him last year when I found spring beauties I had been walking by for years and then I thought of him again on this day, when I found sessile leaved bellwort growing right beside the trail I’ve hiked so many times. I’m always amazed by how much I miss, and that’s why I walk the same trails again and again. It’s the only way to truly know a place.

See New Hampshire Garden Solutions, Exploring Nature in New Hampshire.

Voices & Views

The Hobblebush

When heading out for a springtime hike or forest walk, be sure to look for the showy flowers of the hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides). The hobblebush is a shade loving deciduous shrub with sprawling branches, which will root if they touch the ground. The photo above, taken while hiking at Mount Sunapee State Park, shows the flat-topped clusters of white flowers of the hobblebush.

Voices & Views shares The Nature of Phenology, Episode 123, Hobblebush

Large clusters of hobblebush flowers can be found now. Not only do hobblebush flowers trick pollinators into landing on them, but the plants really do trip walking animals and careless hikers more than your average shrub—hence the name hobblebush.

And via Northernwoodlands.org, enjoy The Humble (yet Devilish) Hobblebush and Hobblebush, Viburnum lantanoides 

Online references

Voices & Views

Gale Straub: ‘She Explores – Women in the Outdoors’

“Enjoy. I find inspiration and comfort by connecting with women who share their outdoor experiences and stories.” A Friends of Mount Sunapee volunteer organizer shares She Explores, the podcast by Gail Straub of Dover. N.H.

Episode 149: Stories of Togetherness

Voices & Views

Mt. Sunapee commission announces June 9 telemeeting

This view looks across the parking lot at the base of the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park, Newbury, New Hampshire. In a telemeeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort will present its Annual Operating Plan for the state-owned ski area. Courtesy photo.

The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission will hold a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. This meeting will discuss operating plans for the state-owned ski area and is open to the public. There will be an opportunity for public comment.

Commissioner Sarah Stewart, Department of Natural and Cultural Resource, chairs the advisory committee.

The meeting agenda includes:

  • Discussion of the Annual Operating Plan for 2020-2021 submitted by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort
  • Update by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort
  • Update on the Cooperative Maintenance Agreement (pdf) that pertains to the public hiking trails in the leasehold area, including the Summit Trail
  • Process and planning for the next five-year development and environmental management plans (2021-2025) for the ski area
  • Public comment on the annual plan

See the agenda here: MSAC Agenda 2020June9 (pdf)

The Annual Operating Plan submitted to the agency by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort is posted on the MSAC webpage, and available here:

Mount Sunapee Annual Operating Plan 2020-2021 (pdf 1.2 MB)

Call-in info for Mount Sunapee June 9 meeting

Dial 800-356-8278 and enter the conference pin 671812. Then, state your name when asked, which enters you into the call.

If you have difficulty connecting to the conference system, you can contact NH State Parks by phone at 603-271-2976 or by email at mountsunapeecomments@dncr.nh.gov.

June 11, 2020, update: Commissioner Stewart is accepting comments on the AOP until June 16, 2020.  Send comments to Mount Sunapee Comments, Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, 172 Pembroke Rd., Concord, NH  03301. Or email mountsunapeecomments@dncr.nh.gov.

Additional resources

Check out the FOMS resource pages for more information.

NOTE: If you’re interested in issues related to public policy and the management of our public lands at Mount Sunapee State Park, please contact us.

Newbury Fire Rescue on Mt. Sunapee hiking alternatives

This week, the Newbury Fire and Rescue Department posted on Facebook the following advisory about parking and Mount Sunapee hiking alternatives.

Hiking to Lake Solitude on Mount Sunapee can be a great adventure with a great view. However, this spring the number of hikers on the Andrew Brook trail has resulted in dangerous conditions on Newbury’s Mountain Road. On some weekends, cars parked on both sides of Mountain Road have narrowed the road to one lane, making the road so narrow that the fire apparatus is not able to get through. Because of the possibility that emergency vehicles will not be able to reach the homes on Mountain Road and beyond, The Newbury Police will be restricting parking to designated areas on one side of Mountain Road in the area of the trailhead.

Hikers are advised that there is plenty of parking in the main lot at Mount Sunapee Resort for the Summit Trail and in Lot 3 for the Newbury Trail which both will take hikers to Lake Solitude as well as all of the other hiking trails on Mount Sunapee.

Please be considerate of the safety of Newbury residents and plan your hike from the trailheads at Mount Sunapee Resort/State Park

FOMS Note: Be safe. Be well. Be Local.

 

Recent bird sightings

Voices & Views, bird sightings in the Sunapee region: The NH Audubon Rare Bird Alert for May 4, 2020, reported six black scoters and a red-necked grebe seen on Lake Sunapee on May 1.  And the Alert for May 11, 2020, listed two red crossbills seen on Mountain Road in Newbury on May 11.

See the Rare Bird Alerts via the NH Birds Google Group for May 4, 2020, and May 11, 2020.

For helpful birding resources, see nhbirdrecords.org/current-sightings/.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, please enjoy your outings while following guidelines for safe travel and social distancing. Stay local. Stay safe. Be healthy.

Share your local sightings and interest in birding. Contact FOMS or email: catherine@friendsofmountsuanpee.org.

(Stock photos of red crossbill and red-necked grebe)

 

NH State Parks during ‘Stay at Home 2.0’

Camping during NH Stay at Home 2.0On Friday, May 1, New Hampshire Governor Sununu announced: “Stay at Home 2.0” that included guidelines for the opening of State Park and private campgrounds.

NH Parks’ reopening guidelines

Most importantly, let’s keep ourselves well. And let’s keep our communities, our parks, and natural areas healthy.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented NH Parks from conducting its usual campground preparation done in early spring.

“In the coming weeks, we will be preparing our campgrounds to open at 50 percent of normal capacity and hiring staff to operate the campgrounds,” according to the State Parks’ recent release. “Under Stay at Home 2.0, reservations will be limited to only New Hampshire state residents. … We want to get up and running as quickly as possible but need to make sure we do so safely.”

The state will soon announce when it will be able to accept reservations.

The division of N.H. State Parks offers camping in 23 natural settings, including at Mount Sunapee State Park. The state operates the Mount Sunapee campground, which is located outside the ski lease area, up a windy round, accessed from parking lot three. Mount Sunapee State Park campground road

Awaiting Mount Sunapee plans and advisory meeting

Important Update, May 19, 2020: The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission will hold a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.


The Friends of Mount Sunapee is awaiting the release of plans for the state park ski area and a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission.

  • The Annual Operating Plan for Mount Sunapee Resort is due by May 15.
  • The five-year Master Development Plan and Environmental Management Plan are due by June 1.
  • The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission meets June 9.  See the note and update below.

For Mount Sunapee Resort, this will be Vail Resorts’ second annual plan and first master and environmental plans submitted for the state-owned ski area. Vail’s first operating plan (2019-2020) for Sunapee detailed maintenance projects, no new capital projects. Vail took over the ski area lease and operations in 2018.

Advisory commission meeting

Commissioner Sarah Stewart of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) has called a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission (MSAC) for Tuesday, June 9, at 9:30 a.m.. at Veteran’s Hall, Route 103, in Newbury.

Note: DNCR announced the June 9 meeting before federal and state guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic. We are looking to see if the meeting will take place as scheduled and how DNCR will provide safe public access. Consequently, FOMS will be providing updates on its website, including the commission’s meeting agenda and the resort’s plans, when available. See the update below.

If past practices follow, we expect Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort will provide an overview of the 2019-2020 year and preview plans for 2020-2021 at the June 9 meeting.

The five-year development and environmental plans for the ski area are subject to a lengthier public review process. The public involvement and oversight policy requires at least one public hearing.

See our Mount Sunapee State Park policies and management page for prior development plans. And please contact us if you’d like to discuss public oversight issues at Mount Sunapee State Park.

Update May 5, 2020: DNCR is working with the IT department on how it might conduct the June 9 meeting by teleconference.  If this can be done effectively, New Hampshire State Parks will send a notice and instructions out to the MSAC and the email distribution list. In general, NH State Parks has postponed all other committee meetings, according to a division spokesperson.


Current COVID-19 guidelines

In the news

Ski resorts, a virus hot spot, win reprieve in credit market (April 29, 2020) via Bloomberg

Vail Resorts offering credits for next winter at NH sites after COVID-19 cuts ski season short (April 27, 2020) via Union Leader.com

Vail Resorts was struggling, now it is in a perfect storm (April 23, 2020) via Seeking Alpha

Letter from Vail Resorts to U.S. employees on COVID-19 business impacts (April 1, 2020) via Vail Resorts

FOMS launches Voices & Views

A Mount Sunapee State Park spring wildflower, the red trillium, Trillium erectum. Friends of Mount Sunapee photo.

Welcome to Voices & Views, a Friends of Mount Sunapee blog dedicated to comments and images that speak about experiences in nature, land conservation, and environmental stewardship. With your help, Voices & Views will bring you timely comments and short takes from FOMS members, non-members, bloggers, and newsmakers.

The goal is to encourage and support creative narratives.

We invite YOU to share your interest and your creative side, perhaps in a short story, poem, sketch, painting, photo, video. For more info, contact FOMS or email Catherine@FriendsofMountSunapee.org.

Go to Voices & Views

Copyright © 2020 Friends of Mount Sunapee