Archive | environment

“Nature’s peace will flow into you …”

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ― John Muir

Friends of Mount Sunapee President Steve Russell shares this photo from a local hike at Mount Sunapee State Park, the home to this “gnarly old guy.”

While we share this photo, we urge all to hike locally and responsibly and follow safe practices. There is still snow and ice in the mountains and an accident can endanger you and the first responders and put further strain on our healthcare providers.

Please see the NH State Parks Response to Covid-19 for updates and information.

When the Sunapee Chapter of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests published the “Manual of Mount Sunapee” in 1915, it chose to include the John Muir quote, shown above. The booklet details Mount Sunapee’s geological history, flora, birds, and ferns. You can view the manual via the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

The under-told story: Mount Sunapee’s rare forest

Many people know Mount Sunapee as a fun place to ski. Few know the story of its rare forest. Yet, audiences at the Claremont MakerSpace and Goshen’s Brook Road Inn recently heard Steve Russell, president of Friends of Mount Sunapee, tell that story about an enduring, exemplary forest in Mount Sunapee State Park.

“Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story,” is a FOMS presentation about preservation efforts that began over a century ago. It is also about a critical and vulnerable environment, which has no permanent protective status.

“I didn’t even know there were old-growth trees up there,” offered one member of these diverse audiences, “and I ski there all the time.”

The Friends of Mount Sunapee program “Everlasting Story” describes the ancient and exemplary forest at Mount Sunapee State Park.

In cooperation with the Sullivan County Conservation District for its most recent two presentations, FOMS has been informing citizens in towns that surround Mount Sunapee about this irreplaceable old forest.

Russell stressed the importance of thinking of this area on the mountain, not as separate parcels with ancient trees, but as an entire and interdependent biological entity: an exemplary natural community system (ENCS). Through natural processes, the ENCS supports and protects itself through flora and fauna cooperation.

Russell stated that attempts to develop even small areas of this ENCS would damage and diminish the system. If preserved, this exemplary and old forest can be viewed, studied, and enjoyed into an ongoing future.

More about Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest and the Friends of Mount Sunapee

Ice, water, and watersheds

Chandler Brook, Newbury, NH

Friends of Mount Sunapee recently added a Sunapee Mountain Watersheds page to the website. Check it out! And we welcome submissions of water and watershed related articles and media for publication. For more information, see our contact page.

Water: This, that, and the other

Chandler Brook, Newbury, NH.

Now available from New Hampshire Silver Jackets is the Spring Report of State Hydrology and Watershed Conditions, 2020. The report compiles information on the status of hydrology, watershed, lake, and river conditions in preparation for the spring snowmelt and runoff season in the Granite State. You can view and download the 2020 Hydrology Report via the Department of Environmental Services.

Did you know that the Sullivan County Conservation District has a demonstration stream table? It is available to teachers and organizations to loan for use in the classroom or at an event. And if you’re not sure how to use the stream table, the SCCD website offers helpful links to help you out. For more info, contact SCCD Educator Dawn Dextraze.

Additionally, the Sullivan County Conservation District provides “Water Health” educational programs and projects related to water quality monitoring, nitrogen pollution reduction, and rainwater retention.

And from researcher and environmental sciences and biology teacher Susan Pike, learn about pancake, anchor, and border ice in our lakes, rivers, and streams. Susan shares her love of ice in “Nature News: The Magic of Ice” via the seacoastonline.com.

And a reminder from New Hampshire Fish & Game. Be safe when heading outdoors. See the NH F&G Ice Safety brochure.

Photos courtesy of a FOMS volunteer: Chandler Brook, as viewed from along the Beach Access Road at Mount Sunapee State Park in Newbury, N.H. (February 23, 2020). 

New NH rule, if made permanent, will put endangered species at risk

A list of threatened and endangered wildlife in New Hampshire is available via Fish and Game.

Environmental organizations in New Hampshire “say a new state rule, which has support from the construction industry and could become permanent, puts endangered species at greater risk from development.” See the reporting of Annie Ropeik for NHPR:

Instead of “no adverse impacts,” the new rule says only that project designs must “not jeopardize the continued existence” of a protected species, or destroy critical habitat.

For groups like the Nature Conservancy, this implied that projects could be allowed to move forward as long as they didn’t cause extinctions – which raised serious concerns.

The Nature Conservancy wrote to DES about the issue in January, along with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Appalachian Mountain Club and the state Audubon and Lakes Association – See NHPR, Enviro. Groups Say New State Rule For Developers Puts Endangered Species At Risk (February 18, 2020)

A list of threatened and endangered wildlife in New Hampshire is available via Fish and Game. Or view endangered-threatened-wildlife-nh (pdf).

Protect Our Winters comes to NH

Protect Our Winters is coming to New Hampshire.

POW, an international group of outdoor enthusiasts and climate activists, will work this year in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

We’re coming to you [New Hampshire] this year to get to know your community and learn about all of the great outdoor opportunities your state has to offer,” wrote Anja Semanco for POW. “Nearly 70 percent of New Hampshire residents participate in outdoor recreation every year. With an $8.7 billion outdoor rec economy, it’s time to talk climate change and take climate action.”

Read the POW blog post “What we’re working on in 2019” via https://protectourwinters.org/what-were-working-on-in-2019/

If you are a climate activist or want to join a local climate action group, we’d like to hear from you.

CONTACT FOMS

‘The primeval forest of Mount Sunapee’

Conservation ecologist Chris Kane, on June 30, 2018, led a hike at Mount Sunapee State Park, where he shared his knowledge of the area’s rare ancient forest.

Courtesy of the Eagle Times, July 28, 2018, this article by Steve Russell, president of Friends of Mount Sunapee, reports on a recent hike with conservation ecologist Chris Kane.

“Mount Sunapee contains as much as 10 percent of all the known ancient forest in New Hampshire, and the great majority south of the White Mountains.” – Chris Kane, June 30, 2018

In a walk through time into a forest never logged or otherwise affected by human endeavors, Chris Kane, conservation ecologist, led our small group of hikers last weekend into Mount Sunapee State Park’s primeval forest. Over the course of a three-and-a-half-hour journey, we hikers heard this naturalist identify and interpret the complexity of Sunapee’s ancient forests…

So, like those who were drawn to Sunapee’s rare forests over a century ago, we emerged from the forest with a new appreciation for the uniqueness of this special part of Mount Sunapee State Park and with an understanding that these forests represent the last vestige of wilderness in this region of New Hampshire: they are what make Mount Sunapee State Park unique, and we should do everything we can to ensure that they are permanently protected.

Read more via the Eagle Times, The primeval forests of Mount Sunapee 

Or view The primeval forests of Mount Sunapee | Lifestyles | eagletimes.com (pdf)

The ancient forest on Mount Sunapee
  • For information about Mount Sunapee natural heritage and its ancient forest, see the FOMS library of documents.
  • For info about our work to protect Mount Sunapee, please contact us.

Forest Society working to buy popular trailhead for Mt. Sunapee hike to Lake Solitude

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A hiker ascends the Andrew Brook Trail in Newbury. Courtesy photo.

When the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests (Forest Society) posted on Facebook a plan to buy a property in Newbury that hosts the trailhead of a hiking route to Lake Solitude on Mt. Sunapee, hikers who know the Andrew Brook Trail responded quickly.

They posted phrases like “Love this hike,” “One of my favorite spots” and “Best way to hike Sunapee.”

“Those posts told us we were working on a project that would make a lot of people very happy,” said Jane Difley, the Forest Society’s president/forester.

There are three major hiking trails on Mt. Sunapee, but only one, the Summit Trail, is entirely within Mt. Sunapee State Park. The Andrew Brook Trail is one of two others that cross private land before entering permanently protected land in the state park. Access to the trailhead has been at the generosity of the landowner and could be denied by any future landowner.

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Click on map to enlarge.

The Forest Society offered to buy the land, 33 acres off of Mountain Road in Newbury, when it came up for sale recently, and has a purchase-and-sales agreement with the landowner. First, however, the organization must raise $110,000 to cover the purchase, legal fees and future stewardship costs.

“We are reaching out to the hiking community and friends and neighbors in the Newbury area to ask for their support of our plan to protect the trailhead,” Difley said.

The Andrew Brook Trail ascends along Andrew Brook and climbs through a beech, birch and maple forest for two miles before reaching Lake Solitude, a pristine pond surrounded by conifers. It then connects to the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway’s 75-mile trail system and continues to the scenic cliffs of the  White Ledges area and Mt. Sunapee’s summit.

“Most hikers of these heavily used trails have no idea that only the generosity of a private landowner allows access to the State Park,” said Gerry Gold, of the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway Coalition. “Thus it is a rare opportunity when the hikers and the hiking community have an opportunity to help purchase such important access and permanently protect that access for themselves and future generations of hikers.”

In 2006, the Forest Society led a campaign to purchase a conservation easement on 1,100 acres of land on the eastern slope of Mt. Sunapee. This easement protects the middle section of the Andrew Brook Trail and was a collaboration celebrated by partners including the Newbury Conservation Commission, Cardigan Highlanders Volunteer Trail Crew, the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, Friends of Mount Sunapee and the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway.

In 2010 the Goubert family of Sunapee donated 75 acres of land next to the 33-acre property the Forest Society now seeks to buy.

Difley said the property’s value for hiking is the most obvious reason to protect it, but it also contains hardwood forest that protects water quality of Andrew Brook and several feeder streams, and it provides excellent wildlife habitat. She said the organization is seeking to raise the money necessary to complete the project by Jan. 20.

More information about the project and how to donate, visit www.forestsociety.org.

Soar over Mount Sunapee via “To Be A Bird”

Enjoy stunning, soaring views over New Hampshire via “To Be A Bird.”  This video by Kris Roller captures the autumn landscape and precious mountain and watershed lands… including Mount Sunapee. At 20 seconds, you’ll find yourself flying over Mount Sunapee and taking in breathtaking views of Lake Solitude and beyond. Take flight via —

2015 NH Wildlife Action Plan provides new data and maps

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Shown here: maps for Goshen and Newbury, NH. Click on maps to enlarge.

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FG_WAP_2015_newbury8x11scoringThe NH Wildlife Action Plan has been updated, and there are new data and information now available, including new Wildlife Habitat maps. Check out NH Fish & Game for town maps showing the “highest ranked wildlife habitat by ecological condition.”

The 2015 Wildlife Action Plan is a blueprint for conserving Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their habitats in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s Plan identifies 169 SGCN, which represent a broad array of wildlife, and it focuses on the 27 habitats that support these species, such as lowland spruce-fir forest, salt marsh, shrublands, warm water lakes and ponds, vernal pools, and many others. – NH Fish and Game via http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/wap.html

F&G is hosting workshops around the state to explain what’s new in the 2015 plan. Registration information is available via www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/wap-events.html.

Share your interest in protecting important wildlife habitat on and around Mount Sunapee. Contact FOMS.

SooNipi Magazine: ‘Hiking Mount Sunapee’s Summit Trail’

SooNipiMagazineSummitTrail2015SummerEnjoy and explore the Summit Trail at Mount Sunapee State Park. The SooNipi Magazine, always a fun and informative read, delivers in its summer (2015) issue an article that takes you for a hike up the Summit Trail. Learn what makes this area of our state park so special and why this favorite hiking trail is now at risk! Read (download/view):

“Hiking Mount Sunapee’s Summit Trail” (SooNipi-Summer-2015 P.28-31)  (PDF 3MB)

You can pick up the SooNipi at various distribution sites in West-Central New Hampshire, or download/view the article by clicking on the link above.

For some, Mount Sunapee State Park conjures up images of alpine skiing. For many others, however, the park represents a smorgasbord of outdoor recreation opportunities – including hiking, hunting, nature study, backpacking, snowshoeing, and more. All are available at no cost in our public park. The Summit Hiking Trail on Mount Sunapee’s west flank offers access to all of the aforementioned non-skiing activities, and is a personal favorite…

The Summit Hiking Trail lies directly in the path of the proposed western expansion of the ski area. As currently planned, the hiking trail will be bisected at least half a dozen times by new ski slopes, and a new lift line will be gouged out of the heart of the ancient forest community. The closed forest canopy will now feature ski runs, towers for a ski lift, and pipelines and guns for snowmaking. The trail will still be there, possibly re-routed, but the peaceful woodland hike that exists today will be changed forever. – “Hiking Mount Sunapee’s Summit Trail” by Gary Stansfield

To learn how you can help protect the Summit Trail, contact FOMS today!

 

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