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Campaign underway to protect Andrew Brook trailhead

Lake Solitude_ForestSociety

Overlooking Lake Solitude at Mt. Sunapee State Park. Photo credit: Jack Savage, courtesy of Forest Society.

The Forest Society is seeking your help to permanently protect the trailhead of the Andrew Brook Trail, a favorite hiking trail to Lake Solitude and the White Ledges at Mt. Sunapee State Park.

See Current Forest Society projects.

Download/view Andrew Brook Trailhead flyer 12-14-15 (2MB)

“The owner of a 33-acre property that hosts the trailhead, off Newbury’s Mountain Road, has agreed to sell it to the Forest Society. Now we must raise the $110,000 needed to acquire the land, cover transaction costs, improve the trailhead and steward the property, and we hope you will give a donation to help,” the society release states.

Map courtesy of the Forest Society. Click on map to enlarge.

Map provided by the Forest Society.

The Andrew Brook Trail is beloved by many hikers as a sweet ascent along a babbling brook that you rock hop across as you climb through a beech, birch and maple forest. It climbs for two miles before reaching Lake Solitude, a pristine pond surrounded by conifers. It then continues to the White Ledges area on the way to Mt. Sunapee’s summit.

Additionally, conserving this parcel will help protect water quality of Andrew Brook and feeder streams in the area, provide high-quality wildlife habitat and enlarge the surrounding block of conserved land including the Andrew Brook Forest and Sunapee and Pillsbury state parks.

“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,” states the Forest Society. “This easement protects the middle section of the Andrew Brook Trail and was a huge collaborative success celebrated by partners including the Newbury Conservation Commission, Highlanders, the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, Friends of Mt. Sunapee and the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway. The trailhead, however, remained in private ownership and unprotected, and it has now been put up for sale.”

For more information, contact Susanne Kibler-Hacker at the Forest Society, 603-224-9945, or via e-mail at skh@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

FG_WAP_2015_goshen8x11habitat

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

FG_WAP_2015_goshen8x11scoring

FG_WAP_2015_newbury8x11scoringThe NH Wildlife Action Plan has been updated and there is 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 eccological 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.

My Turn: Forget the labels – Sunapee trees are old – Concord Monitor

By Jolyon Johnson
For Concord Monitor – February 7, 2015

A recent report by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau confirms the existence of “exemplary natural communities” on Mount Sunapee’s west flank.

The study, conducted in the autumn of 2014, not only confirmed the findings of the 2004 study, it also enlarged the area formally designated as exemplary at Mount Sunapee State Park. These forests are directly in the path of the proposed expansion of the ski area. Continue Reading →

How do you describe Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest?

Polygon D 2014OctQ. – The manager of Mount Sunapee Resort has repeatedly stated that there is no old growth in the proposed expansion area. How do you and the Friends of Mount Sunapee respond to that claim?

A. – It is essential to understand that, even among forest ecologists, there is some debate over the definition of the term old growth. Quite frankly, the wording can be a semantic trap. The resort operators are missing the point by focusing on the term.

The focus should be on the facts:

Continue Reading →

AP News Break: Old forest may derail Sunapee expansion

Read the AP article:

Polygon D 2014OctOld forest may derail Sunapee expansion plan 

New Hampshire Forest & Lands confirmed this week the existence of exemplary natural communities on Mount Sunapee State Park’s west flank, directly in the path of the proposed expansion.

This is very good news for our cherished Mount Sunapee State Park and the protection of the park’s natural heritage and scenic beauty.  Read more…

Resort expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park is unwise

FOMS_Snowshoes_DF

Watercolor by Deb Flanders www.fellscovedesign)

When considering resort expansion at Mount Sunapee, remember that Mount Sunapee State Park is a state park with a ski area. It is not a private ski resort or amusement park, and the park is not just for skiing.

From its creation as a nature reserve in 1911 to today, Mount Sunapee’s public lands have been protected as a park for the preservation of its special natural features and public use including quiet recreation, snowshoeing, hiking, picnicking, and exploration.

While skiing is one of many uses of the park, expansion of the ski area and development outside the resort’s current footprint on the mountain is unwise.

Expansion will negatively affect other park uses and resources. Okemo’s proposed expansion at Mount Sunapee will destroy the current hiking experience now enjoyed along the Summit Hiking Trial and diminish the state park’s natural heritage including exemplary forest and natural communities.

The proposed expansion will open the way to cross-border private development in Goshen, which will not only violate the mission of our park, but will diminish and fragment an ecologically important landscape—the Pillsbury-Sunapee Highlands. Additionally, the resort-driven real estate development that will inevitably follow expansion will forever change the rural character of the communities in the mountain’s shadow.

For more information and to receive FOMS pamphlet about the proposed expansion, contact Friends of Mount Sunapee.

Friends of Mount Sunapee is a grassroots organization that seeks to preserve and protect Mount Sunapee State Park for its essential public values and preserve the region’s quality of life, clean waters and open spaces.

Watercolor by Deb Flanders (www.fellscovedesign.com)

 

 

Help protect the Summit Hiking Trail on Mount Sunapee

HelpProtectSummitTrail_WinterFOMS“The proposed ‘West Bowl’ expansion will fatally compromise the Summit Trail,” says Steve Russell, Newbury. “The trail as it now exists will be gone.”

“The trail, which provides the general public with all season access to the park, will be cut through with ski runs at four different locations.”

Okemo/Mount Sunapee Resort is seeking a major expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park that will extend ski infrastructure across the western flank of Mount Sunapee onto  hundreds of acres owned by the resort operator.

Proposed new ski terrain and a new lift will not only bisect the hiking trail, it will cut into rare ancient forest in the park.

The western edge of the park is not yet impacted by ski trails, ski lifts and snow-making. Steve and others wants to keep it that way.

It is not necessary to expand skiing in an area where an equally important public use of the park already exists. The use of the park for skiing is already well established. The public also has a right to experience the mountain in a natural undisturbed state.

Help protect the Summit Trail: Here’s how.

About the Summit Trail

The Summit Trail, developed in the early 1990s, was designed “to provide hikers with a woodlands trail away from ski operations,” according to the SRK Greenway Coalition.

“Development of the trail was related to the early history of the SRK Greenway Coalition, incorporated in 1993.”

The Summit Trail is part of the Greenway, a 75-mile loop of trails that connect 4 State Parks, 3 State Forests, and NH Fish and Game protected lands, as well as town and private properties. The SRKG also links with the 50-mile Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and Pillsbury State Park.

A false argument: “expand or perish”

In response to a recent letter published in several New Hampshire newspapers regarding the proposed ski area expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park, we share this response from a Goshen resident, who wrote:

1. To frame the issue as either “expand or perish” is inaccurate. The current operators of the ski area have provided quality skiing for years now, and will continue to, with or without the proposed expansion. In fact, the resort operators have a large number of “improvement projects” already planned and approved for the existing ski area, that have not been implemented. If improvements are so critical to their success, it would make sense to complete approved projects before proposing a large expansion.

2. On the issue of old growth forest: Yes, New Hampshire is a heavily forested state. In general, well planned forestry operations pose no threat to the viability of the region’s forests. What the writer fails to understand is that 99% of the region’s forests have been cutover two or more times since European settlement. Old growth forest, such as what is found in Mount Sunapee State Park, has never been logged and is extremely rare, constituting less than one percent of existing forest. The mosaic of old growth forest in the park is the largest of its type in Merrimack County, and likely the largest in the state south of the White Mountains.

In addition, the undeveloped west flank of Mount Sunapee is the northern end of the Pillsbury-Sunapee Highlands, an unfragmented forest block that has been recognized by state wildlife officials as critical habitat and an important travel corridor for large mammals such as moose, black bear, and bobcat.The disturbance caused by the construction of proposed ski infrastructure (parking lots, snow making and grooming, ski lifts, sewage disposal areas, concessions, etc.) would greatly diminish the value of this habitat.

In considering these and other points regarding the proposed expansion, it is important to remember that this concerns a state park—public land protected many years ago for a wide range of public uses, not solely as a ski area, nor as a generator of wealth for corporate resort owners.

Copyright 2019 Friends of Mount Sunapee