Archive | Land Protection

DNCR to announce Mount Sunapee lease decision at Sept. 26 meeting

Special Alert: Mount Sunapee State Park Public Information Session – Wednesday, September 26 (6 pm) at Mount Sunapee State Park (Sunapee Lodge), Route 103, Newbury, N.H.

New Hampshire DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart (Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) will announce her decision on the Mount Sunapee ski area lease assignment to Vail Resorts at a public meeting on Wed., Sept. 26, 2018.

We encourage the public to attend this important meeting. There will be an opportunity for public comment and questions.

Per the DNCR release: “The Department has received a request to consent to the assignment of the lease to The Sunapee Difference, LLC, which will be indirectly owned by VR NE Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. (“Vail”). After careful consideration of public comments and working with the Attorney General’s Office, Commissioner Sarah Stewart will release the decision on the proposed transfer and details related to the decision.”

DNCR will post the decision and related documents on its website after announcing its decision on September 26.

NH State Parks posted on Monday additional materials about the potential lease assignment. We’ve added these documents to FOMS website:

Background
In June 2018, Vail Resorts announced that it was seeking to acquire the ski area lease and operations at Mount Sunapee.

The September 26 meeting will be the second information session in two months on the Triple Peaks sale to Vail Resorts. On July 25, Commissioner Stewart and N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald hosted a session that included remarks by Tim and Diane Mueller (current operator/Triple Peaks), a presentation by Vail representatives, and public comment.

View the July 2018 Mount Sunapee State Park information session via Newport Community TV.

FOMS advocates for diligent and transparent management of the state-owned ski area. We seek public policy and process decisions that restore public trust and honor the original intent of leasing a significant portion of our iconic state park to a private operator.

“New Hampshire citizens look to the State to exercise vigorous oversight and defend the public trust, no matter the operator or leaseholder at Mount Sunapee State Park. We also look to lessees at the park for leadership and operational and development plans that reflect local concerns and interests and respect our state park’s public values and the RSAs that protect our parks and natural heritage.” – Friends of Mount Sunapee, at the July 25 Mount Sunapee State Park Information Session.

FOMS Mount Sunapee submitted comments called for:

  • A “public hearing” to review the lease transfer request
  • Immediate formation of an Oversight and Administration Commission to manage the lease
  • An independent financial and operational audit of lessees to ensure lease compliance
  • Protection of the 484-acre exemplary forest within the State Park
  • Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s western slopes from resort development, land conservation that respects the original leasehold area.
  • Compliance with signage and advertising requirements to indicate state (public) ownership of the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park.

See FOMS comments, August 6, 2018.

See Vail’s June 4, 2018, announcement.

Join us on Wed., Sept. 26 at Mount Sunapee State Park
The upcoming public info session will help give insight into the potential changes coming to the ski area and Mount Sunapee State Park and possible future impacts to our local communities and region.

Birds of Wendell Marsh South slideshow and hike on Aug. 30

Birds of Wendell Marsh South, a slideshow and hike led by Steve Hale of Open Word Explorers, will be held on Thursday, August 30, in Sunapee. The presentation starts at 5:30 pm at the Abbott Library. A hike of Wendell Marsh South follows at 7:00 pm. The program sponsors are the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust and Abbott Library. For sign up information, visit Abbott Library. RSVP by August 28.

Land protection: Wendell Marsh in Sunapee

The protection of the Wendell Marsh area in Sunapee has been a focus of the conservation efforts for many years. Earlier this summer (June 2018), the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust announced that 40 acres of undeveloped land, which includes a significant portion of the marsh habitat, had been preserved.

NH Fish and Game began the conservation efforts in this area in the 1960’s. They protected the 10-acre Wendell Marsh Wildlife Area, identified as a high priority for conservation by the Town of Sunapee due to its pristine wetland habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, and other wildlife, as well as for water quality protection.

In 2013 Ausbon Sargent partnered with the Town of Sunapee’s Conservation Commission to protect 136 acres (Wendell Marsh North) followed, in 2015, with an additional 143 acres (Wendell Marsh South.) Read more…

 

FOMS comments on Mount Sunapee lease change

Mount Sunapee Comments are due today, by 4 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018, to DNCR on the lease change proposal at Mount Sunapee State Park. Email: MountSunapeeComments@dncr.nh.gov

The Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources received from Friends of Mount Sunapee comments that include a call for:

  • A Public Hearing
  • An Oversight and Administration Commission to manage the ski area lease
  • Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s natural heritage and western slopes from resort development, land conservation that respects the intent of the original lease and leasehold area

Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS), following over a century of preservation efforts for the mountain, advocates for the protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique natural heritage for current and future generations. We seek protection of its large forest ecosystems including ancient forests within the Exemplary Natural Community Systems (ENCS)… Read FOMS Mount Sunapee comments 2018Aug6

FOMS Summary of Positions July 10, 2018

Saving Special Places conference to be held April 7 in Alton

Saving Special Places, New Hampshire’s annual land conservation conference will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton. This year’s conference will offer 30 workshops. Topics will include conservation planning; farmland conservation; wildlife habitats and species; legal issues; “creative ways to connect,” and more. Additionally, the event provides networking opportunities with colleagues and practitioners in land conservation. For more information, go to savingspecialplaces.org.

Andrew Brook Trailhead Update

A popular destination in winter as well as warmer seasons, Lake Solitude is the reward of a two-mile ascent up the Andrew Brook Trail. Access to the trail is now protected by the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. Photo by John Welch/johnwelchphoto.com.

A popular destination in winter as well as warmer seasons, Lake Solitude is the reward of a two-mile ascent up the Andrew Brook Trail. Access to the trail is now protected by the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. Photo by John Welch/johnwelchphoto.com.

Members of the hiking community around Mount Sunapee put their enthusiasm for a popular trail to Lake Solitude to work and quickly helped the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests (Forest Society) raise funds to conserve the property where the trail begins.

The Forest Society purchased the 33-acre trailhead property, off Mountain Road in Newbury, in order to protect access to the Andrew Brook Trail, said Jane Difley, the Forest Society’s president/forester.

“So many people who love this trail assumed that the trailhead was part of  Mount Sunapee State Park, but in fact it was privately owned and therefore vulnerable when it came up for sale,” Difley said. “Now that the Forest Society owns it, public access is protected, and we want to thank the fans of this trail for helping to secure it.”

The Andrew Brook Trail is a 2-mile ascent up Andrew Brook on the eastern side of Mt. Sunapee to Lake Solitude, a pristine pond surrounded by conifers. It then meets up with other trails leading to the scenic White Ledges area and to Mount  Sunapee’s peak. Read more…

 

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

winter hiker smaller CDeegan IMG_1868

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.

AndrewBrook_MailingMapv5-1

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.

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.

Copyright 2018 Friends of Mount Sunapee