Archive | natural heritage

Webinar celebrates Earth Day and NH rare forest

Celebrate Earth Day 2020 with us!

Friends of Moun Sunapee joins the New Hampshire Sierra Club hoping that you are safe and healthy as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In our effort to encourage you to take care and follow the necessary precautions, FOMS and N.H. Sierra Club will offer a live online webinar to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Join us from your home computer or tablet on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., for “Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story.”

The free webinar will highlight the rare, ancient, and complex forest at Mount Sunapee State Park. A discussion will follow the presentation.

After you sign up, you will receive background information that you can review at your convenience. And closer to Earth Day, you will get another email with a link to the live event.

Register today via Sierra Club events.

 

“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.

PBS Brief But Spectacular take on environmental literacy and old growth

Check out this Brief But Spectacular take aired on PBS. Naturalist John Bates speaks about the purpose of his work, to foster “environmental literacy” by “connecting time through old-growth forests.”

And here is related information about John Bates and old growth, including the exemplary and ancient forest on Mount Sunapee.

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

Film showing: “The Lost Forests of New England”

A film showing of “The Lost Forests of New England” will be held Thursday, January 30, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, in the Putnam Theater at Keene State College.

Courtesy of the co-sponsors, the Harris Center for Conservation Education, the Monadnock Conservancy, and the Keene State College Film Society, we share the program announcement below.

An old-growth hemlock stand. (photo © Ray Asselin / New England Forests)

This homegrown documentary tells the story of central New England’s old-growth forests through drone and wildlife camera footage, as well as field interviews with Tom Wessels, David Foster, and other renowned ecologists. Learn how our forests have changed over time, and how to recognize remnant old-growth stands today. After the film, Tom Wessels, filmmaker Ray Asselin, and Bob Leverett of the Native Tree Society will be on hand for questions.

Please visit the Harris Center website for more information.  https://harriscenter.org/events/film-showing-the-lost-forests-of-new-england

NOTE: Mount Sunapee State Park contains primeval forest, first documented in the Manual of Mount Sunapee in 1915. Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s “exemplary” and old forests is a priority for the Friends of Mount Sunapee. The film “The Lost Forests of New England” further informs and inspires our work.

 

VGJ: Citizens work to protect ancient forest on Mt. Sunapee

View “Citizens Working to Save Ancient Forest on Mt. Sunapee” via the Valley Green Journal website at www.valleygreenjournal.com or click on the image above.

The Valley Green Journala local independent grassroots newsletter, recently published an article about the work that Friends of Mount Sunapee is doing to preserve the ancient forest on the mountain. 

The article is in the Journal’s December 2019 – January 2020 issue. View or download it via the VGJ website at www.valleygreenjournal.com.

The Journal, based in the southern Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire, is published by Jan Lambert and Carmen Bywater. Lambert and Bywater are currently assisting FOMS with outreach and in updating a brochure. 

For more information:

 

Eagle Times: Sunapee group seeks protection of old growth

The Friends of Mount Sunapee continues its work on conservation, natural resource protection, education, and advocacy. Our current focus includes outreach regarding the rare ancient forest in Mount Sunapee State Park.

The enduring forest on Mount Sunapee

We invite you to read a recent article via the Eagle Times: “Sunapee group seeks protection for old growth,” Oct. 4, 2019.

Or get the story via FOMS website: Sunapee group seeks protection for old-growth forest | News | eagletimes.com. (pdf 96kb)

Check out:

 

DNCR announces Sunapee lease transfer and amendments

Read FOMS latest Enews

The state-owned ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park recently took another significant turn.

Commissioner Sarah Stewart of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) consented to a lease transfer request that allows industry giant Vail Resorts to take over the lease and operations of the Mount Sunapee ski area.

Proposed lease amendments accompanied the announcement and will go to the Governor and the Executive Council this month.

The commissioner delivered the decision at a public meeting at the park on September 26. View the meeting and lease amendment discussion via Newport Community TV Online.

DNCR proposed lease revisions to:

  1. Extend to Vail Resorts the 2016 lease amendment that enables resort development of the West Bowl.
  2. Add a “change in control provision.”
  3. Reference an advisory commission.

Read more…

 

 

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 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.

Film tells of lost ancient forests of New England

Mount Sunapee State Park contains primeval forest, first documented in the Manual of Mount Sunapee in 1915 and rediscovered in 1997 by conservation ecologist Chris Kane. Permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s “exemplary” and ancient forests is a priority for the Friends of Mount Sunapee. The film The Lost Forests of New England” further informs and inspires our work.

Forest film informs and inspires

What is an ancient or old-growth forest? What do they look like? Why are they important?

“The Lost Forests of New England – Eastern Old Growth,” is a one-hour film released in May 2018 by New England Forests. The film answers questions about ancient forest history, science, and more! It tells of the old-growth forests of New England: “what they once were, what changes have taken place across central New England since European settlers arrived, and what our remnant old-growth stands look like today.”

The film features presentations by David Foster, David Orwig, Neil Pederson (Harvard Forest) Tony D’Amato (University of Vermont) Tom Wessels (Antioch University New England) Peter Dunwiddie (University of Washington) Bob Leverett (Native Tree Society) Joan Maloof (Old Growth Forest Network).

Recommended reading

“…these ancient forests are small fragments of what once was, and as such are vulnerable to loss from ignorance of their value and ecological import… To be protected, their existence must be known to those who would care enough about them to be vigilant (that would be you). But the other side of that coin is that sometimes, attention by too many well-meaning enthusiasts results in a place succumbing to “too much love”. That put us in a tight spot… we wanted to see these remnants protected forever, but not at the cost of losing them to heavy traffic!”

Mount Sunapee’s exemplary forest

Friends of Mount Sunapee, following over a century of preservation efforts on the mountain, advocates for the protection of the state park’s natural heritage for current and future generations.

FOMS seeks protection of its large forest ecosystems including ancient forests within the Exemplary Natural Community Systems (ENCS).

See our Natural Heritage page for more information.

Courtesy photo, Mount Sunapee State Park, 2018.

 

 

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