Archive | natural heritage

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:

 

See “Everlasting Forests, The Mount Sunapee Story” via NCTV

Now available for viewing on Newport Community Television is “Everlasting Forests, The Mount Sunapee Story.” This Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS) program tells about the rare, ancient forest and exemplary natural communities at Mount Sunapee State Park.

The Mount Sunapee story, presented at Veterans Hall in Newbury, New Hampshire, on September 4, 2019, includes a 30-minute presentation by FOMS President Steve Russell followed by audience comments and questions. View the video via NCTV.

Steve Russell, president of Friends of Mount Sunapee, presented “Everlasting Forests, The Mount Story” at Veterans Hall in Newbury, N.H., on September 4. Questions and comments from the audience followed the presentation.

The PowerPoint presentation includes historical and ecological information gathered from the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The Newbury town library and FOMS sponsored the recent event. Additionally, an informational handout produced by FOMS was made available to all attendees.

View the FOMS handout here:
“Mount Sunapee State Park’s Rare Forest” (pdf 630 kb).

For more info about Mount Sunapee’s rare forest

Check out the FOMS Natural Heritage webpage.

The Brown Memorial Library in Bradford, N.H., hosted the “Everlasting Forests” program in July. And going forward, FOMS hopes to give presentations in other area towns including Goshen and New London.

Contact FOMS if you want to get program announcements, have questions or comments, or want to support this work.

 

Sept. 4 in Newbury: Everlasting Forests, The Mount Sunapee Story

 

A presentation of Everlasting Forest, The Mount Sunapee Story will be held on Wednesday, September 4 at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Hall, 944 Route 103, Newbury, N.H. The program is open to the public free of charge.

Sponsored by the Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS) and the Newbury Library, the program will include a PowerPoint presentation by FOMS President Steve Russell with discussion to follow.

Mount Sunapee forests tell a fascinating story.

“From its beginning as the Forest Society’s first forest reservation in 1911 to its designation as the only exemplary natural community system of its type by the state of New Hampshire, the forest on Mount Sunapee is an irreplaceable part of New Hampshire’s history and natural heritage,” says Russell.

At Mount Sunapee State Park, the state identified a 484-acre exemplary natural community system that includes rare old forest. These old forests represent valuable and endangered ecological systems and are extremely rare, representing less than one-tenth of one percent of New Hampshire forests.

FOMS advocates for the protection of the exemplary, old forest on Mount Sunapee.

For additional program information, contact FOMS.

Visit the FOMS Natural Heritage page for forest information and state studies.

Vail/MSR presents annual plan for Mount Sunapee. View the discussion.

View the meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee via Newport Community TV. Click on the image or go to http://www.nctv-nh.org/.

Read the plan. Share your Mount Sunapee comments.

Read the AOP via the Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS) library of documents, Annual Operating Plan 2019-2020 (pdf 13 MB) or the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee web page.

Share your comments. Commissioner Sarah Stewart (Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) is taking written comments submitted through June 7, 2019.

Email: MountSunapeeComments@dncr.nh.gov

Or mail to:
Mount Sunapee AOP Comments
NH Division of Parks and Recreation
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
172 Pembroke Road, Concord NH 03301

To share your comments with FOMS, email: info@FriendsofMountSunapee.org

Advisory committee will meet May 29 to review Mount Sunapee annual plan

The first Annual Operating Plan (AOP) presented by Vail Resorts for the state-owned ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park is now available, and the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee will discuss the plan on May 29 in Newbury.

The MSAC meeting will be held at Veterans Hall, Newbury, starting at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend. See below.

Here is the meeting agenda.

Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort scheduled “no new major capital projects” for the coming year, according to the annual plan submitted in May to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR).

Therefore, the projects listed for the next 12 months include no expansion projects, no new construction within the current leasehold area, and no large renovations to existing buildings.

This summer, the resort will invest in maintenance on ski area infrastructure, lifts, trails, snowmaking, and buildings.

Bruce Schmidt, the general manager at Mount Sunapee Resort, will present this year’s operating plan and give a resort update at the May 29 meeting.

Read the AOP via the Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS) library of documents, Annual Operating Plan 2019-2020, (pdf 13 MB) or the Advisory Committee web page.

How to offer your Mount Sunapee comments and questions

On May 29, the public will have an opportunity to make brief (under 3 minutes) comments on the Annual Operating Plan at the end of the meeting, according to a DNCR spokesperson.

Additionally, Commissioner Stewart is accepting written comments submitted through June 7, 2019. Mail written comments to:

Mount Sunapee AOP Comments
NH Division of Parks and Recreation
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
172 Pembroke Road, Concord NH 03301

Or email: MountSunapeeComments@dncr.nh.gov

Additional Resources

Here are links to the FOMS library of documents:

If you are looking for additional information, please contact us.

Annual plan for Mount Sunapee ski area due May 15

The Annual Operating Plan (AOP) for the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park is due on or before May 15th. This will be the first annual plan submitted to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) by Vail Resorts.

May 20, 2019, update: Here is the Annual Operating Plan 2019-2020 (pdf 13 MB.

Vail acquired the Mount Sunapee ski area lease and operations in September 2018.

In the annual plan, the operator of the ski area describes maintenance and capital improvement projects proposed for the coming year. The plan also gives an update on previously approved projects and reports on past year activities, including skier visit.

Before Commissioner Sarah Stewart (of DNCR) issues a written response to the Vail, we expect the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting.

Update: The Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee will meet on Wed., May 29 at 10 a.m. at Veterans Hall, 944 Route 103, Newbury.

At that meeting, which is held in Newbury, the operator presents the plan. Advisory committee members have a chance to ask questions and provide comment. And there is usually an opportunity for public comment.

When the AOP is available, FOMS will post it to Latest News. And we will also post the advisory committee meeting date and agenda when available.

If you can assist the FOMS Public Policy Committee in reviewing the ski area plan, please contact us.

Ski area plans

See FOMS on-line library for the current annual operating plan and the public oversight policy. The oversight policy intends to guide the public process in the consideration of annual and five-year plans for the state-owned ski area.

For ski area projects approved in the current five-year master plan, see our State Park Management and Policies page. The Master Development Plan and Environmental Management Plan (2016-2020) is available here.

The public oversight policy for the ski area at Mount Sunapee State Park states:

The Annual Operating Plan (AOP) will be subject to the following standards:

•  The AOP shall allow public access to the leased premises for recreational and park activities.
•  The AOP shall be submitted on or before May 15 of each year.
•  DNCR shall require the AOP to be submitted to the Mount Sunapee Ski Area Advisory Committee and the Town of Newbury for review.
•  The AOP shall describe in detail the following:

a) Types of recreational activities available to the public
b) Ski lift operations
c) Snowmaking and grooming operations
d) Ski support services
e) Maintenance procedures
f) Security procedures
g) Emergency operating plan
h) Status of special use permits and leases
i) Marketing and advertising
j) Environmental management program
k) Signage
l) Utilities and roads
m) Implementation of MDP site improvements (after approval)

• DNCR shall notify the Operator in writing of a final schedule of operation no later than June 30th of each year.

 

 

Upcoming lectures focus on NH forests, loons, and then geology

The annual Cottrell-Baldwin Environmental Lecture Series is underway at the Caroline A. Fox Research and Demonstration Forest, 309 Center Road, Hillsborough. The upcoming lectures take place from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and are open to the public free of charge.

  • Tuesday, March 26: “The Original Forests of New Hampshire” by Charles Cogsbill, forest ecologist and co-author of “The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods”
  • Tuesday, April 2: “New Hampshire’s Loons” by Harry Vogel, senior biologist and executive director of the Loon Preservation Committee
  • Tuesday, April 9: “More than Granite…An Introduction to New Hampshire’s Geology” by Frederick “Rick” Chormann, New Hampshire state geologist

More information is available via the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests event page: From the Ground Up.

The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Forest Society and New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands.

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 published in May 2018 by New England Forests. The film answers questions about ancient forest history and 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).

Learn about Mount Sunapee’s natural heritage via our website.

Please contact FOMS if you’d like more info or would like to help us in our work.

For FOMS updates, sign up here.

Courtesy photo, Mount Sunapee State Park, 2018.

 

 

Copyright 2019 Friends of Mount Sunapee