Archive | old-growth forest

Resistance Radio talks old forest ecology and protection

Resistance Radio recently aired an interview with Joan Maloof, an old-growth advocate. During the discussion, Maloof relates personal stories as she teaches about forest ecology, the importance of preserving old forests, and the work of the Old-Growth Forest Network. We share that interview here. And to learn about the rare old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park, see the links below.

“Joan Maloof, Professor Emeritus of biology and environmental studies at Salisbury University, founded the Old-Growth Forest Network to preserve, protect and promote the country’s few remaining stands of old-growth forest. She spends her time lecturing, writing, visiting forests, assisting private landowners, and supporting local groups trying to protect community forests from development. She is the author of four books about trees and forests.” – Resistance Radio, May 24, 2020

Related links

Voices & Views

The Environmental Hour explores Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest

Photo courtesy of Lisa Coté, host of The Environmental Hour on Portsmouth, N.H., community radio WSCA. Images from a June 2020 hike at Mount Sunapee State Park.

The Environmental Hour on Portsmouth, New Hampshire, community radio WSCA 106.1 FM recently explored the exemplary and old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park with Steve Russell, president of the Friends of Mount Sunapee. The state-documented 484-acre exemplary natural community system in the Park includes enduring, rare old-growth surrounded by mature forest.

“When I learned about this (old forest on Mount Sunapee) … I said I wanna go, I want to see what this is, I want to learn more about this,” said Lisa Coté, host of The Environmental Hour

Coté is a certified hydrogeologist as well as an avid hiker, skier, and environmentalist. She learned of the rare forest on Sunapee from listening to the Earth Day 2020 webinar hosted by the New Hampshire Sierra Club and the Friends of Mount Sunapee. After contacting FOMS and arranging for a hike through the old forest, Coté interviewed Russell on-air.

“What follows is an audio journey through the forest and the past and current efforts to preserve Mount Sunapee’s amazing forest,” says Russell.

Audio from WSCA The Environmental Hour, June 19, 2020

 

Related FOMS articles and resources

Old-Growth Forest Network: The Healthiest Forest

Created by the Old-Growth Forest Network, this film “takes you on a 4-minute journey that represents 300 years in the life of a forest. See how structure and biodiversity recover naturally, and how continued management like thinning and harvesting interferes with recovery.”

Related news articles

OGFN related articles

About the old forest in Mount Sunapee State Park (FOMS resource page)

Voices & Views

Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story

Everlasting forests, Mount Sunapee State Park“Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story”—a Friends of Mount Sunapee presentation—is now available online.

View (via YouTube: “Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story” 26-minutes).

New Hampshire’s unique natural heritage includes the rare forest on Mount Sunapee, located on public land. A FOMS PowerPoint program—”Everlasting Forests”—tells this under-told story. It is about citizen activism, protection of Mount Sunapee in the early 1900s, and on-going efforts to preserve the exemplary old forest at Mount Sunapee State Park.

Sharing the Mount Sunapee story

In an Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2020, the Friends of Mount Sunapee and the New Hampshire Sierra Club teamed up in a live webinar that included a showing of “Everlasting Forests.” Sierra Club Executive Director Cathy Corkery and Chapter Chair Jerry Curran led the online event with FOMS President Steve Russell. The program included attendee questions.

The Friends of Mount Sunapee welcomes opportunities to share the Mount Sunapee story.

In addition to the video, check out our Natural Heritage page and brochure Mount Sunapee State Park’s Rare Old Forest (pdf 5 MB).

Click below to view “Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story.”

See FOMS Current Action

In Mount Sunapee State Park is an exemplary natural community system that encompasses a rare old forest. This forest is an irreplaceable part of New Hampshire’s natural and cultural heritage, which deserves and requires permanent protection. See how you can help: See Current Action.

(Update: Video link changed to a YouTube channel on May 5, 2020.)

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:

 

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.

 

 

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

Polygon D 2014OctQ. – The manager of Okemo/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:

1) New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau (NHB) identified and documented the existence of exemplary forest communities directly in the path of the proposed expansion.

2) Because of this designation, these forests are protected under state law (Native Plant Protection Act RSA 217- A:7).

Profile sketch of reservation

See the description below.

3) These forests do contain large, magnificent, old trees. Some of the older trees within the mosaic of exemplary forest communities on Mount Sunapee have been found to be over 250 years of age. These ancient trees are part of an ecological community, a complex interplay of plants (both living and dead), animals (including microscopic organisms), fungi, and soils that are not found in other, far more common forests that have been historically managed (i.e. logged) by humans. These unmanaged areas are the last remnants of the primeval forests that covered much of this area prior to European settlement.

4) The forests on Mount Sunapee are living laboratories, valuable to forest scientists, for educational purposes, and for simple enjoyment by the public. And, they occur in Mount Sunapee State Park, land protected many years ago and held in the public trust.

5) The first priority of Hamsphire Parks according to state law (RSA 216-A:1) is “To protect and preserve unusual scenic, scientific, historical, recreational, and natural areas of the state.”

What better fits that mandate than these beautiful exemplary forest communities?

Figure 1 (above), included in the NHB study (1999) “Old Forests and Rare Plants at the Mount Sunapee Ski Lease Area,” illustrates the reservation’s forest history on Mount Sunapee.

The reports states: “The original purchase of 656 acres in 1911 by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests was initiated to protect land from extensive logging which started in 1906 (Ayres19150). By 1934, SPNHF owned 1,185 acres, including cut-over and old-growth forests. In 1948, the state took ownership of the mountain and opened the Mount Sunapee State Park with a ski area on the north face of the mountain (MacAskill 1981).” – NH Natural Heritage Bureau (1999)

Herbert Welsh: Protect Mount Sunapee for All People

Hebert Welsh

Herbert Welsh (1851-1941), the walking crusader and father of land conservation on Mount Sunapee. (Photo from “The New Gentleman of the Road” – copyright 1921.)

Herbert Welsh: “Save Mount Sunapee for all people to all time!”

Herbert Welsh (1851-1941) was a political reformist, an artist, humanitarian, Indian Rights activist, and, in many ways, the father of land conservation on Mount Sunapee.

In the early 1900s, Welsh led the effort to protect land on Mount Sunapee for public use. At the time, from 1906-1909, extensive clear-cut logging was underway on the mountain’s north face.

“It seemed clear to Welsh and many of his [Sunapee] neighbors that the beauty of Mt. Sunapee was being ruined and its primeval forest and rare plants were in danger of disappearing… He was determined to put a stop to the destruction.” – SooNipi Magazine, Summer 2004 – Download/read: Herbert Welsh, SooNipi 2004 (pdf 492KB) – “Herbert Welsh: Walking Crusader” by Shelly Candidus

The unspoiled natural environmental inspired and moved Welsh into action.

It was earlier, in 1909, while summering in Sunapee, Welsh became alarmed about what was happening on Mount Sunapee. Paper companies controlled a greater part of the mountain, and they were clear-cutting and harvesting lumber, leaving a growing bald spot pocked by stumps and slash — destruction that Welsh could observe from his lakeside home. Further cutting that would leave the mountain bare.

Welsh went into action. Welsh’s first effort raised $8,000 and with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests purchased from the paper companies 656 acres of land and timber rights on Mount Sunapee’s northern slopes, including the summit and Lake Solitude.

Welsh spoke about his passion for protecting the mountain’s natural environment in his writings, including the “Redemption of Mount Sunapee,” which he penned while at his Sunapee home.

Welsh aspired “to save Mount Sunapee for all people to all time.”

The 1911 purchase on Mount Sunapee marked the Society’s first reservation. The campaign to protect Mount Sunapee continued with the acquisition of more conservation land, land to be open to all people for outdoor “recreation and health.” From 1922 to 1937, the Society purchased several more parcels on the mountain. In 1948 after acquiring 1,116 acres on Mount Sunapee, the Society transferred their holdings to the state of New Hampshire for a state park.

Welsh served the Society as a Vice-President At Large and as President of the Sunapee Chapter from its formation in 1912 to at least 1934.

If we saved Mount Sunapee we would indeed be doing this, but we would also be doing something higher and nobler than acting for our own protection; we would be helping to affect our part of the great national work of forest conservation. — Herbert Welsh in “Redemption of Mount Sunapee”

Timeline:

From 1909 to 1911 – Herbert Welsh leads a successful educational and fundraising campaign to protect Mount Sunapee after he discovers large paper companies intend to clear the mountain’s steep slopes and peak. He enlists the help of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

1911 – The Forest Society acquires 656 acres on Mount Sunapee, the Society’s first reservation, which is followed by additional purchases.

1915 – The Society’s Sunapee Chapter, under Welsh’s leadership, publishes “The Manual of Mount Sunapee.” It details the mountain’s geological history, flora, birds, and ferns.

The 1930s – The Newport Ski Club cuts alpine trails on Mount Sunapee.

1948 – The Forest Society transfers 1,116 acres on Mount Sunapee to the state of New Hampshire, and in December, the Mount Sunapee Ski Area opens at Mount Sunapee State Park.

 

 

A forest treasure by Christopher Kane

This week conservation ecologist Christopher Kane passionately spoke out about protecting the old-growth forest on Mount Sunapee in a letter published in the Concord Monitor (Dec. 16, 2014). Chris Kane has been studying the older forest areas on Mount Sunapee on and off since 1997.

Old growth forest cannot be created. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I strongly urge any and all decision-makers who have a role in the upcoming decision to grant a ski lease expansion at Mount Sunapee to deny this request for the broader benefit of the citizens of New Hampshire.  Read more…

 

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