Archive | old-growth forest

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.

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.

 

 

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…

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, part of his campaign “to save Mount Sunapee for all people to all time,” 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.

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:

1909 – 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.

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…

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