FILM SHOWING AT FOREST SOCIETY MAY 1ST 6:OOPM
Forest Society movie night series for Concord - April-May 2023
May 1st, come for a film screening of "The Forgotten Forest Primeval - Rediscovering Mt. Sunapee’s Old Growth." A New England Forests Film by Ray Asselin.
At the Forest Society Conference Center in Concord, 54 Portsmouth St, Concord, NH 03301.
At 5:30pm join us for a Social on the deck, with the screening at 6:00 - 7:00pm. Afterward, a lively talk about old growth and NH by Chris Kane, Forest Ecologist, Steve Russell, President of Friends of Mount Sunapee and Forest Society Staff. Old Growth in N.H.
In the late 1800's, unregulated logging in the White Mountains ignited forests fires and fueled public concern that prompted creation of the White Mountain National Forest. As demand for timber brought logging to the slopes of Mt Sunapee in the early 1900's, local residents concerned by the loss of an area of primeval forest appealed the fledgling Forest Society to protect it. For a half-century, Sunapee's old-growth forest was nearly forgotten, until rediscovered in 1997 by ecologist Chris Kane. This film by Ray Asselin shares the story of of Mt Sunapee's original northern hardwood/spruce-fir old growth, portions of which are an intact primeval forest today.
Learn about the cultural and natural history of Mount Sunapee and the role the Forest Society in played in protecting Mount Sunapee – the Forest Society’s first Forest Reservation in 1911. The Sunapee Reservation of 1,185 acres eventually became the core of Mt Sunapee State Park in 1948.
Additional films will be shown every Monday in May.Forest Society movie night series for Concord - April-May 2023
Saving Special Places Coming Very Soon!
New Hampshire's Annual Land Conservation Conference
Virtual Keynote with Katharine Hayhoe
Virtual Workshop with Peter Forbes
PROSPECT MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL, 242 SUNCOOK VALLEY RD, ALTON, NH 03809
FILM SHOWING AT CANTERBURY TOWN CENTER - OCT. 19th at 6:00pm
The Film "The Forgotten Forest Primeval - Rediscovering Mt. Sunapee’s Old Growth" will be shown and afterwards a question and answer and discussion with Steve Russell, President of Friends of Mount Sunapee.
The film is part of a speaker series program sponsored by the Elkins Library and its Trustees.
FILM SHOWING AT NEWBURY VETERANS HALL JUNE 19TH 7PM
Monday June19th, 7pm THE FORGOTTEN FOREST PRIMEVAL: Rediscovering Mount Sunapee’s Old Growth
with Ray Asselin, the film’s director, and others involved with documenting the rare exemplary forest on Mount Sunapee.
At the Newbury Veterans Hall - 944 New Hampshire Rte 103, Newbury, NH 03255
Event is free and open to the public. This event is being sponsored by the Newbury Center Meeting House as part of their 2023 Speaker Series events and is in collaboration with the Newbury Public Library.
NH OLD GROWTH CONFERENCE
This event will be the 7th in a series of conferences dedicated to the study, awareness and appreciation of the original forests of the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada. Since the last conference in 2004, advancements in the understanding of the distribution, dynamics and values of these old forests have been significant and far-reaching. Hosted by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, the 2023 conference will provide an important and unique forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of numerous topics relative to the special role old forests have in today’s world. Multicultural perspectives, knowledge and wisdom will be infused throughout the conference experience. CEU credits will also be available for resource professionals. Field experiences will introduce participants to several old-growth forest sites in the area.
New Sunapee Forest Film Released
Friends of Mount Sunapee has some very exciting news to share with you. We are announcing the release of a new film focused on Mount Sunapee's Old Growth Forest. For the past several months, we have been working with documentary/educational filmmaker Ray Asselin. The focus of this collaboration is the production of a film The Forgotten Forest Primeval Re-Discovering Mount Sunapee’s Old Growth https://youtu.be/beytGX2dOR highlighting the rare, exemplary forest on Mount Sunapee as well as the early history of its protection as Forest Society’s first reservation in 1911.
Mr. Asselin has produced numerous documentaries sometimes reaching audiences in excess of a million viewers. He is a passionate advocate for Old Growth Forests and has worked in the past with terrestrial ecologist Tom Wessels and with Bob Leverett whose pioneering work on Eastern Old Growth was a catalyst in this field of study. This film features terrestrial ecologist Chris Kane who rediscovered Mount Sunapee's Old Forest in 1997 as well as Dave Anderson Forest Society's Senior Director of Education.
We hope you find the film enjoyable and informative.
National Group Joins FOMS Effort to Preserve Mount Sunapee State Park Forest
Summit Trail Mount Sunapee State Park
Good news! The effort to permanently protect Mount Sunapee’s 484 acre state documented exemplary forest just received an important endorsement from the Old Growth Forest Network. The Maryland based organization whose goal is, “to locate and designate at least one protected forest in every county in the United States that can sustain a native forest” recently penned a letter to the State urging permanent protection of Mount Sunapee’s Exemplary Natural Community System, the only forested system of its type that is exemplary in the State. (see attached letter)
OGFN joins NH Sierra Club in supporting FOMS initiative for the permanent protection of this irreplaceable NH treasure.
Date: March 23, 2021
To: Commissioner Stewart, DNCR and the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee
Dear Commissioner Stewart, DNCR and members of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee,
The Old-Growth Forest Network identifies remaining old-growth forests throughout the nation and has been operating in the Northeast since 2012. We offer the following comments on the currently submitted 5 year Master Development/Environmental Management Plan by Vail Corporation.
Our comments specifically concern section VII Forestry Management, Part B, entitled Old Growth Forest, on page 16 of the Environmental Management Plan. The projects referenced in this section of the MDP/EMP would directly impact the Exemplary Forested system on Mount Sunapee.
As documented by the State of New Hampshire’s Natural Heritage Bureau, the 484 acre Exemplary Northern Hardwood Conifer System within the leased area of Mount Sunapee State Park is the only forested system of its type that is exemplary in the state of New Hampshire. Yet, it is not mentioned in this proposed 5 year MDP/EMP. Section VII, B, Paragraph 2 references a plan to build Lift J and associated ski trail within a portion of Polygon 23 outside of the area identified as having old-growth characteristics and maintaining a 200-foot natural wooded buffer. While this plan may sound like it sufficiently protects the old-growth forest within Polygon 23, it does not. Multiple state studies have been conducted on the Exemplary Natural Community System and the mature forest surrounding and sustaining it. Both the Division of Forests and Lands and the NH Natural Heritage Bureau have concluded that any development activities within Polygon 23 would have a detrimental effect on Mount Sunapee’s old forest.
Not mentioned in Section VII, B is the planned Williamson and Porky’s trail widening, which would directly affect two areas containing old-growth forest, specifically the East Bowl of the Exemplary Natural Community System and Polygon 20.
Section VII, B, Paragraphs 3 and 4 state the Resort’s intention to expand within the West Bowl in order to avoid the East Bowl old-growth forest. While this may sound like a protective measure, the MDP/EMP fails to reference the NH National Heritage Bureau’s official findings that the proposed expansion area, Polygon D is considered statewide significant (a) because it appears to never have been logged, (b) because it contains rare, old examples of this natural community type, (c) because Polygon D is part of a larger mosaic of this old forest type on Mount Sunapee, and (d) because it is contiguous, forming the northern extent of the large forest block to the south. Instead of reporting the official NH National Heritage Bureau’s findings, Vail Corporation reported the unofficial conclusions of W.D. Countryman, commissioned by the Resort, which “did not find any areas of old-growth forest or areas with ‘old-growth characteristics’ within the West Bowl expansion area.
The Old-Growth Forest Network feels that the information contained in this MDP/EMP is both incomplete and misleading. We strongly recommend that the findings of the official state studies be included in place of the non-official reports commissioned by the Resort. We also strongly recommend that Mount Sunapee’s unique Exemplary Natural Community System be acknowledged here as the treasure it is. This information is critical to NH citizens’ understanding of the magnitude of what would be lost if Mount Sunapee’s Exemplary Natural Community System were endangered by Resort expansion.
Mount Sunapee’s state designated Exemplary Natural Community System is irreplaceable as it includes old forest representing the last remnants of original forest in the State of New Hampshire. It is the only forested system of its type designated as exemplary by the state representing the best remaining examples of New Hampshire’s biodiversity. Mount Sunapee’s exemplary forest is extremely rare, containing as much as 10% of all the known old forest in New Hampshire with trees documented at 350 yrs. Additionally, it provides exceptional wildlife habitat, attractive hiking trails, and a connection to area history.
The national Old-Growth Forest Network respectfully requests that:
1) Detailed information from the official, state-sponsored reports be cited in this EMP,
2) All previously approved projects impacting Mount Sunapee’s Exemplary Natural Community
System be withdrawn from consideration and
3) Mount Sunapee’s forested area be granted formal, permanent protective status.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Network Manager, Old-Growth Forest Network
We encourage you to write Dept. of Natural and Cultural Commissioner Sarah Stewart urging permanent protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique forest.
Send comments to :
Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources
Sarah L. Stewart, Commissioner
Latest News from FOMS
Large Maple Exemplary Forest Polygon 23
February 8, 2021
On November 5, 2020 the NH Dept. Natural and Cultural Resources held an online public hearing regarding Vail's draft 2021-2025 Master Development/Environmental Management Plan for the leased area of Mount Sunapee State Park. Currently the plan is still under review by the Commissioner of the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Friends of Mount Sunapee submitted comments focused specifically on impacts from previously approved but not yet implemented projects that would directly impact Mount Sunapee State Park's unique State Documented 484 acre exemplary forest(ENCS) . (see attached letter below)
The 484 acre forest also includes the exemplary forest in the west bowl which would be eliminated by the expansion plan submitted in 2015.
FOMS has called upon the State to work with the NH Natural Heritage Bureau (which has sole authority under NH law to designate the exemplary status of the forest) and the current lessee Vail corp. to permanently protect this irreplaceable NH state treasure.
Additionally the Newbury Town Conservation Commission submitted a letter to the State which supports the permanent protection of the 484 acre exemplary forest. This recommendation will continue to remain a priority for the Conservation Commission in the coming year. The entire forest is within the town limits of Newbury.
We encourage you to write Dept. of Natural and Cultural Commissioner Sarah Stewart urging permanent protection of Mount Sunapee State Park’s unique forest.
Send comments to :
Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources
Sarah L. Stewart, Commissioner
Lastly FOMS is currently engaged in a fundraising appeal. Thank you to all those who have responded thus far. We could not continue to maintain our organizational outreach to inform our members and the public without your help.
The Environmental Hour explores Mount Sunapee's rare old forest
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
Mount Sunapee Resort five-year plans now online
Mount Sunapee Resort's five-year Master Development Plan (MDP) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 2020-2025 are now available online. The plans, submitted to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) by Vail Resorts, are subject to a public hearing and public comment:
- Master Development Plan (MDP) 2020-2025, pages 1-55 (pdf 0.7 MB)
- MDP 2020-2025, Figures (pdf 26 MB)
- MDP 2020-2025, Appendices (pdf 5 MB)
- Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 2020-2025, pages 1-35 (pdf 12 MB)
- EMP 2020-2025, Appendices A-C (pdf 19 MB)
- EMP 2020-2025, Appendices D-F (pdf 31 MB)
Or view the plans via the NH Parks' website.
Submit comments to Mount Sunapee Comments, Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, NH 03301, or email email@example.com.
DNCR and the division of Parks and Recreation are responsible for managing Mount Sunapee State Park and overseeing the ski area lease, which encompasses approximately 1100 acres of public conservation land.
The agency's Involvement and Oversight Policy requires the ski area operator to submit master development and environmental management plans every five years.
In considering these plans, DNCR shall hold at least one public hearing in conjunction with the regional planning commission, according to the public involvement policy.
At the June 9 telemeeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission, DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart said a hearing date had not been set.
For related information see the FOMS resource pages: Mount Sunapee State Park management and policies and Mount Sunapee's natural heritage and ancient forests.
Where to view the plans?
"The plans are available for public review at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, N.H., as well as in the Towns of Newbury, Goshen, New London, Sunapee, Newport, Bradford, Sutton, and at the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission," according to NH State Parks.
However, as of this posting, FOMS is unable to confirm the local availability of the plans. We will update this post when more information is known.
Mt. Sunapee commission announces June 9 telemeeting
The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission will hold a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. This meeting will discuss operating plans for the state-owned ski area and is open to the public. There will be an opportunity for public comment.
Commissioner Sarah Stewart, Department of Natural and Cultural Resource, chairs the advisory committee.
The meeting agenda includes:
- Discussion of the Annual Operating Plan for 2020-2021 submitted by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort
- Update by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort
- Update on the Cooperative Maintenance Agreement (pdf) that pertains to the public hiking trails in the leasehold area, including the Summit Trail
- Process and planning for the next five-year development and environmental management plans (2021-2025) for the ski area
- Public comment on the annual plan
See the agenda here: MSAC Agenda 2020June9 (pdf)
The Annual Operating Plan submitted to the agency by Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort is posted on the MSAC webpage, and available here:
Mount Sunapee Annual Operating Plan 2020-2021 (pdf 1.2 MB)
Call-in info for Mount Sunapee June 9 meeting
Dial 800-356-8278 and enter the conference pin 671812. Then, state your name when asked, which enters you into the call.
If you have difficulty connecting to the conference system, you can contact NH State Parks by phone at 603-271-2976 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the FOMS resource pages for more information.
- NH State Parks and Recreation
- Prior Annual Operating Plans and Minutes
- Public Involvement and Oversight Policy for the Mount Sunapee Ski Area (pdf)
- MSAC Committee Roster (pdf)
NOTE: If you're interested in issues related to public policy and the management of our public lands at Mount Sunapee State Park, please contact us.
Newbury Fire Rescue on Mt. Sunapee hiking alternatives
This week, the Newbury Fire and Rescue Department posted on Facebook the following advisory about parking and Mount Sunapee hiking alternatives.
Hiking to Lake Solitude on Mount Sunapee can be a great adventure with a great view. However, this spring the number of hikers on the Andrew Brook trail has resulted in dangerous conditions on Newbury's Mountain Road. On some weekends, cars parked on both sides of Mountain Road have narrowed the road to one lane, making the road so narrow that the fire apparatus is not able to get through. Because of the possibility that emergency vehicles will not be able to reach the homes on Mountain Road and beyond, The Newbury Police will be restricting parking to designated areas on one side of Mountain Road in the area of the trailhead.
Hikers are advised that there is plenty of parking in the main lot at Mount Sunapee Resort for the Summit Trail and in Lot 3 for the Newbury Trail which both will take hikers to Lake Solitude as well as all of the other hiking trails on Mount Sunapee.
Please be considerate of the safety of Newbury residents and plan your hike from the trailheads at Mount Sunapee Resort/State Park
FOMS Note: Be safe. Be well. Be Local.
New Hampshire State Parks - Response to COVID-19
State of New Hampshire - Information about COVID-19
Trails & COVID-19 via Trail Finder
NH State Parks during 'Stay at Home 2.0'
On Friday, May 1, New Hampshire Governor Sununu announced: "Stay at Home 2.0" that included guidelines for the opening of State Park and private campgrounds.
NH Parks' reopening guidelines
Most importantly, let's keep ourselves well. And let's keep our communities, our parks, and natural areas healthy.
The coronavirus pandemic prevented NH Parks from conducting its usual campground preparation done in early spring.
"In the coming weeks, we will be preparing our campgrounds to open at 50 percent of normal capacity and hiring staff to operate the campgrounds," according to the State Parks' recent release. "Under Stay at Home 2.0, reservations will be limited to only New Hampshire state residents. ... We want to get up and running as quickly as possible but need to make sure we do so safely."
The state will soon announce when it will be able to accept reservations.
The division of N.H. State Parks offers camping in 23 natural settings, including at Mount Sunapee State Park. The state operates the Mount Sunapee campground, which is located outside the ski lease area, up a windy round, accessed from parking lot three.
Awaiting Mount Sunapee plans and advisory meeting
Important Update, May 19, 2020: The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission will hold a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.
The Friends of Mount Sunapee is awaiting the release of plans for the state park ski area and a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission.
- The Annual Operating Plan for Mount Sunapee Resort is due by May 15.
- The five-year Master Development Plan and Environmental Management Plan are due by June 1.
- The Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission meets June 9. See the note and update below.
For Mount Sunapee Resort, this will be Vail Resorts' second annual plan and first master and environmental plans submitted for the state-owned ski area. Vail's first operating plan (2019-2020) for Sunapee detailed maintenance projects, no new capital projects. Vail took over the ski area lease and operations in 2018.
Advisory commission meeting
Commissioner Sarah Stewart of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) has called a meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission (MSAC) for Tuesday, June 9, at 9:30 a.m.. at Veteran's Hall, Route 103, in Newbury.
Note: DNCR announced the June 9 meeting before federal and state guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic. We are looking to see if the meeting will take place as scheduled and how DNCR will provide safe public access. Consequently, FOMS will be providing updates on its website, including the commission's meeting agenda and the resort's plans, when available. See the update below.
If past practices follow, we expect Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort will provide an overview of the 2019-2020 year and preview plans for 2020-2021 at the June 9 meeting.
The five-year development and environmental plans for the ski area are subject to a lengthier public review process. The public involvement and oversight policy requires at least one public hearing.
See our Mount Sunapee State Park policies and management page for prior development plans. And please contact us if you'd like to discuss public oversight issues at Mount Sunapee State Park.
Update May 5, 2020: DNCR is working with the IT department on how it might conduct the June 9 meeting by teleconference. If this can be done effectively, New Hampshire State Parks will send a notice and instructions out to the MSAC and the email distribution list. In general, NH State Parks has postponed all other committee meetings, according to a division spokesperson.
Current COVID-19 guidelines
- N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services COVID-19 website
- N.H. State Parks, response to COVID-19
- State Parks and COVID-19, additional information and planning
In the news
Ski resorts, a virus hot spot, win reprieve in credit market (April 29, 2020) via Bloomberg
Vail Resorts offering credits for next winter at NH sites after COVID-19 cuts ski season short (April 27, 2020) via Union Leader.com
Vail Resorts was struggling, now it is in a perfect storm (April 23, 2020) via Seeking Alpha
Letter from Vail Resorts to U.S. employees on COVID-19 business impacts (April 1, 2020) via Vail Resorts
Everlasting Forests: The Mount Sunapee Story
"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
(Update: Video link changed to a YouTube channel on May 5, 2020.)
"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. ―
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.
COVID-19: Mount Sunapee closes for one week, hikers turn to the Summit Trail
Update (April 2, 2020) - Vail/Mount Sunapee Resort did not reopen for the remaining 2019-20 winter ski season after closing on March 14. Cannon Mountain closed the following week.
As we all respond to how to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ski area operators across the country have responded, as well. Vail - Mount Sunapee Resort closed Sunday for at least one week. And we saw, on Sunday, outdoor enthusiasts turning to quiet hikes of the Summit Trail.
A FOMS volunteer wrote to us about her Sunday outing, "I did not summit, but got to 2300-feet, ate my apple, and listened to a bird's very soft sweet song."
Families and solo hikers were out on the trail.
Ski area respond to COVID-19
Vail Resorts decided last Saturday, March 14, it would close for at least one week all of its North American resorts, including the state-owned ski area at Mount Sunapee. According to the company's news release, Vail was shutting down 34 resorts starting Sunday through March 22.
The other state-owned ski area, Cannon Mountain, is remaining open "with sharply curtailed services," according to its COVID-19 response:
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY (March 17th)
Under the directive of Governor Sununu, Cannon Mountain is to remain open until further notice, but with sharply curtailed services in order to reduce guest / guest and staff / guest interaction. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work hard to provide you with skiing services while trying to meet both the Governor’s directives and CDC guidelines.
Concord Monitor recently reported on ski operations around the state, some areas are staying open and have COVID-19 advisories posted on their websites.
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."
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
- Mount Sunapee State Park’s Rare Old Forest (FOMS brochure)
- Mt. Sunapee’s exemplary and ancient forests (FOMS article)
- How do you describe Mount Sunapee’s rare old forest? (FOMS article)
- Current Action
Ice, water, and watersheds
Friends of Mount Sunapee recently added a Sunapee Mountain Watersheds page to the website. Check it out! And we welcome submissions of water and watershed related articles and media for publication. For more information, see our contact page.
Water: This, that, and the other
Now available from New Hampshire Silver Jackets is the Spring Report of State Hydrology and Watershed Conditions, 2020. The report compiles information on the status of hydrology, watershed, lake, and river conditions in preparation for the spring snowmelt and runoff season in the Granite State. You can view and download the 2020 Hydrology Report via the Department of Environmental Services.
Did you know that the Sullivan County Conservation District has a demonstration stream table? It is available to teachers and organizations to loan for use in the classroom or at an event. And if you're not sure how to use the stream table, the SCCD website offers helpful links to help you out. For more info, contact SCCD Educator Dawn Dextraze.
Additionally, the Sullivan County Conservation District provides "Water Health" educational programs and projects related to water quality monitoring, nitrogen pollution reduction, and rainwater retention.
And from researcher and environmental sciences and biology teacher Susan Pike, learn about pancake, anchor, and border ice in our lakes, rivers, and streams. Susan shares her love of ice in "Nature News: The Magic of Ice" via the seacoastonline.com.
And a reminder from New Hampshire Fish & Game. Be safe when heading outdoors. See the NH F&G Ice Safety brochure.
Photos courtesy of a FOMS volunteer: Chandler Brook, as viewed from along the Beach Access Road at Mount Sunapee State Park in Newbury, N.H. (February 23, 2020).
New NH rule, if made permanent, will put endangered species at risk
Environmental organizations in New Hampshire "say a new state rule, which has support from the construction industry and could become permanent, puts endangered species at greater risk from development." See the reporting of Annie Ropeik for NHPR:
Instead of “no adverse impacts,” the new rule says only that project designs must “not jeopardize the continued existence” of a protected species, or destroy critical habitat.
For groups like the Nature Conservancy, this implied that projects could be allowed to move forward as long as they didn’t cause extinctions – which raised serious concerns.
The Nature Conservancy wrote to DES about the issue in January, along with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Appalachian Mountain Club and the state Audubon and Lakes Association - See NHPR, Enviro. Groups Say New State Rule For Developers Puts Endangered Species At Risk (February 18, 2020)
A list of threatened and endangered wildlife in New Hampshire is available via Fish and Game. Or view endangered-threatened-wildlife-nh (pdf).
More boat trailer parking coming to Mount Sunapee State Park
The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation plans to increase the number of boat trailer parking from 12 to 22 spaces at the Mount Sunapee State Park beach.
According to the NH Parks media notice, tree clearing for the project, along the Sunapee Beach Access Road will begin this winter and construction will begin in the spring.
The project worksheet and letter to the Newbury Select Board are posted on the NH Parks website:
And you will find this project on the Newbury Planning Board agenda for February 18, 2020.
VGJ: Citizens work to protect ancient forest on Mt. Sunapee
The Valley Green Journal, a 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:
- Visit the FOMS Natural Heritage page.
- View the FOMS handout “Mount Sunapee State Park’s Rare Forest.”
- Contact Friends of Mount Sunapee.
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)
- FOMS informational handout "Mount Sunapee State Park's Rare Forest" (pdf 630 kb).
- FOMS contact page to get more info or to volunteer.
Conservation and preservation: LCHIP grants in the Mt. Sunapee area
The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) is an independent state authority working to preserve New Hampshire's vital natural, cultural, and historic resources.
The 2018 LCHIP grants, announced in December, support two projects in the Mount Sunapee area: revitalization of the Goshen Grange building and land conservation along the North Branch of the Sugar River.
The Sunapee Mountain Grange #144
The Town of Goshen received $95,385 to help renovate the historic Grange Hall on Mill Village Road in the center of town. The grant will allow the Town to return the building to community use, providing needed Town and school office space.
The Sunapee Mountain Grange #144, Goshen, was listed on the N.H. State Register of Historic Places in 2003.
The structure (built-in 1853) first served as a house of worship, the Christian Chapel. Then, a Methodist denomination acquired the building (1878 - 1887) and moved it from Brook Road to its current location in the center of the "Mill Village."
In 1892, the third owner, the Sunapee Mountain Grange, took over the building.
In Goshen, as in numerous other rural New Hampshire communities, the Grange objective to create better farmers and better citizens was pursued through its regular weekly meetings in the hall. Besides providing "mutual instruction and protection," these meetings provided the central social occasions in the lives of most members. ...
From the 1890s until the conclusion of the Second World War, Goshen’s Grange Hall was at the center of the town’s economic, political, and social life. - History of the Grange Hall (pdf), authored by Goshen Historical Society members Bea Jillette and John and Mary Wirkkala.
The local Grangers ended their charter and donated the building to the Town in 2002. The Friends of the Goshen Grange has maintained the building since that time.
The restoration proposal is available for review at the Goshen Town Office. The total project cost is just over $190,000.
Conservation of Ruger land adjacent to Corbin Park
The Conservation Fund received an LCHIP grant of $200,000 to help create a 3,181-acre wildlife preserve in Croydon, Grantham, and Newport.
The North Branch Sugar River Conservation Project includes 2,400 acres of forest, 350 acres of ponds and wetlands, and miles of stream frontage, all open for public recreation including fishing and hunting.
This is a multi-faceted effort that will allow the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission to acquire the property for public use.
Before his death in 2018, Willam Ruger Jr. sold the land to the Conservation Fund, a national non-profit. Other funding, in part, comes from the Pittman-Robertson Act, which provides federal monies (derived from the sale of firearms) for the management and restoration of wildlife. Ruger served as CEO of gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co., the company co-founded by his father.
The conserved land abuts Corbin Park, a private game preserve, and runs along the North Branch of the Sugar River.
"The North Branch is a popular fly-fishing destination, heavily stocked by the state with brown, brook, and rainbow trout. The properties connect to other woodland and wetland habitat, making nearly 49,000 acres of unfragmented habitat, the largest such block south of the White Mountains," reported the Eagle Times.
The cost of the total project is about $3.5 million. N.H. Fish and Game is expected to take ownership in early 2019.
The 2018 LCHIP awards went to 42 projects across the state and they will receive $3.9 million in matching grants. Visit the LCHIP website for more information.
The photos are courtesy of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.
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).
- The New England Forests companion blog at www.neforests.com
- The story behind the making of the film via the New England Forests blog, which highlights a dilemma:
"...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.
'The primeval forest of Mount Sunapee'
Courtesy of the Eagle Times, July 28, 2018, this article by Steve Russell, president of Friends of Mount Sunapee, reports on a recent hike with conservation ecologist Chris Kane.
“Mount Sunapee contains as much as 10 percent of all the known ancient forest in New Hampshire, and the great majority south of the White Mountains.” – Chris Kane, June 30, 2018
In a walk through time into a forest never logged or otherwise affected by human endeavors, Chris Kane, conservation ecologist, led our small group of hikers last weekend into Mount Sunapee State Park’s primeval forest. Over the course of a three-and-a-half-hour journey, we hikers heard this naturalist identify and interpret the complexity of Sunapee’s ancient forests...
So, like those who were drawn to Sunapee’s rare forests over a century ago, we emerged from the forest with a new appreciation for the uniqueness of this special part of Mount Sunapee State Park and with an understanding that these forests represent the last vestige of wilderness in this region of New Hampshire: they are what make Mount Sunapee State Park unique, and we should do everything we can to ensure that they are permanently protected.
Read more via the Eagle Times, The primeval forests of Mount Sunapee
Or view The primeval forests of Mount Sunapee | Lifestyles | eagletimes.com (pdf)
The ancient forest on Mount Sunapee
- For information about Mount Sunapee natural heritage and its ancient forest, see the FOMS library of documents.
- For info about our work to protect Mount Sunapee, please contact us.
Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Supermap is now available
A new Greenway Super Map is now available from the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club. Price: $10.00. The full color map (18 x 24 in size) includes all trail highlights of the Greenway, from Mount Monadnock to Pitcher Mountain on side one, and Pitcher Mountain to Mount Sunapee on the other side. All feeder trails on Mount Monadnock, Mount Sunapee and in Pillsbury State Park are included, as are section mileages, shelter locations, trail history, water source locations, GPS coordinates for all points of interest, and more.
For ordering information, visit the trail club website store at www.msgtc.org/store
The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club (MSGTC) is a non-profit organization that formed in 1994. It's mission includes trail maintenance efforts along the 48-mile hiking trail and to provide support for their volunteers and trail adopters, and to promote awareness of the natural beauty of The Greenway.
Soar over Mount Sunapee via "To Be A Bird"
Enjoy stunning, soaring views over New Hampshire via "To Be A Bird." This video by Kris Roller captures the autumn landscape and precious mountain and watershed lands ... including Mount Sunapee. At 20 seconds, you'll find yourself flying over Mount Sunapee and taking in breathtaking views of Lake Solitude and beyond. Take flight via ---