Letter: A Forest Treasure by Christopher Kane

Polygon D 2014Oct

“Stag-headed yellow birch”

FOMS addition to this post: Photo of “stag-headed yellow birch” from NH Heritage Bureau evaluation (2004) of ski area expansion area.


Concord Monitor – December 16, 2014

One hundred years ago, an ancient forest was saved from logging by a small group of concerned citizens who wanted to preserve it for future generations. With almost all other ancient forests long since logged, this was one of the very last vestiges of natural forest in New Hampshire still intact since the last ice age.

The forest land was subsequently granted to the state of New Hampshire, and half a century after its preservation, ski trails were carved though portions of it. However, much of this ancient forest – that has never seen an ax or chainsaw and with trees more than 300 years old – persists to this day. This miraculous survivor of 20th century growth is not in a remote unpopulated region, but in Merrimack County, on public land, in Sunapee State Park.

This is the most significant forest of its kind in New Hampshire south of the White Mountains. But it is once again threatened, this time by a private company that intends to destroy much of this forest for an expansion of its commercial ski operation, and to facilitate private real estate development. This cannot be allowed to happen.

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.

CHRISTOPHER KANE

FOMS note: Christopher Kane, when interning for N.H. Forest and Lands, re-discovered Mount Sunapee’s ancient forest. Chris has been exploring and documenting the older forest stands at Mount Sunapee State Park on and off since 1997.  See the following NH  Natural Heritage Bureau reports for more information:

Old Forests and Rare Plants at the Mount Sunapee Ski Lease Area (1999) (PDF 4.8MB)

Natural Heritage Inventory of the East Bowl at Mount Sunapee State Park 2003(PDF 3.3mb)

Evaluation of proposed ski lease area expansion on Mt Sunapee – 2004 (PDF 4 MB)

Addendum to the 2004 Report of Mt. Sunapee State Park – 2015 January (PDF 1MB)

Read related article:

Forest Society letter to DRED addresses Mount Sunapee expansion – (Feb. 2015)

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