National group urges NH to “protect this forest from all threats”

December 26, 2014

Commissioner Jeffrey Rose
NH Department of Resources and Economic Development 172 Pembroke Road
P.O. Box 1856
Concord, NH 03302-1856

Dear Commissioner Rose,

The Old-Growth Forest Network is a national organization dedicated to speaking out to preserve ancient forests. We are the only national organization dedicated exclusively to this goal.

We have recently become aware of new threats to the special forest on Mount Sunapee. Please read the summary below from the publication “Old-Growth in the East: A Survey.” This forest is of national concern – being one of the few old growth or near old growth stands left in the eastern US.

I understand that you are reviewing the proposed Master Development Plan for Mount Sunapee. I encourage you to protect this forest from all threats – just as those in early 1900s protected it so we may enjoy it today.

For the Forests,
Joan Maloof, Ph. D.
Founder and Executive Director

Mount Sunapee State Park

Maple/White Ash/basswood dominated inclusions on the upper slopes north and east of Mount Sunapee’s ridge line. Ski trails now bisect portions of the forest, one notable exception being the 175-acre East Bowl composed of Yellow Birch/Sugar Maple with super-canopy Red Spruce. Red Spruce have been aged to 254 years; and Yellow Birch to 288 years. The ridge-line forest of Red Spruce/Balsam Fir has never been cut, according to Chris Kane, who rediscovered the site in 1997 and furnished the preceding description (Kane 2002). The New Hampshire Natural Heritage visited Mount Sunapee in the fall of 2002 to gather data in order to determine whether the forest is actually old growth. Dan Sperduto tells us that the staff found “older growth” there, and, in June 2003, was in the process of comparing it to other sites in the state in preparation for issuing a report (Sperduto 2003). Philip Ayres in his 1915 Manual of Mount Sunapee, published by the Sunapee branch of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, relates that conservationists prevented the logging of the forest in the early 1900s. The Society acquired much of the land and deeded it to the state in the 1950s (Kane 2002). In 1999 the state of New Hampshire leased a ski area on the mountain, previously managed by the state, to a private company. Concerned citizens created a Mount Sunapee Preservation Committee to monitor the lease, including any impact on potential old growth near the ski area (Crabtree 1999).

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