For Immediate Release
Posted: April 16, 2024


Shelly Angers, NH Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136 |

State responds to Connecticut Lakes Realty Trust Updated Stewardship Plan

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) Commissioner Sarah L. Stewart announces that the State has officially responded, within the required 90-days, to the proposed 2023-2032 Connecticut Lakes Realty Trust (Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest) Updated Stewardship Plan submitted by Aurora Sustainable Lands, LLC.

DNCR reviewed the plan and is not approving it for multiple reasons at this time. The primary reason is that the decreased timber harvest and increased focus on harvesting carbon credits violates the purposes of the property’s Conservation Easement, which are to ensure that the approximately 146,000 acres of land in New Hampshire’s North Country, known as the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest, largely remains an undeveloped productive working forest.

“Responsible forestry plays a large part in New Hampshire’s long and proud tradition of environmental stewardship,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “As proposed, the plan would have detrimental impacts on sustaining traditional forest use, conservation of wildlife habitats, and take a serious economic toll on the North Country. In rejecting this plan, New Hampshire is protecting our treasured outdoors and its traditional use for future generations of Granite Staters.”

“Aurora’s plan is to extract maximum value from this property without maintaining the promise of economic benefit to the local community,” said Commissioner Stewart. “Perhaps one can try and argue that carbon credits are simply a different type of forest product… the difference is that the fee owner is the sole financial benefactor. Extracting value for itself is very different than maintaining economic opportunity for the greater community that has been protected by the easement with the agreement of continued timber harvesting at a level we have seen throughout the history of the property.” 

The State remains open to negotiation regarding the necessary adjustments to the proposed plan that would allow the property to remain both an economically viable and sustainable working forest that allows Aurora to capitalize on carbon credit revenue while also providing economic stability to the local citizens and regional partners relying on timber harvested from the property. To that end, the State looks forward to working with Aurora to reach this goal.

The State purchased a Conservation Easement on the property in 2002. It is the largest privately owned forested property in the State and has been managed by industrial foresters for at least 50 years before the Easement was granted. It is largely undeveloped, productive, working forest which also provides public access for recreation and conserves ecologically sensitive areas. The easement was put in place to preserve the forest and ensure that traditional timber harvesting, which supports the surrounding local economies, continues while simultaneously ensuring public access to the property for year-round recreation.


DNCR response letter
Attachment A