Thousands of acres in White Mountains conserved for wildlife habitat, recreation, forest economy
The N.H. Division of Forests and Lands and The Conservation Fund have announced the completion of a multi-year effort to protect 6,395 acres of forestland and aquatic resources within the Beebe River watershed in central New Hampshire.
Named the Beebe River and Spencer Brook Forest Legacy Conservation Easements, the newly conserved contiguous land shares a 6.5-mile boundary with the White Mountain National Forest just north of Squam Lake.
The Division of Forests and Lands will hold conservation easements on the property, which will remain privately owned and sustainably managed to support timber products and protect wildlife habitat and water resources.
The property will also continue to provide access to 15 miles of recreational trails that link to an additional 150 miles of statewide trail systems, guaranteeing public pedestrian access for hunting, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling on designated trails.
“This tract serves as a critical part of the Beebe River Watershed complemented by the White Mountain National Forest to the north and Squam Mountains to the south,” said State Forester Patrick Hackley, director of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands. “We are pleased to have a role in conserving this special property and the many values it provides.”
The Conservation Fund, a national environmental nonprofit, purchased the land through its Working Forest Fund with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Federal funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, along with private support from the Squam Lakes Conservation Society and from other local and public partners also made finalizing the purchase and establishing the easement possible.
New Hampshire’s U.S. Congressional delegation representing Grafton and Carroll counties – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas – supported the use of federal funding for this project.
“Thanks to these efforts and the generous support from local and public partners, especially from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Squam Lake Conservation Society and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, people and wildlife will be able to enjoy this important landscape for many years to come,” said Sally Manikian, the Conservation Fund’s New Hampshire and Vermont representative.
“It’s an extraordinary accomplishment to achieve both conservation and restoration goals, while improving the health and vitality of a forested watershed for wildlife, climate resilience and nearby communities,” she added. “The fate of this land has finally been confirmed, and it will continue to be managed as a working forest—ensuring jobs and revenue will stay in the region.”
In addition to providing aquatic habitat for wild brook trout – which are one of New Hampshire’s species of greatest conservation need – the parcel has a deep history in the timber industry, including providing spruce for the construction of World War I airplanes.
About the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands
The Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the values provided by trees, forests, and natural communities. Our work is accomplished through responsible management of the state’s forested resources; by providing forest resource information and education to the public; and through the protection of these resources for the continuing benefit of the state’s citizens, visitors, and forest industry. For more information visit us at nh.gov/nhdfl.