Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Switching Over

Hi UVLT blog followers,

Our new website enables us to post blog entries within the site, so we will be transitioning away from this blog. Please find information about recent conservation projects and events at Please let us know if you have any constructive criticism regarding the new site by emailing

Thank you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Web Update

Our new website is up! Please check it out:

Please send any feedback to

Thank you so much for you patience & we hope to see you on Tuesday at 7pm in Bradford.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Celebrate Land Conservation on May 25!

How will land conservation shape the future of the Upper Valley? What opportunities and values does open space provide for the next generation? And how do local conservation achievements relate to larger environmental and economic trends?

Join us at the Bradford Academy for the annual meeting of The Upper Valley Land Trust next Tuesday, May 25 at 7pm. Our guest will be 26-year-old Jared Duval, an Upper Valley native and a fellow at Demos, the author of “Next Generation Democracy,” a trustee of the Orton Family Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club, and the former National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition, the largest student environmental organization in America. Jared’s roots are here and his vision is wide. He brings a unique perspective to help us envision our next generation of work both in terms of immediate civic impact and in a global context.

Jared will offer his thoughts about what makes the region special, while discussing some challenges and opportunities faced by UVLT and other environmental organizations. The meeting portion of the event will also feature a slide show depicting this year's conservation successes, and an award presentation honoring volunteerism.

We are thrilled to gather in Bradford for this celebration and hope this event will focus regional attention on the incredible accomplishments of Bradford’s Conservation Commission and its strong partnership with residents, businesses and students.

To encourage low-carbon commuting, we’ve organized an “Express Dinner Bus” leaving from Hanover/Lebanon at 6 pm. For $12 per person, you can enjoy camaraderie with UVLT staff and Trustees, a sandwich dinner from Stella’s Kitchen, great views and stories of the many conserved properties we’ll pass on our way. Bus riders will also be entered into a drawing to win gift certificates from the Canoe Club and the Upper Valley Food Co-op.

Sign up for the bus and learn more about pre-meeting hikes, a tour of Farmway’s solar panels or a special pre-meeting menu at the Perfect Pear restaurant in Bradford by calling Nora at (603) 643-6626 ext. 102 or emailing

Jeanie McIntyre, President
Upper Valley Land Trust

Monday, May 17, 2010

Website Update

Greetings UVLT friends and supporters!

We are in the process of switching over to a redesigned website. If you have any problems getting to during the course of the next couple of days, please bear with us. We will send out another notice letting you know when the new (and improved) site is up!

Thank you for your patience.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dedication Ceremony at the Nathaniel & Ina Thurber Memorial Forest

Join us in Unity, NH on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:30pm!

The Upper Valley Land Trust, the Town of Unity, and Laura & Walter Ryan and family welcome the community to join us as we celebrate and dedicate the recently conserved Nathaniel & Ina Thurber Memorial Forest in Unity, NH. The Upper Valley Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the property that was recently gifted to the town by the Ryans in honor of Laura’s parents. The Conservation Commission plans to maintain recreational trails that traverse the property for the public’s enjoyment and will be developing a forest management plan to guide future forestry activities. Please join us and see what a great resource this is! For more information about the conservation of this forest, please see our previous post:

Join us at 2:30pm at the parking area and trailhead off Lear Hill Road. We will take a leisurely walk to the hilltop to enjoy the beautiful views. Following the hike, the Ryans will host a reception at their home in Newport to celebrate this special place.

Directions to the Forest:

Directions from the Forest to the Ryans' home: port:NH:03773-1432:US:43.370134:-72.175729:address::1:::/io:1:::::f:en_US:M:98373152,98373224:/bl:/e

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Save the Date!

Annual Meeting & Celebration of Land Conservation
Tuesday, May 25

Meeting Featuring Guest Speaker, Jared Duval
7pm, Bradford Academy Building, Bradford, VT

Jared Duval, a quarter century year-old native of the Upper Valley and Lebanon High School graduate, will offer thoughts about what makes our region special, while discussing some of the challenges and opportunities before us as we embark on our next quarter-century of work.

About Jared:
Fellow, Demos
Author, "Next Generation Democracy"
Trustee, Orton Family Foundation
Board of Directors, Sierra Club
Former National Director, Sierra Student Coalition

The meeting will also feature a slide show depicting this year's conservation successes, an award presentation, and the election of new trustees.

For more information about the event, contact Nora at or (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

Please join us for other activities taking place in Bradford on May 25!

  • Wright's Mountain Hike with the Bradford Conservation Commission

  • Solar Panel Tour at Farm Way

  • Round Trip Express Bus

  • Perfect Pear Prix Fixe Dinner
Wright's Mountain Hike
Suggested donation $12, with all proceeds to benefit BCC's current land conservation project.
2:30pm Walk led by Bradford Conservation Commission Chair, Nancy Jones
4:00pm Shorter hike led by Tom Gray
Both outings will meet at the Bradford Academy Building and include a picnic dinner. In case of rain, the picnic will be held indoors at the Academy Building.

Solar Panel Tour
3:45pm Tour of Farm Way's solar panels, and time to shop
5:00pm Leave for dinner at the Perfect Pear (see below), or elsewhere in Bradford.

Round Trip Express Bus
Cost is $12.
6:00pm Bus leaves from Hanover/Lebanon - along the way enjoy sandwiches from Stellas & count the number of UVLT conserved lands you can spot from the road!

Please RSVP by May 21, for the hikes, solar panel tour or bus trip by emailing or by calling (603) 643-6626 ext. 102

Perfect Pear Dinner Option

5:15pm Field Green Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola Cheese, Maple Walnuts, & Cherry Tomatoes

Choice of Entree:
Grilled New York Sirloin, Jack Daniel's Demi Glace, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes, & Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Seared Atlantic Salmon Fillet, Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Basil Marinated Roma Tomatoes, Brown Rice & Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Vegetarian Tortellini Primavera with Parmesan Cream Sauce
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce
Includes coffee, tea, & Coke etc. (Does not include specialty sodas, bottled water or any alcohol)
$35.00/ person tax & gratuity included

To RSVP by Friday, May 21, call the Perfect Pear @ 802-222-5912 and mention UVLT.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You're Invited to a Public Discussion about the Mascoma River!

Come find out about a non-regulatory, community-based approach to river management.
Share what you value about the Mascoma River and its watershed and voice your ideas and concerns for the river’s future.

The Mascoma River Nominating Committee, a tri-town citizen’s group concerned about the river’s future, is working to nominate the Mascoma River into the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program. Successful nomination would create a broadly representative Local Advisory Committee to address river-related issues cooperatively in the wider watershed area.

Please attend any of the sessions in three riverfront towns!
Public Discussion with the Lebanon Planning Board and Conservation Commission
Monday, April 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm, Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park St, Lebanon

Public Discussion with the Canaan Board of Selectmen
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm, Canaan Fire Station, 62 NH Route 118, Canaan

Public Discussion in the Town of Enfield
Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm, Enfield Community Building, 308 US Route 4, Enfield

For more information, please go to or call Rachel at 448-1680. Sponsored by the Mascoma River Nominating Committee with support from Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where the Wildlife Roam

Free Public Presentation

Bobcats Moving Through Our Valley:
Envisioning a Shared Landscape

Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 7 pm
VINS Nature Center Classroom
6565 Woodstock Road (Route 4), Quechee, VT

Joint Program by
Kimberly Royar
Wildlife Habitat Biologist, Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Jens Hawkins-Hilke
Conservation Planning Biologist, Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Linking Lands Alliance
Townspeople Working Together on Regional Issues

Hosted by
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Free refreshments will be available

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jeanie McIntyre Receives 2010 Sarah Thorne Award

Jeanie McIntyre, President of the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) in Hanover, was presented with the Sarah Thorne Conservation Capacity Award on Saturday at the annual Saving Special Places Conference in Weare, NH. The award was created in 2005 as a way to recognize people who make successful land conservation happen in the state of New Hampshire. Recipients are people who, in the course of their own conservation efforts, have enhanced the capacity of others to accomplish land conservation.

The award was created by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) to honor Sarah Thorne, who dedicated nearly 20 years of her career to land conservation in New Hampshire. Jane Difley, President of SPNHF, presented the award to Jeanie McIntyre at the Saving Special Places Conference on Saturday, April 10, at John Stark Regional High School in Weare, NH. McIntyre said she was honored to be recognized for her work in the Upper Valley region. “New Hampshire is distinguished among the 50 states for the vibrancy and effectiveness of its grassroots land conservation. That SPNHF, a statewide organization, has chosen to celebrate this kind of capacity building through statewide recognition is so wonderful. Thank you, Forest Society.” McIntyre’s name, along with those of previous recipients, will be inscribed on a permanent exhibit at the Conservation Center in Concord.

The Upper Valley Land Trust was created in 1985, as the Upper Valley Community Land Trust when Frances Field, who owned a small farm in Lebanon, asked “How can we keep all the farms in farming?” Jeanie McIntyre, a Lyme, NH native, has been a critical part of UVLT and land conservation in the Upper Valley for over 20 years. Serving in the capacity as Executive Director/President of UVLT for the last 15 years, she has largely shaped the growth of the organization. Over the years, UVLT has grown to hold conservation easements on more than 400 properties, amounting to more than 40,000 acres, across 44 towns, in two states and including over 27 miles of Connecticut River frontage. McIntyre has overseen the development and continual maintenance of over 22 community trails and seven canoe campsites, which are visited by scores of people each year.

Beyond advancing the goals of land conservation in the region, McIntyre seeks to improve and enhance the health of the Upper Valley community, as well as the viability of its landscape. McIntyre’s focus on the whole community includes encouraging collaboration between land conservation advocates and supporters of other nonprofit and educational organizations. She volunteers on the Board of Twin Pines Housing Trust, recognizing the need for affordable housing and its link to working lands and open spaces. She also has built enthusiasm for land protection in connection with school communities. McIntyre’s passion for this type of collaboration was evident in the recent successful community effort to protect Zebedee Headwaters in Thetford, an important property used as an outdoor classroom by the Thetford Elementary School.

Staff and Trustees of the Upper Valley Land Trust cordially invite friends and community members to join us in acknowledging McIntyre’s receipt of the Sarah Thorne Award and in celebrating her many years of dedication to land conservation in the Upper Valley. The organization will host an Open House on April 28, at 6 pm at their offices, 19 Buck Road, Hanover. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Nora Doyle-Burr at or (603) 643-6626 ext. 102.

Photo courtesy of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

2010 Green Choice Campaign

If you love our work then tell the world!

You have an exciting opportunity to help make even more of a difference in our community. GreatNonprofits – a site like Amazon reviews – is conducting a campaign to find the top-rated environmental nonprofits.

Won’t you help us participate in the campaign by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes!


Be sure to choose “Green Choice Campaign” from the drop down menu of campaigns in the review template. With your help, we can gain greater visibility in the community.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Productive Farmland and Scenic Views Conserved in Thetford

ACADEMY ROAD, THETFORD, VT—Through a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and donations from the Thetford Conservation Commission and the Upper Valley Land Trust, Thetford landowner Lilla Willey signed documents on Monday topermanently protect 51 additional acres of her scenic farmland on Academy Road. The signing of the conservation easement and the small celebration that followed took place at the Upper Valley Land Trust’s office on Buck Road in Hanover. The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) will be responsible for ensuring that the development restrictions included in the easement are adhered to in the years to come. The successful completion of this conservation project was made possible through a generous bargain sale of development rights donated by the landowner, which leveraged federal, state and local grant funding.

According to Li Shen, Chair of Thetford’s Conservation Commission, “If this land were not conserved it would become, no doubt, a highly desirable site for subdivision and development.” The recently conserved land includes almost 1,000 feet of road frontage on Academy Road and a sizeable open field, which combine to allow passers-by to glimpse scenic views of Mt. Cube, Smarts Mountain, Cardigan Mt., Holts Ledge, as well as the more distant Mt. Moosilauke. Academy Road is a town-designated scenic byway and has been selected as, “One of the highest priorities [for protection] for the municipality,” according to Thetford Selectboard Chair, Tig Tillinghast.
In addition to being scenic, the open field is very productive. It is made up of prime agricultural soils, as well as soils of statewide significance. These fields are hayed and leased by a local farmer and also used as horse pasture.

Approximately 28 acres of the property is managed forestland. Notably, this includes a stand of Norway spruce. The remaining forestland is characterized as a hemlock/hardwood forest. In addition to open farmland and the mixture of forest communities, the property includes two ponds and a small amount of wetland.

The Willey property also serves as an important scenic buffer to the award winning trail system on the nearby Thetford Hill State Park land. The trail system may be extended at some point in the future, since the conservation easement granted by Lilla Willey includes provisions for the possibility of future public access.

The protection of the Willey farmland adds to the already 377 acres protected within the immediate vicinity. These protected lands include Thetford Hill State Park, and two privately owned parcels, both conserved with UVLT. In total, there are 490 acres conserved by UVLT within 5 miles of the Willey Farm and an additional 1,400 acres of other protected lands. Current and future generations of Thetford residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the recreational, scenic, and agricultural uses that these conserved lands have to offer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Learn More & Do Your Part to Protect Land Conservation Funding in New Hampshire!

Please visit the Forest Society's website: And then call your state representatives and ask them to oppose the diversion of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) fee. Find your representatives here:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baker Bush Hike & Maple Tasting Photos

Please visit Jim Blog's blog, and view images from a fun hike at a recently conserved sugarbush in Strafford, VT, owned by Sue Baker & managed by Elise & Tig Tillinghast. Thanks to all who were able to attend! We plan to visit this property again for a vernal pool walk with UVLT's Amber Boland and VT Center for Ecostudies' Steve Faccio on April 24 from 9am - 12pm. Visit our calendar page to learn more as we get closer to the event:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mascoma River Nominating Committee

Under a light snowfall, we enjoyed an educational and pleasant walk led by Nicole Cormen along the Mascoma River on February 27. Nicole used an archeological assessment funded by Lebanon's Conservation Commission to point out remnants of old mills. In addition, we passed by popular fishing spots and experienced a portion of the Rail Trail. This walk was part of the Mascoma River Nominating Committee's outreach efforts.

The Mascoma River Nomination Committee will be hosting several public information sessions in Canaan, Enfield, and Lebanon during the month of April. The purpose is to inform the public of an effort to nominate the Mascoma River into the State Rivers Management and Protection Program, joining 17 other designated rivers in over 100 communities in New Hampshire. Designation would create a collaborative forum among riverfront towns to address river-related issues and help raise awareness of the river and its resources. For more information about this endeavor please visit or contact Rachel Ruppel at (603) 448-1680 or

In addition, we have recently posted a series of 5 articles written about the Mascoma River in 1992 by UVLT's then-Executive Director, Tim Traver.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VHCB Funding Update: The Capital Bill is Crucial

There is strong support from the leadership in both the House and the Senate to bring the VHCB appropriation for FY2011 to $11.1 million. This is significantly less than the total of $13.1 million that VHCB is receiving in FY 2010. The idea is to approve the Governor’s recommended $6.1 million from property transfer tax (PTT) revenues in the Appropriations Bill and $5 million in the Capital Bill. The PTT amount appears to have solid support in the House Appropriations Committee and there is growing interest in the House Institutions Committee to include VHCB in the Capital Bill.

The major task is to fit the requested $5 million within the $72 million cap for capital budget expenditures, which are supported by the issuance of 20-year general revenue bonds. The presumptive cap is the working figure based upon the recommendation (non-binding but very influential) of the Capital Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, chaired by the State Treasurer, Jeb Spaulding.

VHCB is one of the significant contenders to be funded within the $72 million cap. The potential options are to increase the cap; to fund portions of other demands in other ways, e.g., pay interest on school construction grants instead of the entire amount of the grant until the state’s revenues improve; and to fund certain capital requests for a term of less than 20 years, e.g., information technology improvements.

The talking points in support of the request for $5 million in the capital bill are:
  • VHCB-supported housing and conservation investments produce a short-term economic stimulus while securing long term capital assets for the Vermont economy that will exist long after the bonds are paid off.

  • Affordable housing construction projects produce jobs, jobs and jobs. Affordable housing developments are a proven way to reduce taxpayer funded human service assistance costs.

  • Conservation projects invest in the cornerstones of our working lands economy: farming, forestry, and public access to recreation. These investments produce jobs while protecting our Vermont brand.

  • During the economic downturn in the 1990s, 80 percent of the state investment into VHCB economic development projects was from the Capital Bill. There is solid precedent for Capital Bill investment into VHCB.

  • Significant federal funds will be lost for Vermont without an adequate VHCB investment by the state.
We need your help in delivering this message. It is imperative that conservation supporters engage in a broad grassroots effort to let lawmakers know that VHCB has wide and deep support. This means phone calls, letters to the editor, opinion pieces and e-mails to your legislators.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Update on Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition’s Legislative Day—2/24/10

Though the driving on February 24th was a bit treacherous, the Upper Valley sent several representatives to VHCC's Legislative Day in Montpelier. In the morning, we heard from leaders in both the Senate and the House of their support for affordable housing and land conservation in Vermont, but this funding has not yet been secured.

The Governor's budget includes $6.1 million of state funds for VHCB. VHCB advocates have asked for a total state investment level of $11, which would still be a 4% reduction from the level warranted by the existing state statute formula. Recognizing that state general fund dollars are in short supply, there is a lot of discussion about a multi-million dollar investment into VHCB through the Capital Bill to supplement the $6.1M property transfer tax figure.

Please contact your legislators today to voice your support of this plan. Find your VT legislators.

Voice Your Support of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board!

Below is a letter to the editor of the Journal Opinion by the Chair of Bradford’s Conservation Commission, Nancy Jones:

“In his January 7 State of the State address, Governor Jim Douglas stated that “VT’s commitment to our natural resources is unwavering. Our environmental leadership is a source of pride that sets us apart and gives us a leg-up in a green economy.” He went on to say, “That VT is the healthiest state comes as no surprise. It is our nature to be active, enjoy the outdoors and eat healthy.” But… the bulk of Governor Douglas’s speech was about spending cuts which he will present to the legislature on January 19th, and insiders fear his plan includes de-funding the VT Housing and Conservation Board.

The November/December 2009 issue of National Geographic Travel announced that Vermont was ranked 5th in the world for “destination stewardship”. In ranking destinations, 437 global panelists considered six criteria including environmental and ecological quality, social and cultural integrity, condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites, aesthetic appeal, quality of tourism management and outlook for the future.

"Vermont, more than any other American state, has worked to preserve those qualities and characteristics that make it unique," commented one panelist. “It has a very effective statewide land trust and the state-funded Affordable Housing and Land Conservation Trust that rehabilitates historic buildings, like old mills, for low-income housing, and purchases conservation easements on farmland and forests. It has limited the spread of big-box retailing and works to retain locally owned retail, such as village stores. If you want to see New England as you imagine it, go to Vermont."

Since 1987, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) has worked with Vermont municipalities and non-profit organizations to conserve more than 376,500 acres of farmland, natural areas and recreational lands and to develop more than 9,700 affordable homes, most of which are located in historic buildings in Vermont's town and village centers. Most of Bradford’s working farm land has been protected via VHCB funds, over 700 acres of public and privately-owned forest land on Wright’s MT has been preserved forever, thanks to funding from VHCB. Bradford’s revitalized South Main Street and subsequent affordable housing was made possible because of VHCB funding, while simultaneously providing a multitude of jobs that stimulated our local economy.

Governor Douglas emphasized “Fiscal responsibility, efficient government and environmental protection” in his January 7 address. In light of VHCB’s enviable track record, de-funding it would be fiscally irresponsible and inefficient, and would be devastating to the very environment that sets VT apart.

I encourage all Vermonters to ask their legislators to preserve the funding for the VT Housing and Conservation Board.” Find your VT legislators.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jim Block's Photos of Bear Pond Snowshoe

Please visit Jim Block's blog to view photos from our snowshoe to the Bear Pond Natural Area in Canaan on January 23rd, in collaboration with the Mascoma Watershed Conservation Council. Thanks to all who took part that day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vermont Housing & Conservation Coalition Legislative Day

Do you know your representatives in the Vermont legislature? Can you count on them to support funding for land conservation this year in spite of the deep cuts proposed by Governor Douglas? To help you answer these questions the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition is sponsoring it's annual "Legislative Day" at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Wednesday, February 24th. This is your best chance to get across a personal message to your representatives about why conservation is important to you and your community. Become part of the legislative process by attending legislative committee meetings and hearing from leaders of both the Vermont House and Senate. Rally with a diverse array of supporters and beneficiaries of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and see how critical the State's investment in conservation and housing has become and how they should remain a priority through the challenges of the State's fiscal crisis.

This year the Governor has proposed slashing VHCB's budget by 50% from last year's funding level, which would potentially result in millions of federal farmland conservation dollars being returned to Washington because no state matching funds are available to draw them down into the Vermont economy. We will be asking the legislature to provide VHCB with at least 11.1 million for FY 2011, a 4.6% reduction from the level warranted by the statutory funding formula. The emphasis will be on showing legislators that investments in housing and conservation are important to economic development and represent long term capital investment for the State.

We will be organizing a carpool of volunteers to arrive at the Statehouse at 8:00am on the 24th and coordinating attendance at a variety of committee meetings. Please contact Nora (, by next Tuesday, February 23, if you are willing to contact your representatives and perhaps arrange for a breakfast meeting with them to show your involvement with VHCB and ask for their support.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thetford Celebrates Protection of Zebedee Headwaters

On Wednesday, January 20, the Upper Valley Land Trust purchased the 27.3 acre property known as Zebedee Headwaters, on Houghton Hill Road, Thetford Hill. Under the ownership of UVLT, the parcel will be protected from future development. UVLT will continue to manage the land as it has been, for wildlife habitat, as well as for educational and recreational purposes. This purchase was made possible through the support of the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and the Children’s Fund, both of which are administered through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation – Upper Valley Region. Additional funds came from the Thetford Conservation Commission and through an outpouring of community support.

Some successful fundraising efforts were led by Thetford Elementary School students, including a Christmas Eve bake sale and outreach through the social networking website, Facebook. Connie Snyder of the Thetford Conservation Commission said of the bake sale, "It was beautiful to see the kids jumping up and down hailing down cars and to see the generosity of people who brought goods and bought goods - many did both."

Zebedee Headwaters is an ecological asset to the community and is enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. The Thetford Conservation Commission created a list of a variety of wildlife species that benefit from the property, including two birds listed as species of special concern in Vermont. While the parcel is renowned by bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts, the large wetland on this property also serves as a living outdoor classroom for local schoolchildren. Its proximity to both Thetford Elementary School and Thetford Academy makes it a critical resource for natural science educators. In recent years, the second grade curriculum at the elementary school has included wetland and forest studies conducted on the property. In addition, a Valley Quest adventure has also been written and published for the property. Though, the quest was “closed,” while the property was marketed for sale.

Prior to UVLT’s purchase of the property, the previous owners had received development permits and placed the parcel on the market for residential development. As approved, the proposed driveway, accessing the only buildable area in the back corner of the property, would have skirted the wetland edge and required two crossings. Such development would have fragmented important wildlife habitat and degraded the connectivity of the uplands to the wetland. It would also have diminished the recreational and educational values of the property.

Nearly half of the property consists of Class II state-significant wetland communities. The wetland filters the headwaters of Zebedee Brook, and is one of only two state-significant wetlands located along this direct tributary to the Connecticut River. Development of the parcel would have increased detrimental runoff and potentially diminished the wetlands’ ability to adequately provide water filtration services. This would have been especially problematic, as this property is located between two groundwater protection areas—one serves the Thetford Hill Village Water District and the other serves the two nearby schools.

This property is adjacent to State forest lands, near other UVLT-conserved land, and its conservation increases the contiguous protected acreage of these parcels to about 150 acres. UVLT’s recently acquired 97 acre Pegjack Forest, also on Houghton Hill Road, lies about 1 mile north of this conserved block.

UVLT will host a community celebration at the Thetford Hill Congregational Church on Saturday, January 30, from 1 - 4PM. Refreshments will be served. Attendees should bring outdoor clothing for a walk to the newly conserved property (weather permitting). This event is free and open to the public.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Morning in the Field: Baseline Documentation in the Winter Months

January 13, 2010. It was a cold and early start. I was working on a relatively small project, just over 50 acres. I estimated it would take me 2-3 hours to complete.
8:00 am: Arrived, 3°, numbing cold. Glad I was well dressed. Minimized exposed skin with fleece neck warmer. Forgot my lunch. Packed an apple, almonds and tea. Decided not to wear snowshoes, boots only. Packed hand warmers for the first time. Hopefully they work. Left them out in the warm car air for 5 minutes.

8:10 am: Documented first corner. Hands very cold. Very, very cold. This must be where the expression biting cold comes from because that is just how it feels, BITING. Hand warmers are not working.

8:20 am: Documented second corner. Moving and warmed up. Hand warmers are actually working and are WONDERFUL!! It is the only thing keeping my fingers from frostbite. I must remove my hands from the warmth of my mittens to write notes for the report. While they are only exposed for a couple of minutes at a time they are numb and have lost some dexterity by the time I put them back into the warmth of my mittens. I must write quickly.

8:30 am: 3° outside still, but warm on the inside. Hot breath rises from within the fleece to warm my nose. Condensation is forming around my eyelashes.

9:00 am: Many critter trails within the woods. White tail, fox, turkey, skis, snowshoes. Clearly loved and used by a number of creatures. Numbing cold 3° in the forest, still.

10:30 am: Finally ascending a little, warming up even more. Probably reached 5° by now. Hands toasty in mittens with hand warmers. I love hand warmers. My fleece neck warmer is rigid from frozen breath. My eyelashes are heavy and coated in frozen steam, my hat, has grown thin strands of ice.

11:30 am: Field work complete, 8°. Entered the warmth of a home with a roaring woodstove. I spoke with the landowner. She sweetly offered tea. Warm by the fire! Thought about staying but I would have had to take off layers if I wanted to be warm later. No time. I am off to monitor Protected Properties. At least I get to use skis. That will really warm me up.

Submitted by Amber Boland, UVLT's Conservation Mapping and Field Specialist

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Turning Over a New Leaf in 2010

As we look forward to a new year, there is an opportunity to reflect on events of the past. Last year, as 2008 turned to 2009, the future seemed uncertain and frightening. As 2009 progressed there were further challenges as joblessness increased, homes lost, retirement savings diminished and state and federal deficits grew.

Today, in 2010, many of these challenges remain. Families, businesses and governments have less money to spend, while many costs continue to rise. Diminished resources force us all to prioritize and focus on those things that are most important.

Even in the face of these difficulties, the end of the year can be a time for hopeful and optimistic actions. At the Upper Valley Land Trust, we have been cheered as landowners and communities came together to make permanent decisions to conserve key aspects of our region’s landscape in the waning days of 2009. In just the single month of December 2009, seven landowners in the Upper Valley demonstrated their belief that protecting and stewarding the landscape of their region is a top priority. They have done this by donating conservation easements to the Upper Valley Land Trust. These agreements will protect their land from future development and ensure its sustainable management in perpetuity.

More tangibly, a terrific wild blueberry patch, hiking trails, and picnicking area were protected as part of a new town forest in Unity; a sugarbush in Strafford will remain productive for years to come; a Tree Farm managed for songbird habitat in Lyme will persist; and in Hanover, woodcock will continue to enjoy some of the best habitat that the region has to offer. The generosity of Upper Valley landowners, their friends, neighbors, and broader communities, made all of this possible.

Though our economy fluctuates due to forces outside of our control, these special places will remain. Without careful planning for the future, working landscapes, recreational resources, and scenic open space could be lost forever. The New Year seems like an appropriate time to celebrate the forward thinking, generosity, and hope exemplified by many of our neighbors and friends.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Town of Unity Celebrates Gift of Conserved Memorial Forest

Laura Ryan feels strongly connected to an 83.5 acre parcel of land that has been in her family for more than 250 years because of the many memories and family stories this land holds. Due to her connection to the property, Laura Ryan, and her husband, Walter, generously granted a conservation easement to the Upper Valley Land Trust to preserve the land forever. Immediately following this donation, the Ryans transferred ownership of the property to the Town of Unity. Together, these gifts created “The Nathaniel & Ina Thurber Memorial Forest,” named in honor of Laura Ryan’s parents. The Memorial Forest will be managed sustainably by Unity’s Conservation Commission for low-impact recreation, agriculture and working forestland. The deed signing occurred at the Town Offices where Selectmen and others were on-hand to give warm thanks to the Ryans for this special gift to the community.
Asked why she chose to donate an easement to UVLT, Laura Ryan explained, “I grew up there; I didn’t want to chop it up anymore than it had been.” She also mentioned that she still enjoys the property, for example, “I try to get up there every few years to take my grandchildren kite flying.”

As is the case for much of New Hampshire’s landscape, The Nathaniel & Ina Thurber Memorial Forest was cleared, farmed, and now much has returned to forestland. Over the years, cattle, sheep and horses have grazed the land. Unity’s Conservation Commission plans to maintain some open fields in order to preserve scenic vistas, which stretch both north and south from the property. In the warmer months, these open fields offer picnicking opportunities, and the forested portion of the property is popular during hunting season. Historically, the forest was also used for maple sugaring, and a stone foundation of a historic sugar house is believed to be located on the conserved property.

The Conservation Commission will develop a Forest Management Plan prior to forestry activities, as required by the conservation easement. The Commission also plans to maintain the recreational trails that traverse the property for the public’s enjoyment. Former forester, and Chair of the Conservation Commission, Stan Rastallis said at the closing, “There’s a pretty good system of trails—it’s a matter of maintaining them.” He also said of helping with the project, “It’s been fun being in the woods again.”

Due to the generosity of the Ryans and the support of the Town and the Conservation Commission, UVLT will now ensure that this property will forever remain a part of Unity’s working landscape, and available for public enjoyment of its scenic values and recreational opportunities. This project is UVLT’s second in the town and the parcel is located within two miles of 350 acres of other public or town-conserved lands.