Pine Hill Community Forest – details, details, details…

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Pine Hill Parcel:

The 436-acre Pine Hill parcel is located in North Conway adjacent to Kennett High School. Key conservation values of the parcel include 6,430 feet of the Conway Recreation Path with deeded public access; 125 acres of wetlands; 3,300 feet of frontage on the Saco River; and 2,600 feet of scenic, undeveloped frontage on NH Route 16 and US Route 302.

The land has been owned by the Kennett Company for many decades, and has been professionally managed over the years by Forest Land Improvement for commercial forest products. USVLT intends to continue sustainably managing the Pine Hill parcel for long-term timber production.  We also want to involve the community in planning for the future of the parcel by holding a professionally facilitated Community Forum.

Benefits provided to the community by the Pine Hill Community Forest will include:

  • Recreational benefits such as hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing secured by a right of public access
  • Experiential learning benefits such as outdoor education programs
  • Environmental benefits such as protection of surface and ground water and wildlife habitat
  • Scenic enjoyment by the general public
  • Economic benefits such as timber products

Conservation of the Pine Hill parcel is consistent with the Town of Conway’s 2003 Master Plan, which states:

“As so much of Conway’s character, quality of life and economic base is associated with the abundance and accessibility of environmental features, it is important that the town encourage the permanent protection of environmentally significant lands. Failure to encourage the permanent protection of these lands could lead to the incremental deterioration of qualities which have historically made Conway a desirable community in which to live and work.”

 

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Bald Hill Parcel:

The 93-acre Bald Hill parcel is located on Bald Hill Road in Albany adjacent to Tin Mountain Conservation Center (TMCC) and the Albany Town Forest – both permanently protected by conservation easements held by USVLT.  The White Mountain Waldorf School also abuts the property to the south. Key conservation values of the parcel include 2,036 feet of scenic, undeveloped road frontage on Bald Hill Road, connectivity to other conserved lands and 3+ acres of Appalachian Oak-Mountain Laurel Forest, a rare natural community within the state of New Hampshire.

Future land use plans for the Bald Hill parcel include expansion of the existing trail network for TMCC’s adjacent Rockwell Preserve and expansion of outdoor education programs for TMCC and White Mountain Waldorf School. The land will continue to be sustainably managed by TMCC as a working forest.

Conservation of the Bald Hill parcel is consistent with the Town of Albany’s 2014 Master Plan, “Planning for Future Land Use – The Vision for the Future”, which states:

The town-wide survey that was completed in May of 2010 made the following very clear: Residents and taxpayers want to preserve the rural character of the community and see limited future growth. The survey, by wide margins, made it clear that both residents and taxpayers did not want to see much development on the remaining privately owned land. Preserving the rural character has broad support and we are proud to be a part of the team protecting this parcel.

Community Outreach for the Pine Hill Community Forest Parcel:

To gauge community interest about the project, the Land Trust hosted a community forum in April 2017.  Project stakeholders, abutting landowners, and interested members of the larger community were all invited to brainstorm together about the future of the property.   Initial ideas that were generated at that forum include improved trails, two new parking areas, and protection of wildlife habitat and migration corridors; many of these ideas will be considered in the long-term management plan for the property.  The forum was moderated by Nancy Bell of The Conservation Fund, who also compiled a detailed report and map that summarize all of the responses and ideas generated.  For a copy of the full report, click here: Pine Hill Community Forum Report FINAL.   A copy of the map is provided below (click it for a larger image).

Fundraising:

The total fundraising goal for the Pine Hill Community Forest and Bald Hill Road parcel was $855,000, which includes the cost of the land, transaction costs such as legal and survey expenses, as well as a stewardship endowment for the properties’ future management.  Funding includes $556,000 from private foundations and individual contributions; $150,000 from NH’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP); $10,000 from the Fields Pond Foundation; $20,000 from the Davis Conservation Foundation; $10,000 from the Conway Conservation Commission; $75,000 from the Open Space Institute’s Community Forest Fund; $10,000 from the William P. Wharton Fund; and $24,000 from the NH “Moose Plate” grant program (NH State Conservation Committee). Thanks to the strong support of local foundations and members of our community, we are excited to announce that as of 12/28/2017, the public fundraising for the project has been completed! The Bald Hill Road property has already been transferred to Tin Mountain, and we plan to “close” on the Pine Hill Community Forest (transfer the property to USVLT) by March 31, 2018.

Thank you to all who contributed to the Project. We are truly grateful for your support and look forward to sharing final management plans with the community in the near future.

School Partnerships:

Outdoor, experiential education is a uniting theme between the Pine Hill parcel and the Bald Hill parcel.  The Pine Hill land is already utilized by Kennett High School students for recreation and as outdoor classroom space, and the Bald Hill parcel will be an asset both to the students of TMCC and the neighboring White Mountain Waldorf School.  We plan to engage the school communities’ in the future management decisions for both properties, and we look forward to seeing more students on the land.

 

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Contact Us

Upper Saco Valley Land Trust
PO Box 424
North Conway, NH 03860
Email Us
(603) 356-9683
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