February 01, 2024

1,445 Acres Protected by Upper Saco Valley Land Trust in 2023

The work of conservation takes time and ongoing, consistent support from the community. Upper Saco Valley Land Trust has been able to protect special places across its 11-town service area in Maine and New Hampshire because of your financial support. In 2023, the Land Trust was able to protect a total of 1,445 acres of land in Bartlett, Jackson, Eaton and Fryeburg, Maine.

Pocket Swamp Preserve, in Fryeburg was expanded from 18 acres to 48 acres in February 2023 and renamed from its original name, Deacon-Chadbourne Preserve, to reflect the unique habitat it protects.

Dundee Community Forest in Bartlett and Jackson became a reality after years of collaboration with the landowners, project funders and community. This community forest protects 1,250 acres of forestland; it would not have been possible without the generous support of this community, Trust for Public Land, and many funding partners.

Eaton Hills Preserve was created through the generous donation of 165 acres of land to USVLT in December. This new Preserve stretches from Stewart Road to Foss Mountain Road in Eaton, NH. Conservation of this property adds to the adjacent USVLT Kent Hill Conservation Easement, protecting the summits of Kent Hill and viewshed from Foss Mountain, as well as headwater streams flowing into Snow Brook and then Conway Lake.

In addition to acquiring these lands for long-term conservation, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust sold 10 acres of land in Redstone to Mount Washington Habitat for Humanity to help address the need for affordable housing in the community. This land was previously identified as "trade land" due to its limited conservation value. Upper Saco Valley Land Trust retained the 84 acres that protect the majority of two popular multi-use trails (Cheater and Outer Limits) as well as a segment of the Corridor 19 snowmobile trail.

Despite the wettest year on record, our paid contractor, Recon Trail Design, and volunteer trail builders from White Mountain New England Mountain Bike Association and Woodland Charter School were able to complete construction on two new multi-use trails at Pine Hill Community Forest in September. The 1.7 mile Summit Trail, and 0.7 mile Eagle’s Way Connecter added more than 2 miles of trail for mountain bikers, hikers and runners to enjoy.
The new trails are best accessed from a new parking lot (also built in 2023) on Eagles Way in North Conway. While open to all users, the new trail particularly benefits the Kennett Mountain Bike Team because it serves as an upgrade for their home race course. The new trail relocates the old course out of critical habitats and wetlands. The Pine Hill Community Forest Management Committee and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust look forward to continuing its relationship with Kennett High School and Northeast Woodland School to provide outdoor learning opportunities in the forest.

In 2024, the trust has many projects to share with the community, including Jockey Cap updates and Madison’s Chain of Ponds.

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