Thanks to Patti Connaughton-Burns, Kirsten Gehl, Virginia Long, Kari Lygren and Emily Lord for these photos of Stephen Snow and his land.

Landowner Stephen Snow has conserved his 325-acre tree farm on Tumbledown Dick in Brookfield, NH. MMRG holds the conservation easement, which forever protects the land from development and guarantees public access for non-motorized, low impact recreation and hunting. The project was completed with grants from the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), the State Conservation Committee (Moose Plate), and the generous donations of over 100 individuals as well as the landowner.

Stephen Snow acquired his first chain saw at age thirteen and paid his way through college with side jobs as a logger and arborist. He returned to these interests as an adult when he purchased the land on Tumbledown Dick, planning to use his free time to cultivate a tree farm there.  At the same time, he had the idea to eventually conserve it, leaving it as a legacy. As Stephen succinctly put it, “I wanted something to do and I wanted something to leave behind.” 

 Throughout his 24- year ownership of the property, Stephen has carefully tended his tree farm with a view for its long term productivity. He has derived great personal satisfaction from watching the severely cut forest he purchased turn into healthy hardwood stands.  The oaks he is growing have potential to give veneer quality timber and are a particular source of pride. He noted, “My grandchildren may get some college assistance from a few oak trees.”

In addition to his focus on forest health and timber quality, Stephen has worked to create wildlife habitat on his land. Although their population is in decline, a  young bull moose was recently sighted in a meadow that he cleared for wildlife and many animals make use of the grassy woods roads he created. These improvements were aided by funding and advice from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), NH Fish & Game Department, and foresters Barry Keith and Richard Gerrard. He urges other landowners to take advantage of such resources, and to hire a consulting forester and create a forestry management plan. He emphasizes that there are also significant tax advantages to establishing your tree farm as a business. 

 Stephen’s early vision to conserve his land was reinforced as he watched his sons enjoy camping, playing in the woods, hunting, and learning about the forest. As they grew, he taught them good forestry practices and then broadened his outreach to include Lakes Region Technical Center high school students and participants of workshops sponsored by MMRG, NRCS, NH Timberland Owners Association, and UNH Cooperative Extension. He intends to continue to offer such opportunities on his land, now that it is conserved.

The value of Stephen’s conservation easement extends well beyond the boundaries of his land.  As a working forest in current use, it will continue to provide tax revenues to the town from timber harvests. The property lies next to 360 acres of recently conserved parcels and close to Ellis Hatch Wildlife Management Area and Moose Mountains Reservation, contributing to a growing greenway used by wildlife in search of food and shelter, to escape disease or other threats, to ensure genetic diversity and adapt to the changing climate. Snow’s land on the slope of Tumbledown Dick also provides critical lake watershed protection for both Lake Wentworth and Kingswood Lake.  The conservation easement ensures that future forestry practices will continue to safeguard both intermittent and perennial streams and the riparian buffers that preserve the water quality of both lakes. 

MMRG Board Chair Nicole Csiszer expressed her appreciation. “We feel privileged to have helped Stephen Snow and his family accomplish his vision to conserve his land, which has benefited so greatly from his careful stewardship over many years.  We admire and share his commitment to conservation and education and we look forward to helping other landowners see their dreams come true.”