Thanks to Emily Lord, Patti Connaughton-Burns and Kirsten Gehl for photos of the Snow Family property.

Landowner Stephen Snow has agreed to place a conservation easement on 320 acres of his land on the Tumbledown Dick in Brookfield, NH. The Tumbledown Dick rises up for approximately 1,100 feet, to the northwest of Moose Mountains and can be viewed from Route 109 across both Lake Wentworth and Kingswood Lakes (see map below). The landowner is electing to put this land into conservation as a gift to his family, friends, community, to future generations, and to wildlife.

Conserving land with a conservation easement means that the owner has voluntarily agreed to forfeit future development rights and to protect the land, forever. This property will stay in current use as a working forest. In that way, the land will continue to provide income to the landowner’s family and tax revenues to the town after a timber harvest. Work will be done in accordance with an approved and up to date management plan. The land will never be developed for commercial mineral mines, windmills, solar panels, houses or lights. It will continue to provide scenic view and recreation for low impact activities and responsible hunting; protect wildlife habitat, greenway corridors and water resources, and preserve historical features and New Hampshire’s way of life. Conservation of the land is consistent with the Town of Brookfield’s Master Plan that describes the preferred land uses as conservation and forestry.

After working this land for more than 20 years, Snow expresses his passion for the land as we hike along the woods roads of his working forest. Snow’s focus and hard work to enhance the land’s natural and economic values are evident! Using his forest management plan, scientific curiosity, and tenacious perseverance, Snow has thoughtfully improved the timber stand by encouraging re-growth of the land’s oak and pines, managing invasive beech seedlings, and improving soils. Snow has paid attention to preserving lesser known hardwoods that make up the mid-canopy and enhance the forest’s overall health, like yellow birch and hackberry. His forestry practices also protect and enhance the wetlands and streams on the property. With funding and guidance from the NH Department of Fish & Game, Snow converted about 12 acres to grassland, thereby increasing the land’s biodiversity.

It was no great surprise to Snow that MMRG’s Conservation Action Plan (CAP) recognizes the area as a Tier 1 Conservation Focus Area or that the CAP’s Priority 1 Greenway traverses the land as it extends from the south in Strafford, through New Durham, into the Moose Mountains, across the Tumbledown Dick and north towards Ossipee. Snow’s property abuts 360 acres of already conserved lands that include the Wentworth Watershed Association’s Warren Brook Conservation Area and the MMRG Split Rock Conservation Area. The land is proximate to an additional 4,500 acres of connected conservation land that includes the Moose Mountains Reservation and Ellis Hatch WMA. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) maps the entire property as “above average for resilience and connectedness”, with 90 acres ranking “far above average for connectedness”. Enhancing the connectivity of this greenway ensures safe land for movement away from threats or disease and dispersal of species’ genetic codes.

In its natural and forested state, the Tumbledown Dick provides critical lake watershed protection for both Lake Wentworth and Kingswood Lake. The snowmelt from the steep southwestern slopes of Snow’s property enters channels of intermittent streams that flow to the Warren Brook, a major tributary to Wentworth Lake. Also, the headwaters of the only major perennial stream that enters Kingswood Lake begins and stretches for over 1,000 feet on the Snow property, through 7 acres of riparian buffer before it enters Kingswood Lake. The conservation easement ensures that future forestry practices will continue to protect the streams and riparian buffers that provide critically important protection to the lakes. Sarah Tierney, Brewster Academy Science Teacher and author of the ‘2014 Kingswood Lake Management Plan’ explained that “Conservation of land around Kingswood Lake, such as the land adjacent to Tumbledown Dick Road, benefits the water quality greatly not only for Kingswood Lake but also Lake Wentworth. The riparian buffer zones help to establish thick vegetation that allows for the nitrates and phosphates to filter through the sediments instead of running directly into the lake which could cause eutrophication, algae blooms, and dead zones. Establishing conservation land to help keep our watershed intact is beneficial to the

[lake’s] water quality”.

In the lakes communities there are stories of generations of adventurous kids who canoed across the two lakes to climb Tumbledown Dick. The trails from the east and Tumbledown Dick Road offer moderately-easy, family-friendly hikes through forests, past meadows and wetlands, with occasional views of Kingswood Lake when foliage has fallen. From Pleasant Valley Road in Wolfeboro (northwestern), the trails offer a challenging climb to talus slopes and ledges with terrific views of the Moose Mountains, Copple Crown, the Belknaps, and Lake Wentworth.

There are about 12 acres of wetlands on the property. Wetlands are often described as nature’s cradle of life because they support algae, other microorganisms and the eggs and larvae of insects, fish, and amphibians. These life forms in turn feed reptiles, birds, and mammals. After a few hours of exploring the property it is clear why the TNC ranks 64% of the property as “above average for biodiversity.” NH Wildlife Action Plan rates the property as the Tier 1 Wildlife Habitat, the State’s highest ranking habitat.

There are confirmed economic benefits from land conservation. In New Hampshire, many conservation easements are written to permit forestry and farming in accordance with best management practices and regularly updated plans. From each cut, the forest products provide income for families and tax revenues for the towns. As a secondary benefit, the property values of lands with a view of the conserved parcel, such as the homes and camps along Kingswood Lake and Lake Wentworth, directly benefit from the conservation because because their views will never be marred by development on Snow’s property.

Snow’s conservation easement will assure that the land is open to the public for low-impact recreation and hunting. MMRG will periodically conduct guided walks and birding events on the land. The land owner will continue to use the property for seminars on timber stand improvement and timbering safety through professional forestry organizations. Stephen Snow wants to preserve the land “in perpetuity” so others may experience the wild beauty of this land and so that the land can continue to provide an economic benefit to future land owners and tax revenue for the town.

Land trusts like MMRG raise transaction and stewardship costs in order to conserve lands like the Snow Family Conservation Area and to steward them, forever. This fundraising campaign was initiated on July 1, 2018 and we will keep you up to date as grants are awarded and as the fundraising progresses. To be successful, the project must raise $187,658 and we are already 1/3 of the way to the goal with a generous donation of $55,000 by the land owner’s family.

Please consider joining your neighbors in helping us reach our fundraising goal to complete the project. Click here to donate online or mail your check to MMRG, PO Box 191 Union, NH 03887. If you have questions, please call Patti at MMRG’s office at 603-473-2020 or send an email to Thank You!


Click on the map to see an enlarged version locating Stephen Snow’s property on Tumbledown Dick in the town of Brookfield.