Pictured from Left to Right at the 2018 LCHIP Award Ceremony: NH State Rep. Dr. William Marsh (Carrol County District 8); LCHIP Natural Resource Specialist, Paula Bellemore; Landowner Stephen Snow; LCHIP Executive Director, Dijit Taylor; MMRG Educational Outreach Coordinator, Kari Lygren; NH Governor Chris Sununu; MMRG Executive Director, Patti Connaughton-Burns; MMRG Board Treasurer, Ian Whitmore; MMRG Board Member, Kam Damtoft. Photo credit: Perry Smith

MMRG has been awarded a 2018 New Hampshire Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant to conserve 320 acres on Tumbledown Dick Mountain in Brookfield.

On December 7, Staff and Board from MMRG traveled to Concord to receive the LCHIP award for the Snow Family Conservation Easement, where they were joined by landowner Stephen Snow. The Awards were distributed by LCHIP Director Dijit Taylor, LCHIP Board member Amanda Merrill, and Governor Chris Sununu. In an introductory presentation, the Governor highlighted how LCHIP grants enable New Hampshire to preserve the state’s historic and conservation assets that enhance the lives of residents and the experience of visitors.

After the event, Stephen was beaming because of the recognition from many for his focus on conservation. MMRG Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns expressed her delight with the award and noted how competitive the process was, saying, “We learned early on that the number of worthy projects far exceeded the available LCHIP funds in 2018, but we moved forward with the application knowing that this project was an excellent example of LCHIP’s values and goals.” The Snow Family Conservation Easement was one of 42 projects across the state that received LCHIP awards totaling $4 Million in 2018.

For more than 20 years, Stephen has managed his 320 acres of working forest with an eye towards its economic and ecologic enhancement. With partial funding from NH Fish & Game (NHFG), he created 12 acres of meadow habitat for wildlife and is working to convert another 20 acres. He has implemented creative and calculated timber-stand management techniques to nurture today’s productive forest out of an historic clear cut. He recently completed a loop trail to enhance the hiking experience along woods roads that will be forever open to public access for non-motorized and low-impact recreation and hunting, in accordance with LCHIP grant requirements. Stephen has also shared his skills by mentoring a next generation of foresters, including his two sons and many high school students at the Lakes Region Technical Center.

Patti emphasizes that this region benefits economically from the Snow conservation project because the land protects critical lake watersheds of the pristine Kingswood Lake and Lake Wentworth. The working forest also provides tax revenues to the town of Brookfield. Furthermore, MMRG’s Conservation Action Plan maps the property within its Priority 1 Greenway that provides a safe corridor for wildlife movement and as Tier 1 for multiple overlapping Conservation Values. NHFG’s Wildlife Action Plan maps the land as top tier for wildlife habitat and The Nature Conservancy’s Climate Change Resilience project rates the land as “above average for resilience and connectedness”, with 90 acres rated “far above average for connectedness”.

In addition to the LCHIP grant, the NH State Conservation Committee recently awarded the project a $20,000 Moose Plate Grant. Eighty-three private donors have also generously contributed to the project, which is currently just 10% shy of the fundraising goal. Click here to donate online to help conserve the Snow Family Conservation Area on Tumbledown Dick or mail your check to MMRG, PO Box 191 Union, NH 03887.