(Cover photo by Jerry Monkman, EcoPhotography)
March 6, 2023, Milton, NH — Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) is thrilled to announce our newest land conservation success, the Teneriffe Mountain Forest in Milton, NH, in partnership with the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and with gratitude to the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust. The Forest is 242 acres of valuable wildlife habitat and offers excellent recreational opportunities, including walking paths near the summit of Teneriffe Mountain that offers magnificent views.
The Teneriffe Mountain Forest property and surrounding areas are at high risk of development, and the property is near several hundred acres of other conservation areas, making it a key piece to forming an expanded wildlife corridor in the Moose Mountains region. The Forest itself is notable for hosting rare and critically-imperiled plant communities – including one of the most northerly known occurrences in New Hampshire of the American Chestnut Oak trees and habitat for the threatened small-whorled pogonia. At the top of a ridge on Mt. Teneriffe is another critically imperiled forest system, a pitch pine rocky ridge that occurs in the dry tough environs of exposed bedrock ledge whipped by winter winds and the hot sun of the summer. Lyman Brook flows through the property, serving as home to native brook trout.
MMRG Land Agent Veronica Bodge said:
“The Teneriffe Mountain Forest is home to a variety of habitat types such as open fields, forests and higher elevations where low bush blueberry and bearberry patches are growing in abundance with pitch pine growing in around the patches. The peak of Teneriffe Mountain is actually the highest point in Milton! By conserving this property, MMRG is protecting high priority habitat for wildlife and ensuring that it can be enjoyed by future generations. We are sure that the Teneriffe Mountain Forest will be cherished by the Milton community and its visitors.”
In addition to its thriving ecosystem, the Teneriffe Mountain Forest includes a network of existing trails and woods roads that are treasured by hikers, bicyclists, and snowmobilers. While in need of evaluation and maintenance due to years of erosion, appropriate trails will be opened to the public so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.
MMRG now owns the property, and SELT holds the conservation easement. This allows for a double-layer of protection, ensuring the land remains conserved in perpetuity. The project was also completed through an innovative partnership with the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust, which served as the interim conservation owner allowing SELT and MMRG to finalize the fundraising for the project. MMRG is grateful to the Trust’s Board Chair, Cynthia Wyatt, who led the charge in advocating for the importance of this project.
MMRG Executive Director Jillian Eldredge remarked on the cooperation between MMRG, SELT, and the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust in conserving this important parcel:
“Moose Mountains Regional Greenways was proud to partner with our trusted friends, the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust and the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire in accomplishing this landmark project for our organization. Without the dedicated partnership of these assisting organizations, the completion of this project would not have been realized. Exceptional things are possible when we all work together and we are proud to carry this spirit of camaraderie in our work and to share its benefits with our local community.”
The theme of partnership and innovation ran deep in the Teneriffe Mountain Forest project. Duane Hyde, Land Conservation Director for SELT explained that SELT and MMRG were on the cutting edge of using funds from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for the completion of the Teneriffe Mountain Forest. Hyde notes that: “We were the ‘test subject’ and are one of the first land conservation projects in the United States to use and complete a project with RCPP funds.”
MMRG and SELT would also like to express gratitude for Senator Jeanne Shaheen, whose office was instrumental in advocating for the Teneriffe Mountain Project through the NRCS RCPP program.
“Preserving New Hampshire’s outdoor spaces ensures their natural beauty can be enjoyed by generations to come, while also boosting local economies through our outdoor recreation sector. That’s why I’m thrilled to see funds from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program used to support the conservation of the Teneriffe Mountain Forest in Milton,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue advocating on behalf of conservation efforts that protect our treasured outdoor spaces, wildlife and environment, and support New Hampshire’s robust outdoor recreation industry.”
In addition, MMRG thanks its generous foundational donors and community members for their support and funding in this process, including: Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund, Fields Pond Foundation, Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership, Milton Conservation Commission, NH State Conservation Committee Conservation License Plate Fund, Thomas W. Haas Foundation, Virginia Long and Steve Panish, Peter and Susan Goodwin, and many others.
MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, Ossipee, Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro. Learn more about our work online at www.mmrgnh.org
SELT is a nonprofit land trust with a mission to protect and sustain the significant lands in our communities for clean water, fresh food, outdoor recreation, healthy forests, and wildlife. Since 1980, the Southeast Land Trust has worked in 52 communities of southeastern New Hampshire to conserve more than 22,000 acres of land through conservation agreements and ownerships. SELT is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, visit seltnh.org.