Conservation Easement at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center Approved
GREENFIELD, NH - This week, Governor John Lynch and the Executive Council voted in favor of establishing a U.S. Forest Legacy designation of the land surrounding Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center that will create a conservation easement on 1,226 forested acres in the towns of Greenfield, Bennington and Francestown.
Under the easement, the majority of the Center’s campus, including the accessible trail system, will be forever conserved and open to the public for hiking, fishing, hunting and more. The property is contiguous with the Francestown Town Forest, creating miles of protected land that supports wildlife, ensures a scenic landscape and helps to maintain portions of rivers and watersheds that support local public water supplies. Crotched Mountain retains ownership but cannot develop the property except for outdoor recreation activities. The Center will also be able to continue sustainable forestry on the property, which has been a certified tree farm for over 25 years. The State of NH will hold and monitor the easement. The easement is the culmination of a nine-year project that included a natural resources inventory, an Outdoor Recreation Master Plan, and extensive planning with surrounding communities.
“We are proud to be able to conserve and share this beautiful land for generations to come,” stated Donald L. Shumway, president and CEO of Crotched Mountain. “We are especially thrilled that on this property we have created the world’s longest accessible trail in a mountainside environment that is built to universal design standards so that everyone, including people with limited mobility, can enjoy the outdoors.
“We could not have arrived at this celebratory moment without the active help and support of many individuals and organizations,” Mr. Shumway continued. “We would like to thank the Forest Legacy Fund of the USDA Forest Service and the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) for grants of $2.2 million and $88,000, respectively. These federal and state grants made this easement possible. We are extremely grateful to State Senator Bob Odell who shepherded this project through its final steps to gain legislative approval in New Hampshire.
"We extend our deepest appreciation to our conservation partner in this project, The Trust for Public Land. Without its expertise and perseverence over many years we would not have arrived at this moment. We also want to thank current and former U.S. Senators Gregg, Sununu and Shaheen and U.S. Representative Charlie Bass, as well as Governor Lynch, for their dedicated support. We also extend thanks to the many community organizations and towns that enthusiastically supported this project. They include the towns of Greenfield, Bennington and Francestown, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, the Monadnock Conservancy, the Harris Center, Todd Land Use Consultants of New Boston, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Appalachian Mountain Club. And finally we could not have achieved this without the support of this Monadnock community that we call home," said Shumway.
About Crotched Mountain
Crotched Mountain Foundation is a charitable organization founded in 1953 with a mission to serve individuals with disabilities and their families, embracing personal choice and development, and building communities of mutual support. Crotched Mountain provides specialized education, rehabilitation, community and residential support services for more than 3,000 people throughout New England and New York.
About the Forest Legacy Program (FLP)
The Forest Legacy Program, a Federal program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands from being converted to nonforest uses. Designed to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands, FLP is an entirely voluntary program that helps landowners establish conservation easements on their land.
About The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP)
LCHIP is an independent state authority that makes matching grants to NH communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve New Hampshire’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. LCHIP works in partnership with New Hampshire municipalities and non-profits to acquire land and cultural resources, or interests therein, with local, regional and statewide significance. The legislatively mandated mission of the program is to ensure the perpetual contribution of these resources to the economy, environment and quality of life in New Hampshire.
About The Trust for Public Land (TPL)
The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. In New Hampshire, TPL has conserved more than 225,000 acres and raised more than $100 million for conservation since 1992. For more information visit www.tpl.org.