Conservation Easement at Crotched Mountain's Sunnyfield Farm
Peterborough & Greenfield, NH - The Harris Center for Conservation Education and the Crotched Mountain Foundation are pleased to announce the protection of Sunnyfield Farm land on Old Greenfield Road (Route 136) in Peterborough through two conservation easements. Sunnyfield farm is owned and operated by Crotched Mountain, which generously donated the easements. A total of fifty-five acres is included in the easements that allow for the continuation of agricultural activities, forest management and recreation.
The recently conserved lands include 12 acres of prime farmland of local importance. In addition to conserving agricultural values, the easement protects riparian habitat and scenic qualities. Riparian areas are the interface between water (lakes, rivers, and streams) and land, as a result they provide habitat for a wide variety of plant species and wildlife. The property has over 4,000 feet of frontage on the Contoocook River and Bogle Brook as well as ten acres of forest in the primary floodplain.
The Peterborough Open Space Committee has been interested in the conservation of properties in this area since 2007. Ed Henault, the current chair of the committee reports, “We’re delighted; the Contoocook River corridor is a conservation focus area. The easements conserve significant river shore land as well as farmland associated with Sunnyfield Farm's protected lands. It's great news to end the year with.”
Crotched Mountain’s Sunnyfield Farm produces organic meats, dairy products and vegetables for sale to the community. Through its connection to the programs at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center it also supports the attainment of therapeutic, educational and vocational skills of people with disabilities. As part of its experiential learning and rehabilitation programs, students, patients and adult clients help to plant, harvest and sell vegetables that are used in Crotched Mountain’s programs and help to care for the farm’s resident chickens, cows and lambs.
This is the second easement that Crotched Mountain has placed on its land in recent months. Earlier this fall, the Center permanently protected 1,226 acres on its Greenfield campus for forestry, fishing, camping and hiking. The Greenfield easement includes a 2.8 mile trail system designed to accommodate wheelchairs for a remote backcountry experience.
“These easements represent Crotched Mountain’s strategic vision to connect people of all abilities together in vital outdoor activities that sustain everyone,” said Donald L. Shumway, president and CEO of Crotched Mountain. “We are proud to be creating a legacy that honors and preserves community agriculture, open space, forestry and recreational activities that are accessible to all. The Sunnyfield Farm has been part of Peterborough for generations and we’re pleased that it will remain a treasured resource.”
The Sunnyfield Farm easements contribute to a contiguous 250-acre conserved cluster that includes conservation easements to the Town of Peterborough and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. This cluster is less than 1,000 feet from a large 1,400 acre conservation area that extends all the way to Greenfield State Park. This includes a 536-acre conservation easement the Harris Center holds on Otter Brook Farm land, the largest conservation easement in Peterborough. The easement is also part of the Temple to Crotched corridor, a region-wide area of protected lands that spans thousands of acres between Temple Mountain and Crotched Mountain. According to Meade Cadot, land program director at the Harris Center, conservation clusters such as these can provide better protection for wildlife diversity, viewsheds and water resources than isolated pockets of open space.
About The Harris Center for Conservation Education
The Harris Center for Conservation Education is dedicated to promoting understanding and respect for our natural environment through education of all ages, direct protection and exemplary stewardship of the region’s natural resources, and programs that encourage active participation in the great outdoors. For more information about the Harris Center for Conservation Education, please visit www.harriscenter.org.
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. For more information about Crotched Mountain, please visit www.crotchedmountain.org.