Residents give their opinion on USVLT’s Dundee Community Forest | Local News

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JACKSON – Conservation, resource protection and a good plan for wood management and recreational use were some of the issues that were voiced during a public listening session hosted by Upper Saco Valley Land Trust for the 1,172 acre Dundee Community Forest Project in Bartlett and Jackson last Thursday.

The meeting took place outside on a cool evening behind the White Community Center in Jackson on Thursday evening with about 60 people participating in the process.

The meeting started at 6 p.m. and ended around 8:30 p.m.

After being treated to hot pizza, coffee, tea and hot apple cider, participants split into seven separate groups to brainstorm, with facilitators writing their comments on a poster.

Community Development Consultant Courtney Wrigley of CJW Consulting LLC of Intervale oversaw the process.

After developing these talking points and writing them on the sheets, these sheets were then brought to the main tent, which was loaned to the group by the Jackson Grammar School, who use it as an outdoor classroom space.

The subgroup leaders then read their findings to the entire audience under the large tent, with the group members sipping hot coffee and hot cider to relax during the evening.

“I thought it was a great process,” USVLT Executive Director WilliamAbbott said after last Thursday night’s session. “We didn’t hear anything that we didn’t expect to hear about the intended uses and plans, but I was surprised how aligned everyone was.”

Next, he said CJW’s Wrigley will compile the results into a report to be presented to the USVLT board at its meeting later this month.

“This report will influence the first draft of the multi-resource electronic management plan that will be presented for approval to the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, which will review the plan by the end of the year – and we also hope have our fundraiser for the purchase made by the end of the year.

“After that,” Abbott said, “it will take due diligence for the federal grant (Forest Legacy) and we will complete the survey of the property, and hopefully we (the USVLT) will become the owners of the property. properties come June.

Since 2000, the Land Trust has conserved over 12,000 acres of habitat, managed forests and prime agricultural land.

Over 75 projects have been completed, preserving 16 miles of frontage along the Saco River and its tributaries. The process mobilized hundreds of landowners and supporters, who united around a bold and optimistic vision for the future.

The Dundee Community Forest Project aims to conserve areas in Bartlett and Jackson for sustainable forestry, outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat.

An advisory board is to be formed that will function similarly to the advisory board that assists stakeholders in the Pine Hill Community Forest.

“We have received interest from eight people who would like to serve. They will likely start meeting next year and that will allow the public to continue to participate, ”Abbott said.

According to Abbott, the Dundee Forest property consists of parcels in Bartlett and Jackson that have been “put together and carefully managed” by the Beal family for the past 50 years.

The property consists of 16 lots spread over three large non-contiguous plots.

USVLT plans to manage Dundee Forest as a community forest in partnership with the towns of Bartlett and Jackson.

It will be further protected by a conservation easement which will be held by the Forestry and Lands Division of NH. The Dundee Community Forest will be open to the public and, as a working forest, will provide logs to local sawmills, create jobs in the forest products sector and provide income to towns.

Abbott explained that the community forest will likely house new trails, protect many rare plant sites, protect areas of old growth, and buffer many headwater streams, including the source of Wildcat Creek, a wild river. and scenic designated by the federal government.

Abbott said the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust is in the final days of its 20+ year fundraising campaign, which includes completing funding for the Dundee Community Forest and the Pine Hill Community Forest in Conway.

By the end of the month, he said the trust has a large matching grant, which means any remaining campaign donations will be matched one by one (up to a total of $ 150,000).

As of October 4, more than 97% of the campaign’s goal of $ 5.97 million had been met. The total campaign goal includes $ 3.07 million in government grants for the Dundee and Pine Hill community forest expansion projects, plus $ 2.9 million in private philanthropy.

From now until October, all donations will be matched 1: 1 up to $ 150,000. By the time the match is reached, Confidence will have reached its overall goal for the campaign.

“We have received several donations since the matching grant was announced a week and a half ago,” said Abbott, including an anonymous donation of $ 50,000; another for $ 15,000 and a third for $ 10,000 – leaving the group only $ 75,000 to reach the goal of $ 150,000 within the next month.

JACKSON – The themes expressed by the sub-groups present at the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust listening session last Thursday at the Whitney Community Center reflected the objectives of wanting to protect and not overexploit the resource and to maintain the integrity of the neighborhoods close to the three plots. .

The summary of the first subgroup included:

• respect the quality of life of existing neighbors. Make small-scale changes;

• maintain the character of Dundee Road;

• new trails and recreational access (non-motorized use; open to hiking, mountain biking and skiing);

• minimal cutting of wood;

• open to ski touring; and

• find a balance between community character and new recreational activities.

Another group’s summary of comments was:

• move forward with caution and clarity;

• find out how to keep it protected while allowing responsible access;

• make sure it is a sanctuary;

• consider the suitability / type / location of the recreational use; and

• promote a resilient ecology for future generations and wildlife.

Summary of another subgroup:

• parking and access address;

• use but not overexploit resources;

• protect flora and fauna – do not compromise on use;

• have a wood management plan; and

• protect the heritage of the region.

The summary of a fourth group included:

• recreation: well managed and designated;

• maintain the spirit of what people love about the land and the region; and

The summary of the fifth group included:

• protect sensitive areas;

• provide parking lots and access points;

• learn from other similar community forest groups regarding lessons in use and protection;

• dispersed impacts / uses;

• have a plan for the historic Ham House located on Dundee Road; and

• Address traffic problems on Dundee Road and infrastructure needs.

The summary of the sixth group included:

• top priority: practicing forest ecology to preserve old-growth forest, the watershed and wildlife habitat;

• leisure: passive versus active, management of access and overuse; fund search and rescue and provide bathrooms, etc.

• economy: the forest must be actively managed in support of other objectives “not just to make a lot of money”; and

• be partners and collaborators.

• protection of natural resources: balance inventory versus uses and biodiversity;

• carbon market: preserving the health of forests compared to commercial gains;

• recreation: (maintain good relations with neighboring landowners; synchronicity; address infrastructure to support uses; (not contiguous forest therefore) different management areas for different plots.


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