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Newfound Land Conservation Partnership hosting summer hikes


July 11, 2012
REGION—As an extension of the Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA), the Newfound Land Conservation Partnership (NLCP) has been working to promote the conservation of forest lands, grass lands, wildlife habitats, water resources and the rural way of life in the Newfound Lake region.

The NLCP was founded in 2009 to "establish a local resource center to educate landowners and communities about conservation options in the Newfound region." Through workshops and other venues of education, NLCP has worked on a handful of projects since 2009.

"By putting together this group and putting on workshops, we have completed four projects, and have another 500 acre piece of land with an easement donated to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests," said Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests Capital campaign Specialist Martha Twombly. "We are also working on a campaign here in Hebron this summer."

Though the partnership tries to educate property owners, typically though workshops and informational meetings, NLCP has decided to mix things up this summer and invite the public to "Explore Conservation Land in Your Watershed" though a series of summer hikes.

"We thought that this summer, instead of funning workshops, we would go hiking in conservation land, and that has been pretty well received," said Twombly. "We have gotten reservations already, and we have done a hike with Forrester John Martin, who is doing some selective cutting on a property in Bridgewater. It was really great to go and see an active forestry job."

The first hike took place on June 16, and was through the Emily Crane Shelterwood Harvest, where Martin's selective cutting was to regenerate the red oak population in the area using "group selection" and "patch cutting."

The next hike will be hosted by Twombly on July 12 on Plymouth Mountain. The four mile round trip hike will be of moderate to strenuous difficulty, and will focus on wildlife habitat, logging and ecology.

"I am going to lead the next one, and it has great views of Winni and Squam," said Twombly. "We also have a wildlife tracking team, and Plymouth Mountain is one of the places we like to go regularly to see who is coming and going. There is lots and lots of moose sign, bear sign, fisher, bobcat, coyote, fox and all of the above. It Is really fun to see and on this hike I will show signs."

All nine of the summer hikes are through conservation land, and will allow curious landowners and community members to learn more about conservation and explore some of the hidden gems of New Hampshire.

"Each of these hikes are to a conservation area, so we will talk about the importance of conservation and show people some beautiful places," said Twombly. "New Hampshire has so many hidden, beautiful places with incredible views."

All of these walks are also to show that conservation doesn't mean that land can't be used, but that it will be use for the intension that the family purchased it and to protect the land from urban development.

"We hope to get people out to see the land and talk about conservation," said Twombly. "To talk about resources and how conservation helps the family do what they want with their land. If you have an easement on your land you can still farm and you can still do logging. You can still use the land but it helps protect it from future sub-division and development."

For a piece of land to be considered for conservation, the property must have conservation value and public benefit.

"Conservation values are going to be farming, fisheries, bird habitat, water resource protection; that kind of thing," said Twombly. "Public benefit besides being generally good for protecting resources often includes access to ski or walking trails. It doesn't require public access, but they often do."

For more information about land conservation or summer hikes, e mail info@newfoundlake.org, www.forestsociety.org or www.lrct.org.

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