Trails Bureau to Acquire 96.64 Acres in Jericho Mt.
September 25, 2013
by Edith Tucker
The Berlin Reporter
BERLIN — One of the final
steps in a “win-win” land exchange was taken last week. A “yes” vote at
the Sept. 18 meeting of Governor and Council in Windham authorized the state
Bureau of Trails to purchase 96.64 acres from The Society for the Protection of
NH Forest (SPNHF) for up to $48,300, with all the monies to come from Snowmobile
and OHRV Funds, to allow the acquisition of one of the last land-locked
in-holdings within Jericho Mountain State Park.
“The property has been a desired acquisition by the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) since 2006 and is also a parcel the U.S. Forest Service would like to see in DRED ownership,” according to the explanation provided by the Bureau of Trails. ”This project is a cooperative venture between DRED, the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) and SPNHF and has been worked on for the past four years.”
SPNHF will formally take title to the property from the WMNF in an exchange of lands, and the nonprofit conservation organization will then sell the parcel to DRED in Jan. 2014.
Copies of old deeds that are included in the backup material indicate that this land was part of a far larger tract taken by condemnation proceedings in 1919 by the United States for the White Mountain National Forest. Located on the headwaters of Jericho Creek, these lands were acquired by IP in Sept. 1918 from timber baron George Van Dyke and others.
This latest transaction is part of the Bartlett Mountain Land Exchange in which nearly 100 acres on the northern slope of Black Crescent Mountain in Berlin was exchanged for 76.5 aces, known as the Cassidy Tract, on the northern slope of Bartlett Mountain in Bartlett that borders WMNF and Forest Society lands.
When the deal is completely done, the Bartlett tract will be added to the WMNF and the Berlin tract will be sold to the State of New Hampshire with SPNHF acting as both facilitator and a pass-through.
The land exchange is designed to promote multiple, but differing, uses of both the WMNF and Jericho Mountain State Park by allowing for consistent land management activities across the landscape, Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner pointed out.
Adding acreage on Bartlett Mountain will protect high-elevation, largely undisturbed wildlife habitat plus uncommon rocky ridge habitat; provide additional protection to the East Branch of the Saco River watershed by protecting the headwaters of Wilson Brook; and protect and ensure public access to Merriman State Forest, WMNF, and SPNHF lands by creating a continuous corridor of protected land running from Hurricane Mountain Road up the trail to Kearsarge North, across Bartlett Mountain and along the Town of Bartlett right-of-way to East Branch Road in Intervale.
Map of Jericho Mountain State Park showing the location of the WMNF parcel that
will be included in the park.