August 20, 2012
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) has announced a major campaign to stop Northern Pass in its tracks. By carefully analyzing the recent land sales and signing agreements with four key North Country Landowners, they have crafted a way to block an alternative route being pursued by Hydro Quebec, Northeast Utilities and PSNH.
The Forest Society’s Trees Not Towers campaign is the beginning of a strategy to ensure that an industrialized corridor with multiple transmission lines does not happen to New Hampshire’s lands and scenic vistas.
The Coos County parcels involved in the Trees Not Towers campaign include three in Stewartstown and one in Columbia. The largest parcel includes 967 acres owned by the McAllaster family, who have been on the land for generations.
They operate a dairy farm and rely on the land for hay and pasture. The McAllaster Farm is also a certified Tree Farm, and includes a maple sugaring operation. A major snowmobile trail maintained by the Colebrook Ski-Bees crosses the McAllaster land, providing access to between Colebrook, Coleman State Park and Pittsburg.
The Cohos hiking trail also makes use of the McAllaster property. The height of land on Mudgett Mountain provides spectacular views west into Vermont, south to the White Mountains and east to Dixville Notch, Table Rock and the Balsams. In January 2012, the Forest Society successfully worked to conserve the Balsams landscape.
Immediately west of the McAllaster Farm is more than 500 acres owned by Green Acre Woodlands. The parcel sits high upon North Hill, offering 360-degree views. Two smaller parcels owned by Lynne Placey of Stewartstown are key to disrupting the path Northern Pass is attempting to use and protect the flank of Holden Hill. The fourth parcel, 300 acres owned by the Lewis family, links the southern boundary of the Balsams property to the northern boundary of Nash Stream State Forest.
There are two critical goals that must be reached before this plan can be put into place. First, SPNHF must raise $2.5 million to close the transactions. Second, they must secure these funds by October 31, 2012.
This is our chance as snowmobilers to step up and help protect the views we cherish and the trails that we ride. If every snowmobiler who registered in New Hampshire gave $50, SPNHF would easily meet their goal. This is a small price to pay to keep the North Country as a unique and special place and as a bonus, keep the existing transmission corridors south of Coos County from being expanded.
SPNHF was kind enough to share the maps below so you can see how this plan has been put together.
There is a 6-minute video that can be seen HERE that shows some of the views from these parcels that will be protected.
To make a credit card donation, please click HERE to access the Trees Not Towers campaign on the SPNHF website.
Map 1 - Overview of
Apparent Route Being Pursued for Northern Pass.
Parcels shown in Yellow are under agreement for conservation easements and the target of this campaign.
Note that if Northern Pass is successful, the route will go south through Errol, Millsfield and Dummer
in the Phillips Brook Valley, expanding the wind tower power line and potentially impacting trails in that area.
Map 2 - Close up view
Apparent Route Through Clarksville.
Note that the Washburn Family Forest that was protected in 2008 forms the first
barrier to the power line route.
Map 3 - Close up view
Apparent Route Through Stewartstown.
Assuming Towers Not Trees campaign is successful, it would block
the Northern Pass route in two different places in Stewartstown.
Editors Note: I made my donation to this campaign on 8/20/2012. Please join me in supporting this worthwhile cause.