The core of our work at ACT is protecting land in New Hampshire's North Country. We are excited to announce these new projects that have great value for people and wildlife in our region.
funding to Conserve Peters Farm in Bath
The cream rises to the top – and a family dairy farm in Bath has earned support from the highly competitive state conservation funding program.
ACT is honored to be working with Gary and Sandy Peters of Bath, who have long dreamed of conserving their family farm. Support from the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) will go a long way toward making that possible.
ACT is also getting support for the conservation project from the Bath Conservation Commission and the Russell Foundation.
“I don’t want houses growing here,” Gary Peters says emphatically when he surveys the exquisite views from the top of a pasture.
In addition to being a working dairy farm, the Peters make maple syrup and sell eggs. Both Gary and Sandy are natives of Bath and their families have deep roots in the area. Gary has long been involved in the Grafton County Conservation District and chairs the district commission. He has also served on the Grafton County Farm Advisory Board and the NH Milk Sanitation Board. Sandy is active with the Bath Historical Society and was involved with 4-H for over 30 years. She notes that she is the “chief babysitter for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as other children in the neighborhood.”
The Peters bought their home farm on Goose Lane in 1982, after leasing it for several years, and later added a neighboring farm to their holdings. All told, the Peters Farm is over 200 acres of rolling pastures, cropland, and forest. In 2008 the Peters were honored by the Green Pastures Program as the NH Dairy Farm of the Year. With the farm conserved, they will continue to live there, own the land, grow corn and hay, tend bees and chickens, make syrup, raise cows, and sell milk.
Forty-three acres of the property are identified as high-quality habitat, much of it mapped in the state Wildlife Action Plan as highest-ranked Habitat in the Biological Region. In fact, fields on the Peters farm have been identified as some of the highest-quality examples of grassland bird habitat in the state. The property also includes over 3,900 feet of mostly forested first- and second-order streams and 10 acres of wetlands and vernal pools. Nearly a half-mile of maintained snowmobile trail crosses the property, and is open for public use.
ACT will be working with the Peters over the next few months to create a conservation easement that forever protects the land’s natural resources and scenic views and encourages the Peters and future generations of farmers to make a living there.
Brebner Property: Ammonoosuc River and forest
The Brebner family is protecting their 203-acre property in Bethlehem with a conservation easement, so they can keep the land in their family and prevent future development along this stretch of the Ammonoosuc River. The Clean Water / Healthy Trout initiative has identified this project as a priority because it provides:
- An important cold-water fishery for brook trout and other species
- ¾ mile of shoreline buffers along the Ammonoosuc River to protect water quality
- 7,500 feet of streams, including Black Brook and Barrett Brook
- 13 acres of wetlands
- A new parking area near the state rail trail to provide access for fishing and recreation
- An outdoor classroom for local schools
Walling: Connecticut RIver and farmland
Rick Walling and Camille Wharey of Bath are protecting their 150-acre property on the Connecticut River with a conservation easement. This will ensure that this active farm, established in 1805, will never be developed. The Walling property provides:
- Habitat for the federally-endangered dwarf wedge mussel along 2,100 feet of shoreline
- Important grassland managed for nesting birds
- 7.4 acres of shoreline forest to protect water quality, with another 5 acres to be restored
- Streams and wetlands, including vernal pools
- Rare upland forest communities
- Protection of the rural character of the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway (Route 135)