ACT Founding Member:
Carl D. Martland
When we purchased an old farm house and six acres of land in Sugar Hill back in 1997, I expected that I would spend my weekends and vacations hiking in the White Mountains, something I had been doing on and off since I was eight years old. All we wanted was a place close to the mountains with a nice view, enough room for my wife Nancy to do some gardening, and access to a country lane for afternoon walks.
Little did I expect how much I would come to love this land, the trees and the wildflowers, the fireflies, butterflies, and dragonflies, and the birds and all the other wildlife. By the time we closed on the property, it was a gorgeous day in mid-July. The farm pond of my memory had somehow tripled in size; the fields, so drab, depressed and depressing in early May, had somehow become filled with wildflowers and blueberries. I was hooked. I immediately began making trails through the meadows and on into the woods, and I started making notes about interesting things that I discovered in and around the pond. I soon discovered that our land backed up onto hundreds of acres of forests, and I spent many hours over the next several months making trails out into this wilderness – which is what this seemed to be to someone whose North Country experience had been confined to the well-traveled trails of the White Mountains.
One day in 1998, I was surprised to find a rough trail marked by surveying tape cut through the woods and up along the slopes of Bronson Hill. It turned out that 80 acres of land was being sub-divided with the goal of turning this wild area into another second-home development. With Rebecca Brown, Harry Reid, Rufus Perkins, and other neighbors, we decided that we should purchase this land to keep it from being developed. My wife Nancy was the first to pledge a major contribution toward buying the land and others pitched in. We also decided to create a land trust that would own the property and help others in the region protect lands important to them. This organization is now the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust. The property was called Foss Forest to recognize the family that had most recently owned it. Today, ACT manages Foss Forest for recreation and forestry, and I still enjoy my walks through these woods.
Nancy and I eventually purchased two additional properties along Pearl Lake Road because we wanted to preserve the wetlands and the forests and to maintain the rural character of this scenic byway. I now was able to make more trails, document more wildlife sightings, open up young forests to promote the growth of sugar maples, clear around stone walls, and, in general, enjoy being in the woods more than I ever thought possible.
Why do I believe in ACT and why do I contribute to ACT? Conservation of local wild lands will allow people for generations to come to enjoy what I have enjoyed, to see what I have seen, and to find peace and solitude in beautiful settings scattered close to home and throughout the North Country.
Lands Committee Member: Chris Nicodemus
The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust is a fresh and emerging organization that has taken a lead in the Ammonoosuc watershed. It makes responsible land management and conservation competitive alternatives for land holders seeking to reduce their land holdings and yet assure responsible stewardship of their land.
This country has much available land, but all too often, important lands are either neglected or abused. ACT is becoming an important resource in teaching our community responsible land use and helping local citizens preserve the unique beauty and resources we are blessed with here in the North Country.
Our region has an opportunity to become a national example of responsible and successful economic development in the emerging information age economy of the future. ACT is providing leadership by example by helping improve and protect our area’s natural resources, which literally arose from the ashes of the first great economic boom: early industrial period following initial settlement.
We are mid-way between the population centers of Boston and Montreal and will only be feeling increasing population pressure in future years. The region can remain both a vacation destination and a balanced and diverse economy in the future if we act with foresight. ACT is important in helping achieve this through its stewardship of our waterways and the nurturing of our local agricultural resources and forests. It’s vital that visitors to our region who decide to stay here, and that the next generation growing up here, understand and embrace this land ethic
ACT is a unique leadership organization because it is a small, grassroots, and hands-on, where efforts by individual volunteers have significant impact.
Sustaining Member: Lynn Bart
I sometimes write a short poem after I visit a beautiful place, and I wrote this after hiking the Community Forest.
I’ve been visiting the North Country all my life, and I finally moved to Franconia in 2000. Seeing this mountainous landscape every day changed me from a studio painter to a ‘plein air’ or on location painter. I work with watercolors and oils to quickly capture a scene with rich, soft colors that match the NH Mountains.
My ACT sustaining membership reminds me each month that I’m supporting a cause that is very important to me.
The New Community Forest
It’s new to us
but centuries old,
to save a world
we trade our gold.
Moose and bears
have called this home
and now we do.
Bless all land stewards
who believe and care,
There’s just one Earth
we all must share.
- Lynn Bart
Sustaining Member: Alice Kay Reid
I’m a Washington State resident now, but I grew up an Army brat and lived all over the world before I turned 12 years old. The one place that I always could count on as my rock was my grandparents’ farm on Sugar Hill. We spent much time there when my father was stationed in remote areas, as well as when my father was stationed between different assignments, and our family finally settled down there permanently.
Even as a child I recognized the unique beauty of northern NH, I loved waking up in the morning and seeing the White Mountains. The region’s unique and picturesque towns, mountains, farmlands, and people will always be a part of my heart.
I strongly support the work that ACT does to preserve the beautiful North Country for us now, and for future generations forever. Recently ACT started offering sustaining memberships, which I quickly signed up for. A sustaining membership is a practical and easy method of donation for me, and I really appreciate the opportunity to support this incredible organization now, and well into its future.