Bird Hike and Trout Conservation Saturday

Spring seems late this year, but by this weekend there should be many new migratory songbirds in the woods. Everyone is invited to explore a stretch of the Ham Branch in Franconia this Saturday, May 10 to look for birds and other wildlife.

Canada warbler

Canada warbler

After the bird walk, a presentation will be offered on a new project to protect and restore habitat for eastern brook trout, New Hampshire’s native trout. The project is focused on the Ham Branch in Easton and Franconia, and the Salmon Hole Brook in Sugar Hill and Lisbon.

Both events are sponsored by the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, and are graciously hosted by ACT members Jane and Ned Brewer. The walk will start at the Brewer’s home at 71 Ridge Road in Franconia. From Bickford Hill Road, turn onto Ridge Road and the house is the first on the left. The bird walk is from 7:30  – 9 a.m. Bagels and coffee will be served. The trout presentation will be at 9 a.m.

Collaborating with ACT on the brook trout project are NH Fish & Game, the Ammonoosuc chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Plymouth State University. On Saturday, students from PSU will describe work they plan to do this summer as interns for the project.

brook trout


Last Sunday Hike Today

Meet at 1 pm. at the Foss Forest log landing on Pearl Lake Road, 1.25 miles from the Pearl Lake/Route 117 intersection, in Sugar Hill. Rain or shine. ACT holds a walk every last Sunday of the month. Friends, kids, dogs all welcome!


American marten & Canada lynx: lecture April 24

Two rare species, American marten and Canada lynx, are expanding their range in New Hampshire and it’s possible that both may be found on the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest in Easton.

ACT invites you to come hear about marten and lynx at a presentation by a NH Fish & Game wildlife biologist who has researched both animals. Jillian Kilborn will speak at the Franconia Town Hall on Thursday, April 24 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

American marten

American marten

Everyone is invited to start the evening with light refreshments, and BYOB, at Wendel’s café in Franconia at 5 p.m. In addition to seeing friends old and new, come see maps of potential new trails on the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest and see the results of our winter wildlife tracking. Members of the CJCF management committee, ACT, and the ecologist who’s been working the with the CJCF committee will be there.

Kilborn has worked for the NH Fish & Game Department since 1998 in a variety of positions including fisheries technician, bear project intern, non-game and endangered species technician, and now as the assistant regional biologist in the Lancaster office.  Her current job responsibilities include managing the 25,000-acre Connecticut Lakes Natural Area for the state as well as coordinating American marten research and management statewide.

American marten and Canada lynx appear to be expanding their distribution in New Hampshire and in nearby Vermont, and Kiilborn will talk about the recent work that has been done to document this expansion.


In Memory of Robert Starr

Our sympathies to the family of Robert Starr, a life long lover of the White Mountains and Cannon Mountain, who passed away at the age of 86. Our gratitude to his family, who  request that donations in his memory be made to ACT. You may do so by clicking here.

You may also send a check to ACT, 107 Glessner Road, Bethlehem, NH 03574. Donations are tax deductible.


“Green” Timber Tour Sunday!

Everyone interested in using horses for logging, in how timber harvesting can be done to increase the long-term value of woodlands and enhance wildlife habitat and recreational uses, and in the latest “green” standards for forest management, is invited to tour our active timber harvest this Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m.

Our Foss Forest is being harvested right now. Horses and conventional skidders are being used to drag trees out of the forest. This forest tour will start at the Foss Forest log landing on Pearl Lake Road, 1.3 miles west of the intersection of Route 117 and Pearl Lake Road in Sugar Hill.

The Foss Forest at the height of summer, 2011, when foresters and wildlife biologists recommended we plan a timber harvest.

The Foss Forest at the height of summer, 2011, when foresters and wildlife biologists recommended we plan a timber harvest.

The harvest is being managed by consulting ecologist Jesse Mohr of Native Geographic, LLC, and forester Jeff Smith of Butternut Hollow Forestry. Smith, along with logger Bruce Streeter of Orford, will on hand to discuss the goals of the timber harvest and how horses and machinery are used to the benefit of the forest.

The management plan and timber harvest are following best practices as described in “Good Forestry in the Granite State.”  The Foss Forest is a certified New Hampshire Tree Farm. It is also certified as sustainably managed by the international Forest Stewardship Council, meaning that timber from the forest may be sold into “green” markets, potentially at premium prices. The timber has also been marked to meet “Foresters for the Birds” guidelines. On the Foss property, we are trying to encourage understory and mid-story habitat for songbirds, while also promoting regeneration of valuable saw timber species.

ACT, Mohr, and Smith are all members of the Forest Guild, a national organization that promotes the “practice of responsible forestry as a means of sustaining the integrity of forest ecosystems and the human communities dependent upon them.”


Last Sunday Hikes – next one Feb. 23

Every last Sunday of the month we will host a hike on our conservation land. Details will be here, on Facebook, and in The Courier and Littleton Record. The inaugural hike of this series was from the Foss Forest parking area on Pearl Lake Road in Sugar Hill, up through the Bronson Hill Conservation Area and to the cabin (not on ACT land, but a favorite place to visit. About a dozen people and lots of dogs participated on a splendid sunny day. Thanks to Lynn Bart for sharing her photos!Image 13

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Monthly Winter Hikes Start Sunday!

Looking for a few friends, old and new, to enjoy the winter woods? Then please join us  on an easy winter walk at our  Foss Forest in Sugar Hill on Sunday, January 26 at 1 p.m.


Everyone is welcome!

The hike will start from the Pearl Lake Road parking area, which is located 1.3 miles west of the intersection of Route 117 and Pearl Lake Road in Sugar Hill.  Going from Sugar Hill toward Lisbon, the access is on the left, and will be identified by the hike leader’s red Toyota Prius.  Coming from Lisbon, the access is on the right.

We’re counting on snow by then, so you’ll want to bring your snowshoes or boot Trax, children, dogs, and cameras, and be prepared to be out for about 90 minutes. This will be an easy hike through moderate terrain with great views.

The hike on January 26 will be the first of a series of outings on ACT conservation land to be held on the last Sunday of each month. Now is a wonderful time to explore the terrain of the forest and to enjoy the views, unimpeded by foliage and blackflies! With snow it’s also a great time for animal tracking.

For more information, contact ACT via email at or call 838-6520.


News! Outstanding Gift to ACT and the North Country: the Gale Family Forest

A remarkably generous gift of land has been established as the Gale Family Forest in Lyman.

ACT received the donation of 167 acres from Christopher and Pamela Gale of Charlottesville, Va.

“We love this land, and 50 years ago when we bought it we thought we’d build our retirement home there,” said Chris Gale. “But when we realized that was not in the cards, we wanted it to be taken care of and loved by someone else, and ACT showed us that they were it.”

A remote beaver pond on the Gale Family Forest.

A remote beaver pond on the Gale Family Forest.

The land is mostly forested but also has a hay field high above Partridge Lake, which appears in the distance. The forest has been managed for timber over the years, most recently by New England Forestry Consultants. A snowmobile trail and many walking trails run through it. The property is located at the corner of Hurd Hill and Gannon roads in Lyman, near the town boundary with Littleton. The land was once farmed by the Hurd family, and later the Hubbard family.

“This is a magnificent forest, and shows what you can do with good management,” said ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown. “This will be an excellent place to show that you can grow good timber, have wonderful recreational trails, and an abundance of wildlife. It’s really interesting topography shaped by the glaciers, with eskers running throughout and some unusual plants and tree species living there. We look forward to doing animal tracking this winter and bird and amphibian surveys in the spring to see what’s out there.”

Grafton County Forester Dave Falkenham helps ACT assess the timber on the proposed gift of land, in June 2013.

Grafton County Forester Dave Falkenham helps ACT assess the timber on the proposed gift of land, in June 2013.

The Gale Family Forest will be a long-term source of income for ACT, Brown explained. “In addition to this being a wonderful place for people to enjoy, this is a fantastic gift for ACT, as over the years proceeds from timber harvested here will help fund other conservation projects. This is truly a gift that will keep on giving.”

ACT plans to create parking for walking trail access to the property, and will develop a trails map. Anyone interested in helping with the GIS work and trail mapping is encouraged to contact ACT at  or call 823-7777.


ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown walking the land in summer, 2013, imagining what a great place this will be for ACT.

ACT Executive Director Rebecca Brown walking the land in summer 2013, imagining what a great place this will be for ACT.


4th Graders Visit Cooley-Jericho

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Fourth graders from the Lafayette Regional School in Franconia recently visited the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest to learn about New Hampshire’s logging history. This was a great use of the new community forest led by County Forester Dave Falkenham.


Using a Biltmore stick to measure tree diameter.

The 18 students from Garret Ferguson’s class learned how to estimated the circumference of a tree using a Biltmore stick, which ties into classroom learning on pi and calculating area and volume.  They also learned about the how tree species grow back after harvesting.

Having local students use the forest as an outdoor classroom as well as for recreation is a huge reason why we created the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest.

We invite teachers from all the area’s schools to consider the Forest as a place for studying natural history and the sciences as well as the arts!



Cooley-Jericho Celebration

Early morning clouds lifted and it turned into a gorgeous day Oct. 13 for the inaugural hike on the new Cooley-Jericho Community Forest. Over 50 people, plus assorted canines, hiked up two routes and met at Cole Hill, the highest point on the forest. This is New Hampshire’s newest community forest and the first in the nation to involve four separate towns and a land trust – ACT – all working together to make it happen.

Later in the day many of the hikers plus a whole lot of other people gathered for a splendid community potluck supper at the Easton Town Hall.

More photos are at

Young gentlemen Bordac and Kenerson Cooley-Jericho Community ForestCooley-Jericho Community ForestCooley-Jericho Community Forest

Cooley-Jericho Community Forest