ACT received a remarkably generous donation of 95 acres from Sugar Hill residents Doug and Martha (MacCornack) Evelyn, and Frederick MacCornack of Vachon Island, Wash., Martha’s brother. The MacCornack family has ties to the area dating to the 18th century.
The property is located off Hadley Road in Sugar Hill. It is mostly wooded, with some alder swamp. Salmon Hole Brook runs through it. Old apple trees abound, providing food for bear, deer, partridge, and turkeys. It is also a well-used stopover place for migrating birds. ACT will manage the land for high-quality timber and wildlife habitat, and plans to improve some existing skidder trails for public hiking and cross-country skiing. Hunting will be allowed with written permission from ACT. The land is adjacent to ACT’s Foss Forest and the Bronson Hill Conservation Area, making a contiguous conserved area of over 300 acres.
Martha and Rick’s paternal grandparents had owned land on Post Road since the 1920s, and in 1946, their mother, Eleanor MacCornack, bought 120 adjacent acres from farmer Harold Smith. Ellie MacCornack, her husband Don, and their children lived in the Smith farmhouse during the summers. Martha and Rick fondly remember “golden summers” spent in Sugar Hill. Martha is very pleased that her own children also had the opportunity to spend summers here, and that her grandchildren are now frequent visitors.
The MacCornack family traces it local roots to 1783, when Jeremiah Hutchins operated a tavern in the Bath Upper Village. Martha was named for her great-great-grandmother, Martha Ellen Hutchins, Jeremiah’s granddaughter. Martha’s ancestors eventually left the area to live, but family members continued coming back for summers and sometimes longer. Her maternal grandfather was an architect of the old Littleton Hospital, and her father graduated from Dartmouth. Her mother graduated from Smith. Her parents loved the outdoors, and especially skiing and hiking.
“Our parents believed in giving back,” say Martha and Rick. “They wanted to see the land maintained as it was and not built up,” Martha says of her parents. “They were opposed to selling it for gain. By donating it, we are completing their wishes. And we also look at it as our legacy for the future.”
Doug now serves on the ACT board of directors.