Two cold water streams, floodplains, wetlands, and forest with great mountain biking and hiking trails – no wonder acquiring the Lawrence property was a longtime goal of the Franconia Conservation Commission. With help from ACT, the town has finally purchased this 117-acre parcel situated near Lovett’s Inn. The property is accessible from the trail system at the Inn, from the town’s Fox Hill Park, and from Old County Road.
ACT negotiated the purchase of the property from the Lawrence family, who had owned it for decades and at one time had full development plans drawn up. The land had been put back on the market in 2015. ACT secured funding from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (MEF) to add to the Conservation Commission’s own funds to make the purchase. ACT will hold a conservation easement on the property, ensuring that it is forever protected for habitat and recreation.
The Conservation Commission is exploring various access options and parking, and will create a management plan in the next year. ACT will continue to work with the Commission on management and trail planning, access, and securing funding for any improvements. Snowshoe hikes will be offered this winter, and hikes and bird walks next spring. Some unusual warbler species have already been spotted there.
According to Kim Cowles, Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Franconia, “Working with ACT was the best decision we made for this venture. Rebecca’s ability to negotiate with the seller and her knowledge and ability to acquire the grant was key to the whole process. The Lawrence Property is a beautiful piece of land, located in the heart of Franconia, easily accessible from Fox Hill Park. There is a wonderful trail network already established and the wildlife is abundant. We look forward to many years of land stewardship with ACT.”