This 1,100-acre woods is ACT’s largest conservation area. It is privately owned, and is treated as a “working forest,” meaning it is managed for timber. It is an excellent place for growing trees, and caught the eye of an investor in Northeast timberlands.
The conservation transaction involved the placing of a conservation easement on the land by the family of the late John Merrill, who had owned it for decades and wanted it protected. Then the family sold the property to the timber investor – so within minutes the land was protected and had a new owner who was seeking conserved land.
The land is rich for wildlife and has a fascinating history as a mining site. Best known is the Paddock Mine, which produced lead well into the last century. After it was abandoned, the mine became a winter hibernating spot (a “hibernaculum”) for thousands of bats. Sadly, bats have been stricken with white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has decimated the populations of many species. Because of the importance of Gardner Mountain hibernacula for bats, the conservation agreement has a “special treatment area” around the mine, and ACT works with NH Fish & Game on management guidelines for timber harvesting so surviving bats are not distrubed.
The Gardner Mountain conservation was made possible by a variety of funders including the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program. This land is always open for public use, including hunting. A snowmobile corridor trail runs through it. Thanks to the Trust for Public Land, which managed the conservation project.
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. We hope this gift might inspire others to do the same thing.”
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.
It’s a magnificent forest, and shows what you can do with good management. 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.
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.”
We plan 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 us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 823-7777.
Godfrey Memorial Conservation Area
It’s been our privilege to get to know Daphne Godfrey and work with her to conserve her beloved fields and forests in Lyman. We were very pleased to be introduced to Daphne through the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, who referred Daphne to us. One of her neighbors had conserved her land, and Daphne wanted to do the same.
Daphne proudly notes that she was born on the 45th Parallel, in Clarksville. She attributes her land ethic and love of wildlife with her father, Harry Hurlbert, a famed North Country game warden and guide. To be a good steward and caretaker of the land was “what you were supposed to do,” she says. “Conservation was always in our mind with Dad.”
Daphne and her late husband, George, bought the 160-acre former dairy farm in the 1960s. “We were gone 25 years after World War II, and I missed my mountains when we worked in Ohio,” Godfrey explains. She and George met at UNH, when she was studying to become a teacher and he was getting his doctorate in poultry genetics. They moved to the Midwest for his work, and always longed to get back to New Hampshire.
They found the perfect spot: a hill farm in Lyman with stunning views of the White Mountains, open fields, a surrounding woodlot, and plenty of wildlife. There's also a goldmine. The former Dodge Mine was one of the most active in the 19th-century heyday of the Ammonoosuc Gold District. Today the forest has reclaimed the area, making it tricky to find. But a century ago, it was crawling with activity.
Four generations of Godfreys now enjoy the farm. Daphne was careful in planning her conservation agreement with ACT to provide for a site on which her daughters or grandchildren may build their own house. This summer, she anticipates that her grandson Scott, who lives in New Mexico, will visit with his family, and that they will learn about caring for the forest through a careful timber harvest.
In addition, the Godfrey Memorial Conservation Area provides critical habitat for bats, which hibernate in caves not far from the property. Along with the Gardner Mountain easement, and the Pettyboro Farm Conservation Area, over 1,500 acres in Lyman are now permanently protected with ACT and provide key wildlife habitat, working forest land, and future productive agricultural land.
Bill and Lorraine Hanaway have been spending summers in Lyman since the mid-1980s. Avid hikers, they were drawn to the White Mountains and fell in love with the White Mountains. They found a perfect second home spot in Lyman: Property on Pettyboro Road with an antique clapboard farmhouse, expansive fields, and stately forest. Over the years they added adjacent parcels. Their generous gift of a conservation easement covers 160 acres.
Their daughter Annie, son-in-law Peter, and grandson Will, who live in Portland, Oregon, visit and love this place, which Annie will inherit. Annie and Peter talk of living in Lyman someday, perhaps using the land for agriculture of some kind. The Hanaway’s conservation easement encourages agricultural use.
Bill and Lorraine wanted to permanently protect their land so it will always be available for the many species of wildlife that call it home, and so that it may be in active farming someday. Perhaps most important, they saw their decision as a way to give back to their adopted community of Lyman. Lyman expresses in its Master Plan the strong desire to stay rural and promote agriculture, as well as protect scenic views and wildlife habitat. The Hanaway conservation easement helps achieve all of these objectives.
The Hanaway land is also a key part in the lives of bats. The NH Wildlife Action Plan ranks the Hanaway forests as important feeding areas for bats which hibernate nearby in caves on Gardner Mountain, also conserved with ACT.