In its fifteenth round of grant-making in the fall of 2021, the Quabbin to Cardigan Land Conservation Grants Program awarded grants totaling $35,000 to five projects that will conserve a total of approximately 856 acres of land. 85% of the acres protected are located within areas identified as conservation priorities in the Q2C land conservation plan – falling within either “core conservation focus areas” and/or critical “Connectivity Corridors”. The total value of the projects funded in 2021 (land and easement value plus transaction and other costs) is conservatively estimated at more than $1.1 million. The projects are briefly summarized below.

The two-state Quabbin-to-Cardigan region spans one hundred miles from the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts northward along the western spine of New Hampshire to the boundary of the White Mountain National Forest. Encompassing approximately two million acres, the region is one of the largest remaining areas of intact forest in central New England and is a key headwater of both the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers.

The Q2C conservation grants are guided by a strategic plan that prioritizes the region’s most ecologically significant forests and key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation. All projects are on a strictly voluntary, willing-seller/donor basis. The funded projects are:

Woodburn-Scott, Warwick, MA

Applicant: Massachusetts Audubon
Acres to be Conserved:  64
Protection Method:  Land Purchase
Total Project Costs: $96,895

Mass Audubon will acquire the deed to this property protected by a Conservation Restriction held by the Warwick Conservation Commission and will manage the property as a Wildlife Sanctuary. It abuts the Warwick State Forest and fills a gap in connected open space. This land has been managed as a wildlife sanctuary by its owners of 45 years; and there is evidence of much wildlife including moose. Rum Brook traverses the length of the property and joins Black Brook and then Gales Brook. It provides a great walk in the woods, with hills to climb, boulders to appreciate and links to trails through the Warwick State Forest to the north.

Dennett, Alstead, NH

Applicant: Monadnock Conservancy
Acres to be Conserved:  65.4
Protection Method:  Donated Conservation Easement
Q2C Grant Award: $5,300
Total Project Costs: $74,650

This landowner is donating a permanent easement to Monadnock Conservancy on 65 acres of entirely forested land with intermittent streams. With 370 feet of frontage on Camp Brook Road, designated by the Town as a scenic road, the property would be developable if unprotected. Along with neighboring conservation easements of 304 acres to the south and 77 acres to the north, this will create one block of connected conserved land containing approximately 446 total acres.

Kroka Expeditions HQ, Marlow and Alstead, NH

Applicant: Monadnock Conservancy
Acres to be Conserved:  75
Protection Method:  Donated Conservation Easement
Q2C Grant Award: $7,000
Total Project Costs: $26,806

The Monadnock Conservancy will receive a conservation easement on 75 acres of land which will permanently protect a 4-acre wet meadow, an 8-acre beaver pond, and 56 acres of woodland with a trail network used by the Kroka Wilderness Expedition School and which is open to the public for passive recreation, including cross country ski trails in the winter. This land abuts an undeveloped 1,184-acre parcel to the east, which in turn abuts 450 acres of wildlife sanctuary land. Kroka has an informal arrangement which enables their trails to connect to trails on that neighboring property, giving access to students and the public. The easement also includes 7 acres of agricultural land which is used for livestock grazing and growing crops which support the school’s programming.

Little Mountain Forest, Salisbury, NH

Applicant: Society for the Protection of NH Forests
Acres to be Conserved: 579
Protection Method:  Purchased Conservation Easement
Q2C Grant Award: $10,000
Total Project Costs: $511,205

The Forest Society and the NH Fish & Game Department jointly acquired the conservation easement on this 579-acre property on the easterly side of Mt. Kearsarge. This property is open to the public for hiking, hunting, and fishing. The land is an important linkage between the 5,000 acres of conserved wetlands and riverine communities associated with the Blackwater River and the Leonard Wildlife Management Area in the valley below Mt. Kearsarge and the more than 9,000 acres of conserved land including upland forests on and around the mountain. Mt. Kearsarge is one of the most popular mountains in the state, climbed by thousands of visitors each year and viewed by many more.

Willard Book Riparian Corridor, Antrim and Hancock, NH

Applicant: Harris Center for Conservation Education
Acres to be Conserved: 74
Protection Method:  Land Purchase
Q2C Grant Award: $10,000
Total Project Costs: $392,000

The Harris Center for Conservation Education (HCCE) will purchase the fee interest in this 74-acre critically unprotected piece in the 5-mile riparian corridor between Willard and Norway Ponds. This property, featuring mostly upland forest with wetlands along the Willard Brook corridor, connects to more than 6,000 contiguous, protected acres. The property will be open to low-impact outdoor recreation activities, but will not allow ATVs, snowmobiles, or trapping. HCCE hunting permits will be required in addition to state licenses.

For more information about the Q2C Partnership, please contact Brian Hotz at (603) 224-9945 or bhotz@forestsociety.org.  Information is also available at http://merrimackconservationpartnership.org.

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