Date: July 10, 2006
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways Leads Initiative to Conserve 115-acre Waterfront Property
UNION, NH - More than 115 acres along Union Meadows will be preserved thanks to a creative conservation agreement put together by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways. Featuring healthy forests, waterside walking trails, and a variety of important wildlife habitats, the land has been enjoyed by bird watchers, fishermen, walkers and snowmobilers for decades.
The original owners of the 128-acre property contacted the Moose Mountains Regional Greenways two years ago. The land had been in the Barbour family for more than a century, but the former owners had moved out of state and felt unable to steward the property as well as they would have liked.
Although they received inquiries from realtors and logging companies, they preferred to sell the land to a more conservation-minded buyer.
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways immediately recognized several good reasons to conserve the property. "The land not only has good timber potential, but it also features a well-maintained waterfront trail along Union Meadows," said Moose Mountains Regional Greenways Executive Director Cynthia Belowski. "Moose Mountains recently completed a detailed study of the region’s most critical wetland areas, and Union Meadows emerged as a high priority area."
The organization approached the Wakefield Conservation Commission, which immediately expressed interest in supporting the project. According to Conservation Commission Chairman Nancy Spencer-Smith, the property could have easily accommodated up to 25 house lots. "This land has been enjoyed by the community for decades," she said. "We knew we had to find another alternative."
MMRG’s Board members and staff began searching for a "conservation buyer" – someone who would be willing to purchase the property for a reduced price and preserve the majority of it via conservation easement. Long-time organization supporters Paul and Helen Goransson answered the call.
"It’s a beautiful piece of land right on the water, and the development potential is high," said Paul Goransson. "My wife and I wanted to see it conserved because with the development pressure moving steadily northward, it was just a matter of time before these pristine woods would have become yet another subdivision."
The Goranssons reserved just one house lot off Harmony Drive, placing more than 115 acres under conservation easement to ensure that the property will never be developed. Moose Mountains Regional Greenways invited The Strafford Rivers Conservancy to hold the conservation easement in partnership with the Town of Wakefield. As the primary easement holder, Strafford Rivers Conservancy will work with the property owners to ensure that the conserved land remains in a natural state, that the views and the water quality are retained, and that future timber harvesting be conducted according to best management practices to prevent soil erosion.
"The conservation-minded cooperation shown between the Town of Wakefield, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways, and the original owners is an excellent example how such cooperation can lead to a desirable outcome for the sellers, buyers, the town and the community at large," said Goransson.
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is a non-profit organization that works to conserve and connect the most special natural resource areas of New Hampshire’s northern Strafford and southern Carroll counties. To find out how you can be a conservation buyer or to learn more about Moose Mountains, call 603-817-8260 or visit www.mmrg.info.
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Union, NH 03887
CONTACT: Cynthia Belowski, 603-817-8260