New Hampshire Department of Forest and Lands

Merriman State Forest

Management of State Lands

The ownership and management of state-owned lands in New Hampshire have a long history of tradition with clear direction provided by state law (RSA 227-G and 227-H). It is within this framework that the management of state land is defined and carried out. The division strives to achieve the goals of management through its forest and land management programs and through cooperative efforts with other state agencies.

State land management has its roots in the 1800's beginning with the New Hampshire State Forestry Commission. The original State Forestry Commission authorized by the General Court on July 29, 1881 determined in its early years that the purchase and management of state forests in New Hampshire would be justified by four benefits:

  • State-owned forests would serve as demonstrations of sound forestry principles;

  • Public ownership of sensitive mountain tops, cut conservatively, would retain greater value for their effects on soil erosion and stream flow than for timber production;

  • A few small tracts of rare natural beauty could be preserved; and

  • State would derive revenue from the management of forests which serve the other three purposes.

In 1996 this commitment was reaffirmed by the enactment of RSA 227-H:1.

"It is hereby recognized and declared that state-owned reservations contribute to the conservation of natural resources and distinctive quality of life in the state. The public welfare of this state is served by the prudent acquisition and management of reservations to provide forest benefits and for the purposes of demonstrating sound forestry principles, protecting habitat for plants, animals, and other organisms, conserving forested watersheds, preserving areas of rare and exemplary natural beauty and ecological value, and providing for perpetual public access and use."

NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the NH Division of Forests and Lands | 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, NH 03301