Whitten Woods Receives LCHIP Grant

Whitten Woods Awarded LCHIP Grant

Holderness NH— On Tuesday, December 15, the Squam Lakes Conservation Society (SLCS) was presented a $50,000 Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant in support of the Whitten Woods project in Ashland.  The award was one of thirty-two announced at an event which included remarks by Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanie Forrester.  Praising the recipients for their efforts in protecting important land and significant historic sites, the governor reiterated the importance of land conservation and historic preservation to the state’s economy, environment, and quality of life.  

This year’s LCHIP grants will help permanently conserve more than 5,000 acres of ecologically important land, including farm and forest land, wildlife habitat, land protecting NH’s water quality and supplies, and land providing iconic views and diverse recreational opportunities from hunting and fishing, to hiking, biking, and snowmobiling.  LCHIP is an independent state authority that provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to protect and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural, and historic resources. LCHIP grants are supported by fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state. For more information about LCHIP visit lchip.org or call (603) 224-4113.

In accepting the LCHIP grant, SLCS Executive Director Roger Larochelle noted “This grant moves our 450-acre Whitten Woods project in Ashland from a worthy local project with hundreds of donors and several partners to one that includes every New Hampshire resident as an investor.  It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together. On behalf of the Squam community, we are grateful for LCHIP’s support.”

With the $50,000 LCHIP grant, the acquisition phase as led by SLCS is now complete.  The Whitten Woods project has brought together several conservation partners, including SLCS, Squam Lakes Association (SLA), New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), Ashland Conservation Commission, several Ashland Boards and organizations, and over 150 donors.  The parcel offers public access to dramatic views of both the Squam and Pemigewasset River watersheds while also encouraging ongoing sustainable forestry, which will be managed by NEFF.

SLA is now taking the lead on the trail construction and maintenance.  To help bring the vision of an “All People Trail” into reality, local philanthropist and business leader Alex Ray is leading the effort through the “Climb to the Top” campaign.  “I would like to offer a jump-start this next phase with a $25,000 matching fund challenge.”  Gifts may be directed to the SLA at PO Box 204, Holderness, NH 03245 or online.

The Squam Lakes Conservation Society was founded in 1960 as a land trust serving the Squam Lakes watershed.  SLCS stewards over 8,000 acres on 125 parcels of permanently protected land through a combination of conservation easements and land ownership.  SLCS is an active member of the national Land Trust Alliance and the NH Land Trust Coalition. For more information about SLCS and their ongoing efforts to conserve land in the Squam region, visit www.squamlakes.com.

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