Wildlife Tracking Workshop and Hike Feb. 22
Pack a sandwich and become a sleuth with members of the Easton Conservation Commission and the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) as they lead an exploratory hike in the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest (CJCF).
Start at Easton Town Hall at 10 a.m. with Steve Sabre’s presentation, “Unraveling the Mystery of Animal Sign.” Hot drinks and desserts will be provided.
Following lunch, those wishing to hike will leave in carpools for the Trumpet Round Road trailhead to strap on your snowshoes, and start up into the CJCF. A major purpose of the hike is to understand the habits of the Forest’s wildlife. Knowing the location of winter deer yards and fragile denning areas, for example, is valuable information for when we cut trails for hikers, back-country skiers and mountain bikers so the trails do not impinge on sensitive and vital habitat.
This will be a moderately vigorous hike lasting about three hours, so bring a water bottle, dress warmly and bring your snowshoes. Please leave your dogs at home for this one. For more information call 823-5755. If our New England weather does not cooperate, only the indoor portion of the program will be held.
It’s time to celebrate the forest!
Everyone is invited to two events on Sunday, Oct. 13.
Hike the Forest. A new route, for those who’ve been there before! Meet at 10 a.m. at the end of Dyke Road in Sugar Hill. Click here for directions. Plan for 2 - 4 hours, there are plenty of options. As always, kids and dogs are welcome. If you have a 4WD please bring that. We will drive to the big log landing in Landaff and walk up onto the Forest from there (you can also walk or bike to the log landing).
Community Potluck at Easton Town Hall. Bring your favorite dish and spirited beverage to the Town Hall on Route 116 in Easton starting at 5 p.m. This will be a great time to learn more about the Forest and see how you can be involved. We’ll have maps and photos, and describe field work for this winter and next spring – like animal tracking, mountain bike route planning and trail building, and bird surveys.
But most of all it’s a time to celebrate a fantastic community success!
Please call ACT volunteer Angela Broscoe for more information - (978) 828-5903 (cell) or e-mail email@example.com.
Great News! The Forest is Ours!
I’m thrilled to let you know that we just closed on the 844 acres that becomes the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest in Easton. This new community forest helps the communities of Easton, Franconia, Landaff, and Sugar Hill permanently protect this special place, benefit from the economic proceeds from timber sales, and enjoy public access to the forest.
The property is 844 acres in the northwestern corner of Easton, sharing boundaries with Sugar Hill and Landaff. Highlighted by the prominent ridge lines of Cole Hill and Cooley Hill, this upland forest is one of the highest elevations and largest privately-owned properties in the western White Mountains. It is spectacularly beautiful and rugged with stunning views. Recreational opportunities abound for hiking, mountain biking, and back-country skiing. The previous owner had proposed both windmills and large lot subdivisions for this tract.
Thanks to all the volunteers from six towns who worked tirelessly to make this happen!
Thanks to our many friends and funders, without whom this never would have been possible. We were very fortunate to receive major funding from the federal Community Forest & Space program, which rated our forest #1 in the country; from the Open Space Institute; New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP); New Hampshire’s Moose Plate conservation grant program; the Davis Conservation Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, and the McIninch Foundation; from the towns of Easton, Franconia, Landaff, and Sugar Hill; and from the Northern Forest Center, which supported the work of one of their staff specialists who helped us tremendously.
And we especially extend our heartfelt and deepest thanks to ACT members and new contributors, whose generosity was an essential to this long and multi-facteed project. The Cooley-Jericho Community Forest introduces a new ownership model to New Hampshire. ACT will own the property on behalf of the four communities. Each of the towns contributed to the purchase of the property, and will proportionately share in eventual revenue generated.
In the meantime, this land presents fantastic recreational and wildlife opportunities. We invite you to come explore it – starting Sunday, October 13 when we will have a community hike followed by a barbecue at the Easton Town Hall. Details will be announced soon!
But, here are some photos and video from our Memorial Day hike – in the snowstorm. Stalwart birders – and a few birds – turned out for what we hope is a once-in-a-lifetime substantial late May snowfall.
Hike and Bird Walk Sunday, May 26
The Cooley-Jericho Community Forest has a fine variety of birds, some of which are unusual for this area. On Sunday May 26, starting at 9 a.m., we’ll take a walk up into the forest and look for birds and other sings of wildlife, which should be abundant.
Everyone is invited to join us at the end of Dyke Road in Sugar Hill, where we cars can be parked. Bring your kids, dogs, bug dope, and water. We can walk from there and/or take 4-wheel drive vehicles up to the big log landing facing southwest into Landaff. From there we’ll walk up old skid trails into the forest. The views will be spectacular.
For more information please call Rebecca Brown at 603-823-7777 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore the Forest March 10
LANDAFF – Everyone is invited to come on a hike into the proposed Cooley-Jericho Community Forest on Sunday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m.
The hike will start from the end of Jim Noyes Hill Road in Landaff (in Sugar Hill, it’s called Dyke Road). You can reach this spot from Pearl Lake Road in Lisbon, driving around Pearl Lake, taking a left onto Jim Noyes Hill Road (it is a T, you must go left or right), and going to the end.
As we all know, it’s an unpredictable time of year. Hopefully there will be lots of snow! But be prepared for ice. Bring your snowshoes or other traction (Yak Trax, etc.), camera, kids, and dogs. This hike will be good for people of all ages who are reasonably fit. We will walk up a Class VI road and then up a snowmachine trail to a large log landing with great views of Landaff and beyond. We’ll then walk up into the land on old skid roads.
Promise: no bushwhacking (unless you want to! The moose trails are pretty easy to follow now).
The views are magnificent and there is a lot of wildlife activity on this young forested landscape. We will see lots and lots of moose sign, deer, and likely bobcat and we will look for pine marten tracks. If we are exceptionally lucky we may find the track of a lynx.
Sunday’s hike is a great opportunity to see the rugged and beautiful land of the proposed community forest. Join members of the planning committee of residents of Easton, Sugar Hill, Lisbon, Landaff, Bethlehem, and Franconia who have been working together to create the 840-acre community forest.
For more information, contact Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust volunteer Angela Broscoe at (978) 828-5903 (cell) or e-mail email@example.com. Directions and information are also at www.townforest.org. Please send us an e-mail or leave a phone message that you will be joining the hike (hot chocolate and snacks will be provided). Any last minutes changes will also be on the website.
Snowshoe Hike and Animal Tracking Sunday
SUGAR HILL – Everyone is invited to join a snowshoe hike on the proposed Cooley-Jericho Community Forest this Sunday afternoon, Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
The hike will start from the parking area at the end of Trumpet Round Road in Sugar Hill. Trumpet Round is off of Jericho Road, which is a left turn as you head uphill on Dyke Road.
Bring your snowshoes, camera, kids, and dogs. This hike will be good for people of all ages. It will go uphill through young conifers and a mixed hardwood forest. Moose and deer abound on this land, and we may get lucky and find tracks of bobcat and American marten. If we are exceptionally lucky we may find the track of a lynx.
Smaller than a fisher and stouter than a weasel, American martens (also called pine martens) are a rare and important species in New Hampshire. They were nearly trapped out, but have rebounded after being reintroduced. Their numbers are still small enough, and their status uncertain enough, that they are listed as “threatened” in the state.
According to NH Fish & Game, marten are of particular concern because of their status as an “umbrella species.” Their large range and sensitivity to disturbance make them broad indicators of ecosystem health. Marten have been seen in the vicinity of the community forest, which is 840 acres in Easton with access through Sugar Hill and Landaff. Martens like large tracts of open space.
Sunday is a great opportunity to see the rugged and beautiful land of the proposed community forest, and to get some exercise before the Super Bowl!. A planning committee of residents of Easton, Sugar Hill, Lisbon, Landaff, Bethlehem, and Franconia has been working hard to create the community forest and raise funds for its acquisition.
For more information, contact Rebecca Brown at the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, 603-823-777, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send us an e-mail or leave a phone message that you will be joining the hike (hot chocolate and snacks will be provided) and also so we may contact you in case of really horrid weather. Any last minutes changes will also be on the website.
Tour the Land with the U.S. Forest Service
Staff from the U.S. Forest Service is visiting the forest on Saturday Oct. 13. They are interested in our trail ideas – particularly extending the Jericho Trail (WMNF), and also want to understand this land in the context of their plans for harvesting in the Easton area.
We will meet at 9 a.m. at the end of Dyke Road in Sugar Hill. We’ll drive up to the Landaff access point and walk up from there.We plan to be done by around 1 p.m.
Two Information Sessions This Week: Franconia Wednesday, Aug. 29 & Landaff Thursday Aug. 30
Come Hike the Land on Saturday!
Information meetings on the proposed Cooley – Jericho Forest are Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Town Hall in Franconia and on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall in Landaff.
The hike on Saturday, Sept. 1 starts at 9 a.m. at the end of Dyke Road in Sugar Hill. Bring your 4WD vehicle if you have one. Walkers of all abilities are welcome – dogs, too! We’ll be done by noon. Call 603-823-7777 for more information, or e-mail email@example.com.
The 840-acre forest embraces Cooley Hill and Cole Hill, on the prominent eastern ridgeline viewed from Sugar Hill’s Main Street. The land is also prominent from Landaff and Lisbon, where it is the height of land creating the Pearl Lake watershed. It forms the major ridgeline looking west from Route 116 in Franconia. The land itself is in Easton, at the end of the Jericho Trail. Residents of all these communities are working with the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) to purchase the property and create a community-owned forest that for public recreation, wildlife, and long-term timber income to the participating towns.
When launched earlier this year, the project was referred to as the Easton – Sugar Hill Community Forest. The Planning Committee decided to call it the Cooley – Jericho Forest for the area’s historic place names, plus recognition that the effort includes residents and communities beyond the two towns.
At the information sessions maps will be available showing potential mountain bike, equestrian, and backcountry ski routes. The various aspects of the project will be presented for discussion, including potential ownership, management, and how to get involved. This is a “community” forest – meaning that decisions are made and implemented by us – members of the whole community!
Hike the Forest Sunday July 8. Everyone is invited to join.
Sunday’s hike will start at 9 a.m. at the end of Dyke Road in Sugar Hill. We will walk – or drive if there are 4-wheel drive vehicles present – to the trail going into the forest from Landaff. The walk will be on a Class VI Dyke Road, a gravel logging road, and then old skid roads as we gain elevation. Plan for 2 – 3 hours. Bring your kids, dogs, snacks, water, and bug dope! Binoculars and camera, too – there are fantastic views in all directions from little known vantage points.
The 840-acre proposed Town Community Forest is part of the largest privately owned roadless area in this region, making it ideal for recreational trails, for wildlife, and for long-term timber management. The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (ACT) has a purchase agreement for $600,000 on the forest, negotiated on behalf of the towns of Easton and Sugar Hill. This beautiful and fairly rugged ridgetop land is very prominent from Sugar Hill, Easton, Landaff, Franconia, and Lisbon. A committee of local residents from these communities has started work on raising the funds to acquire the land and planning for its long-term management.
Mountain bikers, trail runners, hunters, snowmobilers, horseback riders, birders, backcountry skiers, naturalists, and others are volunteering on the planning committee and on working groups that will focus on trail planning and management of key recreational uses. More volunteers are welcome and needed! For more information on the project or Sunday’s hike, please call Rebecca Brown at ACT, 823-7777, or firstname.lastname@example.org.