November 5, 2017 Hike in Concord

A gray day and drizzle didn’t keep folks from enjoying an afternoon of hiking with Five Rivers!

On Sunday November 5th, Five Rivers members, friends and volunteers hiked between the Swope and Winant Parks, both conserved by Five Rivers, and some participants continued up and around Winant Park. There were smiles all around!

Sarah Thorne shared information about how fields and forests change over time and Ron Klemarczyk shared information about the building of the trails and management of the conserved properties.

This hike was the 4th annual hike in a series of section hikes in the west end of Concord. Join us next fall for more hiking in the Capital City!

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Frisky Hill 2 in Gilmanton Conserved

September 2017 – Many people stop by the side of the road in awe of the ragged outline of the Belknap Mountain Range, visible from the top of Frisky Hill on Route 107 in Gilmanton. Now that Five Rivers Conservation Trust holds a conservation easement on the entire property, the fields that provide the outstanding view will never be developed.

Last Friday, the Gilmanton Land Trust (GLT) purchased the final 11-acre property that protects the view. GLT granted a conservation easement to Five Rivers Conservation Trust and transferred the land to the Gilmanton Conservation Commission. This project completes conservation of the land and the spectacular view from Route 107.

Five Rivers holds the conservation easements that prohibit subdivision and development of this and the adjacent 15-acre property conserved in 2013. The Gilmanton Land Trust holds easements that protect the view. Five Rivers’ responsibility now, and in the future, is to ensure that these properties remain undeveloped. We’ll monitor the property annually and stay in touch with the new landowner, the Gilmanton Conservation Commission, to make sure future uses meet best management practices.

Sincere thanks to the Gilmanton Land Trust, who negotiated the purchase of the land and raised the funds to make this project a reality. Five Rivers is also grateful to the Twigg family for their commitment to conserving this property, in addition to four others that they conserved in 2013.

Do take a drive up to Frisky Hill some sunny day this fall. You’ll want to admire this view!

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Five Rivers’ Contoocook River Paddle August 2017

On a glorious sunny August day, 50 paddlers joined Five Rivers for a trip down the Contoocook River. The Hopkinton-Everett dam released water from the recent rains, giving us a little more current for extra push through 9 miles of river corridor.

Paddlers saw lots of wildlife – eagles, osprey, and great blue heron; turtles, a harmless snake and damselflies, to name a few. We passed by two of the other Five Rivers – the Blackwater and the Warner, with miles of frontage between them, along Bohanan Farm, a Five Rivers conserved property.

We capped off the day with ice cream donated by Granite State Candy Shoppe in Concord.

Thanks to Granite State Candy, the Contoocook River Canoe Company who provided discounted boat rentals and transportation and to Revision Energy, our overall Event Sponsor.

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Moffett Property in Canterbury Conserved

June 2017 – Five Rivers just completed conservation of 56 acres on Cogswell Hill in Canterbury, thanks to the generosity of Howard Moffett and the Canterbury Conservation Commission. The property includes 15 acres of hay fields at the top of Cogswell Hill; hardwood and softwood forest on the southern and eastern slope of the hill; and a brook, wetland and recreational trail at the bottom of the eastern slope. The combination of wildlife habitats host everything from toads to turkeys and Barred Owls to bobcats. The recreational trail is part of a local trail used by snowmobiles, walkers and cross country skiers.

The Canterbury Conservation Commission helped make this conservation project possible with a contribution to Five Rivers’ Stewardship Fund. This fund helps Five Rivers cover the costs of monitoring the easement, working with landowners in the future to ensure that planned activities comply with the conservation restrictions placed on the land.

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Five Rivers celebrated a very successful year with an Annual Gathering on June 14, 2017. Tim Britain toasted accomplishments and Beth McGuinn highlighted those accomplishments, including:

  • Four new conserved properties in Loudon, Concord, Boscawen and Dunbarton, bringing us over the 4000 conserved acre mark
  • National recognition as an Accredited Land Trust
  • Completion of a new strategic plan that charges us to increase the pace and strategic nature of land conservation and improve stewardship of conserved properties
  • Our resulting campaign to raise funds to hire a Land Conservation Specialist to help us achieve the goals set forth in the strategic plan

More than 70 members and not yet members also enjoyed a presentation about getting involved in wildlife conservation, delivered by Emily Preston, a wildlife biologist at NH Fish and Game. Click here or the image below to view Emily’s slideshow presentation (PDF format).

Thank you to our event sponsors Revision Energy, Ransmeier & Spellman and Second Wind Water Systems!

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April 24, 2017 – On a glorious day in April, Five Rivers’ friends and neighbors of our first conserved property in Boscawen, joined us at John and Barbara Keegan’s property to explore the wetlands, wildlife and woodlands on site. Forty nine folks learned that the wetland on this property supports many wildlife species, including moose who munch on wetland plants, they saw a gigantic porcupine “condo” in an outcrop of ledges, figured out the age of young pine trees by counting the whorls of branches, and explored a vernal pool that supports spring habitat for amphibians.

The Keegan Conservation Easement is a magnet for wildlife and it will remain so because Five Rivers and the Town of Boscawen teamed up with the Keegans to prevent future development of the property.

Thanks for this successful outing go to our hosts John and Barbara Keegan, the Boscawen Conservation Commission, Amanda Stone and Ruth Smith, our presenters, Revision Energy, our sponsor and an dedicated Outreach Committee, and willing shuttle drivers, photographers and other volunteers.

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We’ve Moved!

March 15, 2017 – Five Rivers is excited to announce that we have relocated our offices to 6 Dixon Ave, Suite #201 in Concord. Our offices are still downtown, but our new space offers a private handicapped-accessible meeting room, free reliable parking for staff and volunteers, and an opportunity to grow.

Our new sunny office is located on the second floor of the Berman Building, visible from the south side of Bridge Street. Dixon Ave is accessed by car from Storrs Street, between the Holiday Inn and the overhead parking garage, and on foot down the short path from the busy corner of Main and Bridge Streets.

Stay tuned – once we’re settled we plan to host an open house!

Five Rivers is very grateful to Jayme Simoes and Louis Karno & Company Communications for their generosity in hosting us at a very low rent for many years, allowing us to reach the point of fledging to new office space!

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Five Rivers Earns National Recognition – We’re Accredited!

February, 2017 – After several years of diligent work by former and current board members, today Five Rivers Conservation Trust celebrates our new status as an accredited land trust recognized by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Five Rivers joins only 27 % of the nation’s 1300+ land trusts by achieving accreditation.

Five Rivers provided extensive documentation and underwent a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation application. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that Five Rivers’ lands will be protected forever.

The 2016 National Land Trust Census shows that accredited land trusts excel with steady growth, increased land conservation, additional resources to long term conservation and strong public trust:

  • Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward 77% of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
  • Accredited land trusts protected five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not yet accredited.
  • Accredited land trusts also have stronger systems and more resources to steward and defend their conservation lands forever.
  • As a result, the public’s trust in land conservation has increased helping to win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.

Thanks to our members for supporting Five Rivers through the process of accreditation. Accreditation and our new strategic plan will guide us to increase the pace of land conservation in the Greater Capital Region with more strategic land conservation.

If you are not yet a member of Five Rivers, please donate today to support the newest accredited land trust in the nation at For more about accreditation visit

Many thanks to BCM Environmental Land Law for being a financial supporter of Five Rivers’ accreditation efforts!

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Five Rivers’ Winter Wildlife Walk

February 5, 2017 – In early February, Bob Quinn, a well respected local birder, naturalist and field trip leader guided Five Rivers’ Winter Wildlife Walk to the newly conserved Sanborn Road property in Loudon. All along the way participants learned about birds and tracks and wildlife. Cedar Waxwings flew from tree to tree eating fruit from a crab apple tree. Coyote tracks lead in a straight line, with purpose, to conserve energy in the cold and snow. Tiny mouse tracks with a telltale tail drag scurried between openings in a stone wall. Bobcat tracks with round imprints and no sign of clawmarks crossed the road. A walk on the pond allowed discovery of mink tracks across the dam, a view of the conserved property’s pond frontage and a wide variety of wildlife sign.

Forty participants hiked back on the woods road to Sanborn Mills Farm where hot cider, sweet goodies and conversation in the warmth of the farmhouse ended the day.

Thanks to Bob and Sanborn Mills Farm for collaborating to make our Winter Wildlife Walk a success.

Thanks to sponsors Revision Energy and Baron Major Brands for making the event possible. And thanks to Colin and Paula Cabot for conserving the Sanborn Road property!

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Stone Farm, Dunbarton Conserved

Stone Farm partners celebrate conservation of the Stone Farm in Dunbarton: L to R: Tim Britain, Chair, Five Rivers Conservation Trust (5RCT); Brett St Claire, Chair, Dunbarton Conservation Commission; Margaret Watkins, 5RCT Project Manager; Judy Stone, Stone Farm Owner; Beth McGuinn, 5RCT Executive Director; Paula Bellemore, Natural Resource Specialist, Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP); and Ian McSweeney, Director, Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation.

January, 2017 – Five Rivers thanks the great team of donors and partners who made January 2017’s conservation of 237 acres of the Stone Farm in Dunbarton possible!

The rich history of Stone Farm goes back to the 1780’s when the first Stone ancestor farmed this land and is evidenced by spectacular foundations and cellar holes that tell the story of two centuries of life and farming in this corner of Dunbarton. Generations of the Stone Family raised agricultural crops from hops to apples to dairy cows. Today, hay from the farm feeds beef cattle. Logs and firewood are harvested sustainably. Visitors can see relics of buildings from long ago. Wildlife roams freely through the Stone Farm and surrounding conserved lands – now over 600 acres in all.

To learn more about the history of the farm, click here.

Project History

The success of this project belongs to a great team of collaborators:

  • Stone family members whose commitment to keep this property available for farming and forestry made conserving the land possible
  • Friends of Stone Farm (Dunbarton Conservation Commission, Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the Dunbarton Congregational Church) who wrote grants, organized events, and has produced over $350,000 to conserve the farm
  • 151 families who contributed over $ 58,000

Organizations also made significant funding available to conserve the farm:

  • LCHIP (Land and Community Heritage Investment Program)
  • Thomas W. Hass Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation
  • Dunbarton Conservation Commission
  • Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation
  • NH State Conservation Committee (Moose Plate Program)
  • Merrimack Conservation Partnership
  • Davis Foundation

The Dunbarton Conservation Commission plans to create a public trail on the property in the near future, exploring some of the remarkable stone foundations and stone walls that speak to the land’s past use.

With the farm conserved, Five Rivers Conservation Trust will shift our role from guiding the conservation process to ensuring that the conservation restrictions will forever keep the land from being subdivided and developed. Five Rivers will monitor the property annually, staying in touch with Judy Stone and all future landowners to answer questions about what can be done on the land, and if it ever becomes necessary, Five Rivers will take any action needed to protect the important farm soils and productive forest land, historic resources, wetlands and streams, wildlife habitat, and public access on this property.

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Keegan Easement – Boscawen NH

December, 2016 – Congratulations to John and Barbara Keegan, who in December 2016 fulfilled their dream of conserving 81 acres of wetlands, forests, and field on their Boscawen property with Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

The Keegans manage the property for sustainable living and as a tree farm, producing maple syrup, firewood and wood products from the land. Conserving this land is an extension of the Keegans’ sustainable living ethic.

John and Barbara built their home on the property in 1980 from trees harvested from their certified Tree Farm. The area around their home provides fresh garden produce, eggs and meat from chickens, ducks and geese; and maple syrup from sap collected in their woodland. The field is managed for wildlife and is filled with flowering plants which attract pollinators. The woodland is an actively managed, certified Tree Farm that provides maple sap, sustainably harvested firewood.

The Keegan land is adjacent to the already conserved Woodman Forest, owned by the Forest Society, creating a block of nearly 200 conserved acres. The property is primarily forested with a large wetland, making it a magnet for wildlife.

New Hampshire’s wildlife action plan identifies this land as among the highest ranking habitats in the state. The Keegans have observed moose, bear, coyote, bobcat, nesting red-shouldered hawks, turkeys, red and gray foxes, otter, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, weasels, beaver, and fisher and have at times experienced wildlife contemplating or taking a free meal of domestic poultry!

The Keegan easement is Five Rivers’ first conservation project in Boscawen. “The 81-acres around the Keegans’ homestead will never be subdivided or developed and the property will be sustainably managed, providing valuable wildlife habitat and abundant water resources. The Keegans will continue to own the property and can transfer it to another owner in the future. Five Rivers will monitor the land and ensure that conservation restrictions placed on it keep the land undeveloped in the future,” states Beth McGuinn, Executive Director of Five Rivers. Special thanks to the Keegans for their dedication to land conservation and to the Boscawen Conservation Commission for providing funding to make it possible.

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Five Rivers’ Annual Fall Hike

November 6, 2016 – Amidst the gold of the beech trees and the rust of the oaks, 110 hikers joined Five Rivers for our Annual Fall Hike – this year, between Marjory Swope Park and Carter Hill Orchards.

At stops along the way, Ron Klemarczyk, Concord’s forester, told tales of a recent forest fire and Ruth Smith, naturalist and Concord Monitor columnist interpreted the impacts of a wind storm. Thanks to all who helped us with another successful hike!

Thanks to our Sponsors: Revision Energy!

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Pierce Property – 18 Acres of Open Fields Preserved in Concord!

August, 2016 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the Concord Conservation Commission recently completed a six year joint effort to conserve the agricultural fields at Stickney Hill with the signing of a conservation easement protecting the 18 acres of fields at the Pierce farm.

The Pierce property is a key part of the “Stickney Hill Agricultural Neighborhood”, as defined by a 2008 report by New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources for the Concord Heritage Commission. The report states the neighborhood retains “an exceptionally high degree of integrity of location, design, materials, setting, workmanship, feeling, and association.”

It is very unusual to have such an intact historical agricultural area, especially one within the city limits of a major city. The neighborhood has been a conservation priority, in part because it provides a unique window into the City’s agrarian roots.

The Pierce farm is one of three farms with open fields that define the Stickney Hill Agricultural Neighborhood.

In 2012 Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the City of Concord purchased a conservation easement on Maplewood Farm, which lies immediately east of the Pierce farm. In 2013 Hope Butterworth donated a conservation easement on her farm, to the west of the Pierce farm.

The Pierce farm is very visible in the center of the agricultural fields and was the last, critical piece to be protected.

Stickney Hill Road is located in an isolated part of Concord, cut off from the rest of the city by Turkey Pond and Route 89. Access is by Exit 4 off Route 89 and also by the bike path and bike bridge beside Route 89. The area is heavily used by cyclists, walkers, and runners due to the open, scenic landscape and rural, 19th century feel of the neighborhood. The Pierce field is highly visible from Stickney Hill Road.

Funding for the purchase of the Pierce easement came from the Concord Conservation Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Agriculture Department, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and the Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation.

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Second Annual Tour & Taste at Carter Hill Orchard

August 18, 2016 – Five Rivers hosted its second annual Tour and Taste – this year on August 18th at scenic Carter Hill Orchard, in Concord, a Five Rivers conserved property. Everyone enjoyed the food and drink, learned something new about Carter Hill, cider pressing and growing fruit, appreciated the music and left with a renewed understanding of Five Rivers’ role in our communities.

Carter Hill Orchard was conserved through a collaboration of many organizations including Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the City of Concord. Five Rivers holds the conservation easement which ensures the property will always be available for farming and public use. Trails on the property link to other conserved lands and are part of a 6 mile loop.

The orchard and its trails are used by the public, Concord High cross country running and ski teams for recreation, practices and meets. The hawk watching platform is a fall magnet for folks interested in migration and is collaboratively hosted by NH Audubon.

Carter Hill is a community treasure – join us for a great night in a great location!

Thanks to Our Event Sponsor Revision Energy!

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Cabot Easement Conserved – 38 acres of Outstanding Wildlife Habitat in Loudon!

July, 2016 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust and Colin Cabot Conserve 38 acres of Outstanding Wildlife Habitat in Loudon.

Thanks to the conservation commitment and generosity of Colin Cabot, a critical parcel of land has been conserved.

The property includes half of a beaver pond surrounded by wetlands and upland forest. The easement conserves 3,500 feet of water frontage of the pond. It also conserves 1,250 feet of undeveloped frontage on Sanborn Road, an undeveloped road which is used for outdoor recreation year round.

The property abuts other conserved land including the 730 acre Osborn Wildlife Management Area which includes the other half of the pond and road frontage across from the Cabot land. The easement ensures continued public access to this outstanding natural area.

“The conserved property has outstanding wildlife habitat due to the combination of water, wetlands, vernal pools, upland forest and adjacent conserved land,” observed Lee Carbonneau, a nearby resident, wetland scientist and wildlife biologist.

Over many years of walking the property, Ms. Carbonneau has seen the following wildlife either on the property or nearby including moose, deer, coyote, fisher, otter, gray fox, painted turtle, great-blue heron, wood duck, pileated woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, barred owl, broad-winged hawk, hermit thrush, veery, a variety of wood warblers and many other species.

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Five Rivers Annual Gathering 2016 – Fun & Informative!

June 2, 2016 – Thank you to Dr. Cameron Wake for an eye opening and inspiring Climate Change talk at our Annual Gathering. Dr. Wake’s message that undeveloped lands are the “sponge” that help mitigate the more powerful storms we can expect as Climate Change progresses related well to Five Rivers’ mission and speaks to the importance of conserving wetlands as well as the uplands that filter water flowing into them.

Cameron made a compelling case that climate change is the most important issue we face, because it will amplify the issues of war, public heath, clean water and the economy worldwide. And he showed that we can reduce our carbon output while growing our economy.

What can you do to help? Cameron suggests doing all you can TODAY to decrease your fossil fuel use, conserve energy, invest funds in your community to do the same and encourage policies that will put us on a path to a lower carbon emissions future.

You can learn more about Dr. Wake’s work at

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Spring Walk and Tour – Stone Farm in Dunbarton

May 1, 2016 – A rainy day in May was a great time to tour a soon-to-be-conserved farm! At least that’s what 68 hearty participants thought on Sunday May 1.

All gathered in the Stone Farm Dairy Barn for introductions and information about the effort of Five Rivers and the Friends of Stone Farm to conserve this 200+ acre historic farm, in the Stone Family since the 1780’s. Then a rainbow of colorful raincoats and umbrellas paraded out into the property to explore the agricultural history of the farm, fields and forests.

Jim Garvin fascinated the group with information about the cellar hole and foundation of the Beard Tavern, homestead and barn, the first home on the property. An old photo of the house helped us all see how the remaining stone work supported this once large structure.

Jeremy Turner, forester with Meadowsend Timberlands, showed the group a recent harvest area, explaining how forest management compliments agricultural activities on New England farms, and how trees were selected for this harvest. Five Rivers’ Executive Director Beth McGuinn, farm owner Judy Stone and her sister-in-law Marion who grew up on the farm, discussed past and current crops grown at Stone Farm, its connection to today’s local food movement and they imagined how farming and crops will change in the future.

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A Great Day at Bean Hill Farm!

February 21, 2016 – A wonderful time was had by all this past Sunday, February 21 at Bean Hill Farm in Northfield.

After having to reschedule our “Valentine’s Day Tour” due to unsafe, frigid conditions, we were lucky and had a good day for a walk through a beautiful farm and wood lot. 5 Rivers was joined by many current and several new friends as we toured Bean Hill Farm, our newest conserved property in Northfield, NH. Led by our hostess Eliza Conde and Tim Fleury, Merrimack County Forestry Educator, everyone not only got some great exercise but also learned about the farm, the history and John Conde’s management of the forest and land.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us & we look forward to future events!

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Accreditation Comments About Five Rivers are Welcome

January 13, 2016 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust is pleased to announce that we are applying for land trust accreditation. The accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. A public comment period for Five Rivers is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, will conduct an extensive review of Five Rivers’ policies and programs. Five Rivers and the Commission invite you to provide input by submitting signed, written comments regarding our application. Comments should relate to how Five Rivers complies with national quality standards that address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For a full list of standards click here.

You may submit a comment by mail to Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or by e-mail to; or send by fax at 518-587-3183. Comments will be most useful if they are submitted by May 30, 2016.

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Stone Farm Conservation Project Announcement

December 16, 2015 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the Friends of Stone Farm in Dunbarton are pleased to announce that we have received a grant of $119,500 from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to anchor the fundraising effort to conserve 200+ acres of the historic Stone Farm in Dunbarton.

The LCHIP grant has leveraged a matching challenge grant up to $50,000 to encourage private donors to contribute the remaining funds to complete the project. The matching grant is offered by the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Davis Conservation Foundation, Dunbarton Conservation Commission, Merrimack Conservation Partnership, Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation and State Conservation Committee Moose Plate Grant Program have each committed critical funding to this important conservation project. To learn more about helping to fund this project, please contact Five Rivers at or 225-7225.

The Stone family has farmed the Stone Farm, in Dunbarton, since the 1780’s. When Jim Stone died unexpectedly in 2013, the fate of the farm was in question. The Stone family is committed to keeping this land undeveloped and has offered to sell a conservation easement so the farm will always be available for farming, forestry and recreation in the future.

Productive farm fields have grown hops, hay and grazed cattle for generations, and historic foundations and cellar holes tell the story of the farm’s past use. Conservation of this farm will link other conserved properties to create a 650 acre block of conserved land. New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plan ranks wildlife habitat on the property as among the best in the state and the biological region. The property filters water going into two important water systems – Bella Brook and Kimball Pond. Once conserved, the Conservation Commission will create a public trail exploring some of the remarkable stone foundations and stone walls that speak to the land’s past use.

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Just Conserved! Bean Hill Farm, Northfield

November 20, 2015 – Through the Conde Easement, Five Rivers conserved Bean Hill Farm, a historic farm located on both sides of Bean Hill Road in Northfield. Eliza Conde donated an 88 acre conservation easement on the farm that she and her late husband John Conde have carefully managed since 1972.

Eliza’s generous donation of the conservation easement carries out a plan the Condes had for the farm, ensuring the Bean Hill Farm will never be developed and will continue to be available for farming and forest management. Five Rivers accepted the conservation easement and responsibility to keep the land conserved forever.

Conservation of Bean Hill Farm is Five Rivers Conservation Trust’s first conservation project in Northfield, a town added to our service area just this year. Northfield is a natural geographic fit for Five Rivers, as we already have conserved land in Belmont and Canterbury.

Bean Hill Farm is a great example of a family farm providing fresh local products to the local economy and improving the forest resource through good management. Eliza’s donation of a conservation easement is a generous gift that will benefit future generations as well as all who know and love the farm today.

The conservation easement ensures that Bean Hill Farm, which remains privately owned, will never be developed. Five Rivers takes responsibility to conserve the land through regular monitoring and a commitment to ensure that all future owners honor the conservation commitment made by Eliza in conserving this farm.

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Concord Connector Trails – Map Available

November 5, 2015 – After an amazing inaugural hiking event on November 1, 2015, we wanted to make sure that everyone has ready access to explore Concord’s trail system.

The Concord Conservation Commission has put a lot of hard work into creating a wonderful network right in our backyard! And, this network also makes for wonderful treks to, from and through lands conserved in part by Five Rivers.

Your support makes all of this & more possible. If you are not currently a member of Five Rivers Conservation Trust, please consider supporting our efforts by becoming a member today.

We hope to see you all out on the trail!

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Dimond Hill – Swope Inaugural Hike

November 1, 2015 – A great time was had by everyone when the new connector trails in Concord opened on November 1st with a Five Rivers hike between Swope Park and Dimond Hill Farm. These trails create a 6 mile loop between three Five Rivers-conserved properties – Carter Hill Orchard, Swope Park and Dimond Hill Farm.

Over 130 people joined the hike and along the trail they learned about wildlife habitat and the important historical role of farm ice ponds.

Please be sure to get out & take advantage of the wonderful trail system through Concord and additional trails throughout the area on properties conserved by Five Rivers!

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Meetinghouse Pond Hike

August 29, 2015 – Another awesome event! The Meetinghouse Pond Hike held Saturday, August 29, was hosted by Five Rivers the Gilmanton Land Trust and the Gilmanton Conservation Commission.

The weather was perfect, turnout was great, and with the help of great guides – Sarah Thorne, ecologist and teacher; Tom Howe and John Dickey, Gilmanton Land Trust; Beth McGuinn, Executive Director of Five Rivers Conservation Trust Rivers; Ruth Smith, naturalist, and Tracy Tarr, Gilmanton Conservation Commission – the hike was fun & educational!

Check out photos from the event on Facebook, learn more about Meetinghouse Pond, and, if you weren’t able to make it to the event, take time to visit Meetinghouse Pond or one of the many other conserved properties that are open to the public.

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Dimond Hill Farm – Members-Only Tour & Taste

August 20, 2015 – Our first ever Members-Only Dimond Hill Tour & Tasting event was held on August 20th. We could not have asked for a better evening. The humidity had eased, a nice breeze was blowing, good food and even better conversations were had.

We learned about sustainable farming, the future and importance of the local farm, and tasted some delightful creations that took full advantage of the current harvest.

Check out photos on Facebook and email us if you would like more information about Five Rivers, Dimond Hill Farm, the event, our sponsors, or contact info for Traci Tomorek, RD, LD, nutritionist and owner of Fresh Roots Nutrition.

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Kayak & Paddle Raffle for Annual Merrimack River Paddle

July 26, 2015 – Quickwater Canoe & Kayak generously donated an Elie Sound 100XE kayak and a Cannon Wave FX fiberglass kayak paddle to be raffled off in conjunction with Five Rivers 3rd Annual Merrimack River Paddle on July 26, 2015.

We had such a huge response, not only to the raffle but to the paddle trip in general. Still feeling the sadness at having to cancel. There will be many events in our future & hopefully some more items from amazing donors.

A winner was drawn for the Kayak & Paddle generously donated by Quickwater Canoe & Kayak! The winner has been notified.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming events and ways to support 5Rivers and natural spaces throughout central New Hampshire!

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Geocaching Hike at Marjorie Swope Park

April 18, 2015 – On Saturday April 18, David Ross and Fred Mullen led Five Rivers’ members and friends on a geocaching hunt at the Marjory Swope Park in Concord.

We enjoyed the warm afternoon and the quick spring rain, as we ambled up and around Jerry Hill in search of hidden treasures. We hunted for clues and looked under rocks and logs until someone whooped out, “I’ve found it”! It was a fun adventure!

Five Rivers Conservation Trust holds a conservation easement on the park, which ensures that it will never be developed. The Marjory Swope Park is open for hiking and geocaching during daylight hours. For more information on geocaching, visit:

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Snowshoe Hike at Bohanan and Dustin Properties – Contoocook

February 14, 2015 – Twenty One intrepid souls braved single digit temperatures to join us on our Valentine’s Day snowshoe hike.

We had fun being out on the Dustin and Bohanan properties when no one thought we would go. We looked for signs of wildlife and learned about forest management! The beauty of nature, hand warmers, and chocolate fueled us along the way!

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Newly Conserved Land Protects Contoocook River Frontage, Linking 449 Acres

November, 2014 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust recently accepted a 36-acre conservation easement from Dan and Missy Dustin on land located on both Dustin Road and the Contoocook River in Hopkinton. The newly conserved property links two parcels of the Bohanan Farm which were conserved in 2010, creating a contiguous conserved landscape of 449 acres.

Beth McGuinn, Five Rivers’ Executive Director said that “The Dustin project is a great example of the positive impact of compatible funding sources targeted to efficiently conserve a property with many public benefits”. Five Rivers now takes on its perpetual stewardship responsibility of monitoring the property annually and working with the Dustins and all future landowners to ensure the land is never developed.

The Dustin property is open to the public and completes protection of a popular existing trail that crosses the Bohanan Farm and the Dustin property along the river. The trail is accessible from the trailhead on Penacook Road at the Contoocook River. Many paddlers float by the property’s ¼ mile of scenic river frontage as they meander down the Contoocook River, past the diverse silver maple floodplain forest.

According to Ken Stern, Five Rivers’ Project Manager, the Dustin property contains some interesting water features including a small oxbow pond that was once the river channel and an area that still floods during high water, helping to prevent downstream flooding during heavy rains. The New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan identifies the property’s silver maple floodplain forest as an unusual and dynamic environment, which makes the area an important habitat for wildlife. The wetlands on the property are rich in insects and amphibians which, in turn, create plentiful food for a wide variety of birds, mammals and reptiles.

Hopkinton Conservation Commission member Ron Klemarczyk notes that this property is very near the slowly expanding developed area of Contoocook Village and without landowners like the Dustins, willing to forever protect their land, eventually, there would not be places for the black bears, porcupines and other wildlife that he saw during the course of the project. “The partnership with the Town Conservation Commission and Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a good example of protecting land for people and is reflected in the way the Hopkinton Community and Five Rivers came together to respond to the opportunity to protect a valuable resource – water,” said ARM program coordinator Lori Sommer.

Dan and Missy Dustin continue to own the land, and Five Rivers Conservation Trust now holds a conservation easement that will prevent future development of the property and other activities that would negatively impact the land’s important conservation features. Five Rivers worked closely with the Hopkinton Open Space Committee and funders NH Department of Environmental Services through its Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) program and the Hopkinton Conservation Commission through its Conservation Fund to complete the project.

Ken Stern summed up the project by saying “A longstanding conservation goal of the Dustins was achieved through a timely source of funds from NHDES’s ARM program and the Town of Hopkinton’s Conservation Fund. Many people helped in the process of conserving this very special property in record time.”

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West End Farm Trail Hike 2014

November 2, 2014 – Seventy eight intrepid hikers braved a cloudy blustery November afternoon to hike four miles with Five Rivers from Dimond Hill Farm to Carter Hill Orchard.

Thanks to all who came out. We are building a community of folks who appreciate the outdoors, regardless of the weather!

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New Board Members Bring Passion for Land Protection

October, 2014 – Mike Lenehan first came to New Hampshire as an 8 year-old camper in Wolfeboro and he’s loved it here ever since. Living in Concord, he’s an avid hiker and enjoys many Five Rivers’ properties such as Carter Hill Farm, Winant Park and Marjorie Swope Park. Mike’s reason for joining the Board — “I’d like to help Five Rivers preserve and protect New Hampshire’s beauty, especially in cities like Concord, and would like future generations to enjoy those same benefits after I am gone.” Mike’s tenure as an attorney with Ransmeier & Spellman for many years gives him valuable insight on land transactions that will help guide Five Rivers’ future work. Having served on the boards of numerous Concord non-profits, Mike has a wealth of experience to help the organization move forward.

Mike Shearin has been helping the Five River’s finance committee for over a year, where his insight and assistance have been invaluable. Mike hopes to use his background in personal financial planning and investment management to help Five Rivers grow. “I’d like to help prospective donors better understand how gifts can benefit both Five Rivers and also fit within their own legacy planning.” When he’s not “working”, Mike’s other job is maintaining a 25-acre farm in Dunbarton, where he raises horses, sheep and chickens. “Open space and land protection are very important to me,” said Mike. “I look forward to the opportunity to promote and encourage land protection in my own community.”

Another familiar Concord resident, Kit Morgan is known through his work as Chair of the Concord Conservation Commission for many years where he frequently partnered with Five Rivers. Kit is looking forward to sharing his experience and local knowledge with Five Rivers. When asked why he wanted to join the Board, he said, “It’s all about future generations. As we experience growth and development, we have to protect our resources – water, farmland, forests, and scenery – or they will be lost or compromised forever.” In his free time, Kit enjoys the outdoors in the Capital Region and the White Mountains. He also worked as a journalist in the past, so we look forward to his contributions to our newsletters.

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Beth McGuinn’s Welcome Event

October 15, 2014 – Nearly 70 members and partners came to The Nature Conservancy last night to welcome and talk with our new Executive Director, Beth McGuinn.

McGuinn has facilitated all aspects of land conservation: identifying conservation priorities, coordinating fundraising campaigns and raising grant funds, working with landowners. She has considerable experience working with communities and enjoys community work.

The crowd mingled and enjoyed refreshments from our locally conserved farms. Cheese and milk were provided by Bohanan Farm; apples and cider were from Carter Hill Orchard along with some fresh produce from Dimond Hill Farm.

Our Board Chair, Margaret Watkins, introduced Beth and gave some remarks. Beth spoke of how she came to know and learn about Five Rivers and her passion to uphold the Five Rivers’ mission. Her enthusiasm could be felt throughout the room and surely will benefit the organization and the community we serve.

Grappone Toyota/Scion and Revision Energy were the sponsors of the event.

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Merrimack River Paddle Trip a Success

September 8, 2014 – Nearly 40 people of all ages joined 5RCT for a glorious sunny day on the Merrimack, one of our five rivers.

An array of colorful kayaks and canoes launched from the Fish and Games boat access at the Merrimack County Complex and participants paddled 10 miles down the meandering Merrimack past hundreds of acres of conserved land. Some paddled alone, others joined a group to learn more about the river at the heart of the Five Rivers’ region. Some folks had never experienced the unique perspective of our beautiful region from the river, despite decades spent living in the area. Food and drink awaited paddlers when they arrived at QuickWater.

Thanks to Quickwater Canoe and Kayak and Merrimack County Savings Bank for sponsoring this event, to Grappone Automotive Group, our 2014 event sponsor, and to the Concord Food Coop for providing snacks. Thanks also go to our trusty volunteers Ruth Smith, Bob Cotton, Ted Diers, Kit and Suzanne Morgan, Aaron Constant, Molly Sperduto, and Rob Knight. They made the event run smoothly!

If you’d like to be a part of our next event, please become a Five Rivers member. Our members get advanced notices of all our events and preferred access when attendance is limited. Your membership supports our work to conserve important lands in our 16 town region.

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Marjory Swope Park Hike

June 14, 2014 – The day started a bit gray and cool but did not stop a number of people from gathering at the Swope Park trail head bright and early on Saturday.

We started on the blue blazed loop trail keeping our eyes open for salamanders, birds, and other signs of forest life. After turning off onto the orange trail, we climbed for a bit until we reached the south-western lookout point where Dimond Hill Farm could be seen in the distance.

Taking a left onto the yellow blazed trail, we made our way back down onto the loop trail before hiking up to the northern view-point that overlooks the reservoir. The exercise and the company of fellow hikers were a great way to start the day!

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Five Rivers Annual Gathering 2014

May 22, 2014 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust hosted its Annual Gathering May 22 at Red River Theatres.

More than 100 guests enjoyed food and drink catered by The Works and Red River Theatres.

Five Rivers gave a review of 2013, introduced new trustees, and said goodbye to outgoing trustees. Talia Sperduto was honored as Volunteer of the Year.

The crowd then moved to the comfort of The Stonyfield Culture Cinema for a Power point and talk by featured speaker, Bill Betty, a Rhode Island-based mountain lion advocate.

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Moonlit Walk – Presented by Five Rivers, Concord Conservation Commission and McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

January 17, 2014 – Young and old enjoyed the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center presentation on the moon at the recent event we co-sponsored with the Concord Conservation Commission and the Center.

About 65 people joined us, at Carter Hill Orchard, on a recent Friday evening. We started the evening learning all about the moon, which made a fantastic appearance – glowing a fiery red as it rose above the orchard!

Some folks were fortunate enough to view the moon and some stars, through the telescopes, before the clouds crept in. Others enjoyed a brisk walk through the orchard and made their way back to the barn and enjoyed some refreshments.

For the event, Eastern Mountain Sports graciously donated a 3-day snowshoe rental ($80 value) to two lucky Five Rivers’ Members who came to the event. Join Five Rivers Conservation Trust by January 31st and you too will be entered to win one of these terrific packages.

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Twigg Property Conserved in Gilmanton

December, 2013 – The project to conserve the extraordinary views from Frisky Hill, Route 107, plus rich agricultural lands in two other locations in Gilmanton, came to fruition in late December. The properties, formerly owned by long-term Gilmanton resident George Twigg, III, have been conserved for agriculture and public enjoyment, under conservation easements held by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust. Gilmanton Land Trust, a local organization, undertook the project, in cooperation with Five Rivers, to raise the nearly $1.2 million needed to secure the future of four key properties owned by Mr. Twigg, including the views long admired by residents and travelers through the town.

In addition to contributions from more than 200 individuals, the project was made possible, in part, by funding from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), the State’s “Mooseplate” Conservation Grant Program, the Town of Gilmanton’s Conservation Fund, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP).

All of the properties include important agricultural soils and are currently used for hay by local farmers.

The land conserved includes four parcels: (1) the 15-acre tract on the top of Frisky Hill (Route 107) with views to the north and east over fields, hills and the Belknap Mountains; (2) a 21- acre parcel, also on Rt. 107, looking northerly over Loon Pond to rolling hills and Mount Kearsarge beyond; (3) an 8- acre field on Loon Pond Road providing access to a cemetery once used by the Osgood family; and (4) a 41- acre tract of fields and forests with extensive frontage on Meetinghouse Pond across from the historic Smith Meetinghouse complex. This parcel includes a flax retting pond, where farmers prepared flax for weaving into cloth in the early 19th century. The extensive stone structure built across the pond’s bottom for processing flax is the only known example of such a feature in the State of New Hampshire.

The Frisky Hill view toward the Belknaps and the Meetinghouse Road parcels are now owned by the Town of Gilmanton (subject to conservation easements held by Five Rivers) under the stewardship of the Conservation Commission. The remaining parcels, also restricted by the conservation easements, are now available for sale for agricultural use, with provisions that require maintenance of existing fields and associated views; for more information about this offering, contact Tom Howard, at 253-4999.

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Farley Property Conserved in Dunbarton

December 20, 2013 – 256 acres in Dunbarton is now under conservation easement with Five Rivers Conservation Trust. Anne Farley donated a conservation easement on 256 acres in Dunbarton to Five Rivers.

Anne, who has lived on the property for 36 years, refers to it as the “Lord Farm” in recognition of the family that farmed the land for generations. Located on Grapevine Road and Guinea Road, the property includes a combination of fields, forests, and a large vegetated wetland associated with Bela Brook, a town conservation priority that originates just beyond the property and flows through it. Anne’s land rises 440’ from the wetland to the east boundary, and the change in vegetation reflects this change in topography.

Over the years, Anne has raised sheep, goats, chickens, and horses on the property to which she and her husband Earl retired. Although Anne no longer has chickens, a bobcat visits the farm regularly in search of remembered prey. She has carded, spun, dyed and knitted the wool into many fine pieces cherished by those who now wear a piece of our agricultural heritage.

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West End Farm Trail Hike

Along the way, there was a rest stop at Dimond Hill Farm with apple cider and fresh cider donuts. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful fall day and we discovered some of the special places that Five Rivers Conservation Trust, NH Audubon, and the Concord Conservation Commission have protected.

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Five Rivers Photo Contest Winners

November, 2013 – Last summer Five Rivers Conservation Trust asked folks who live in the Concord area to share photos of themselves and families enjoying the many miles of trails that interlace the 56 properties that the group has protected.

By the time the contest closed, more than 40 images had been submitted. The contest was a way to celebrate the group’s 25th anniversary. Now the winners have been chosen:

  • 1st place People/pet category Emerson, Canterbury by Clifton Mathieu
  • 2nd place People/pet category Ransmeier, Hopkinton by Michael Murphy
  • 3rd place People/pet category Winant, Concord by Kate Fox
  • 1st place Scenery category Perkins Farm, Gilmanton by Gayle Hedrington
  • 2nd place Scenery category Winant, Concord by Noble Johnson
  • 3rd place Scenery category Bohanan Farm, Contoocook by Sue Burns
  • 1st place Wildlife category Tioga, Belmont by Clifton Mathieu
  • 2nd place Wildlife category Carter Hill Orchard, Concord by Rachel Pifer
  • 3rd place Wildlife category Thomas, Hillsborough by Sebastian Rosemont
  • 1st place Something Amazing category Dimond Hill Farm by Noble Johnson
  • 2nd place Something Amazing category Ransmeier, Hopkinton by Larry Levinson
  • 3rd place Something Amazing Category Swope, Concord by James Martin
  • Judges pick Ransmeier, Hopkinton by Larry Levinson
  • Judges pick Emerson, Canterbury by Clifton Mathieu
  • Judges pick Carter Hill Orchard, Concord by Larry Levinson

The 40 entries came from 18 participants with 10 different winners across four categories. All the photos submitted represented 11 of the Five Rivers properties across six towns. Categories included people/pet, scenery, something amazing, and wildlife with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards being offered.

All photos were submitted on the Five Rivers Facebook page, and were judged by a group of local celebrities, including Concord Insider Editor Keith Testa, radio personality Peter St. James, and InTown Concord’s Liza Poinier. Thank you very much to the judges for the time they took with this.

Five Rivers would also like to extend a special thank you to the Sponsors of our photo contest: Grappone Toyota and Rowland Studios. We could not have pulled this off without your incredible support!

The photos are now on display at Grappone Toyota/Scion until February.

An additional thank you goes out to the local businesses that contributed to the winners’ gift bags:

Grappone Toyota
S&W Sports
Hess Gehris Solutions
Red River Theatres

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Saving Open Spaces Matters – Rob Knight

October, 2013 – We know Five River’s Memberships Work Hard to Preserve What We Value. “Over the years land we had always counted on was developed; vistas disappeared, trails were closed off, and river launches were blocked. “ Rob Knight, Five Rivers Board Member

When we moved to NH 30 years ago, there was so much open space we never even thought about it. Then Dimond Hill Farm, our beloved neighborhood farm, was in danger of being lost. We were brokenhearted until Five Rivers Conservation Trust and a coalition of partners saved the farm and its wonderful fields and woods.We realized Five Rivers had helped save Carter Hill Orchard as well, where we enjoy apples and skiing.

Five Rivers also protected Bohanan Farm with its many acres along the Contoocook River where we paddle.

By that time we had already joined Five Rivers because we realized how important it is to support our local land trust which is there to protect the farms and open land that we treasure every day.

Join Audrey and me and become a member today. If you are already a member, many thanks and perhaps you would consider sharing this with your friends who might think of joining. Thank you!

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Easement plan could complete conservation of Stickney Hill farmland

September, 2013 – Lorrie and Peter Pierce moved to Stickney Hill Road in 1977 because they wanted an old house and open space. “It was just paradise”, Lorrie Pierce said.

The couple always worried their neighborhood just south of Interstate 89 would be developed, losing its identity as an agricultural community. But about 18 acres of their paradise could soon be conserved. The Concord Conservation Commission is working with Five Rivers Conservation Trust to protect it with an easement that would prohibit development.

Together, the fields span three properties and total 112 acres. Maplewood Farm, next to the Pierces’ property, was officially protected last year, when the city and Five Rivers Conservation Trust finalized an easement with the Bunten family to conserve 78 acres of hay fields and forest. Hope Butterworth, who owns the land next to the Pierces, donated an easement on more than 15 acres of her property earlier this year.

Rob Knight, treasurer of the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, is facilitating efforts to conserve the farmland around Stickney Hill Road. “When you look at the whole project (for all three properties) there’s been a lot of neighbors donating and the city of Concord did a bond (for Maplewood Farm) and the conservation commission came up with the money”, Knight said. “It’s a lot of people chipping in to preserve this neighborhood. And we sort of see this as the last step in preserving the Stickney Hill historic agricultural neighborhood.”

Conserving agricultural land in West Concord has been a priority for the city, said Senior Planner Becky Hebert. It was named as a goal in the city’s master plan, and Hebert said officials began working with the Buntens to preserve Maplewood Farm in 2010. An easement for 18 acres of the Pierces’ land “really completes the project”, Hebert said. Their property is between Maplewood Farm and Butterworth’s property. “There’s not a clear dividing line between each of the properties – they look like one continuous field”, Hebert said. “This property definitely contributes to the scenic quality and historic qualities out on Stickney Hill.”

The appraised value of an easement on the property is $182,000, Hebert said. On Wednesday, the conservation commission will hold a public hearing and vote on the Pierces’ property. That approval will be the first step necessary before applying for grants, which Hebert said she hopes will cover the cost of the easement. The city will partner with Five Rivers Conservation Trust to apply for grants, including the federal farm and ranchland protection program and the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. The plan to protect the Pierces’ land will not go before the city council until the city knows the result of its grant applications, Hebert said.

The Pierces do not farm, but they now allow Bohanan Farm in Hopkinton to use their hayfields. “The assessor actually called me and said it’s the best agricultural land he’s seen,” Lorrie Pierce said. The Bohanans also farm the abutting Maplewood Farm, which operated as its own dairy farm until 1964. The Bunten family is now working to sell their land, but the easement requires that the fields continue to be used for farming.

The quiet neighborhood of farmhouses has changed over the years as neighbors come and go, Lorrie Pierce said. But it is still full of untouched farmland and historic farmhouses. That’s one reason, Knight said, that Five Rivers Conservation Trust is working to conserve it. “It’s really quite unique to have a neighborhood like that because it looks just like it did 100 years ago”, Knight said.

The Pierces raised their children in the 19th century farmhouse and bred horses in the historic barn. They don’t have horses or children now, but they do keep a garden and work to maintain the old stone wall around their property. “You really get to love the land,” Lorrie Pierce said. “We know every inch of it.” There was always a fear of development, especially given the street’s location off I-89, the Pierces said as they sat on their porch yesterday afternoon. They attended public hearings and meetings about the Maplewood Farm easement and voiced interest in an easement of their own.

Peter Pierce said his land can connect the conserved properties on either side, protecting important farmland and wildlife habitats. They have seen bears, moose, deer and many smaller animals on their property. The Pierces have turned away interested developers, because they love the open space. An easement also means they will eventually earn less by selling their home, but the Pierces do not mind. “Money is great, but we just couldn’t build on this field,” Lorrie Pierce said.

Protecting the fields from development by future owners, she said, is a dream come true.

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Phelps donates 12-acre property in Webster to Five Rivers

July, 2013 – Geraldine Phelps generously donated the conservation easement on her 12-acre property in Webster to Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

Ms. Phelps’ property contains productive forest, supports a habitat for migrating barn swallows and provides a scenic view from both Route 127 and Pearson Hill Road, gathering enough natural resources criteria to be a protected area, and borders the State-designated Currier and Ives Scenic By-Way.

Divided between field and forest, there are a few very old stately oak trees in the mowed area, a small pond and plenty of grassland used by migratory birds for feeding and resting. The property also abuts conserved land, some of which is privately owned and some of which is owned by the town and is also under a conservation easement. Much of the area was owned by Phelps’ extended family for many years, including the Mock Forest.

This easement was possible through a generous donation of Ms. Phelps and the strong support of the Webster Conservation Commission. Five Rivers and the town of Webster are especially pleased to have completed their first project together. The Phelps easement brings the number of properties protected by conservation easements, which are held by Five Rivers, to 52.

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A Promise Kept – Butterworth Easement

July, 2013 – In the fall of 2011, Hope Zanes Butterworth sat before the Concord City Council and promised that if they approved funding for the Maplewood Farm Conservation Project, she would donate to Five Rivers Conservation Trust a conservation easement on her neighboring 20 acre farm also on Stickney Hill Road.

This week, Hope kept her promise as she signed the documents that will forever preserve the fertile fields and woods of her historic farm. The conservation easement now held by Five Rivers with an executor interest held by the City of Concord covers the portion of Hope’s property that is mostly hay fields, which are actively mowed and baled and provide valuable grass forage for a local dairy farm. Hope’s donation, along with Maplewood Farm, now guarantees the preservation of much of the open space and majestic views of the Stickney Hill Historic Farm District. Preservation of the open fields in the Stickney Hill historic agricultural district is an ongoing joint project of Five Rivers and the Concord Conservation Commission.

With the conclusion of the Stickney Hill transaction, Hope became a member of Five Rivers’ double donor club because in 2005 she donated a conservation easement on a 24 acre property in Hopkinton. “This is a proud and happy moment for me” she shared as documents were signed on an outside picnic table, under an apple tree at her Stickney Hill homestead.

The Hope Butterworth Stickney Hill easement is the 51st property under easement with Five Rivers, bringing the total acres under its protection to 3,389.

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Five Rivers Annual Gathering 2013

May, 2013 – More than 60 members and friends of Five Rivers assembled at the McLane Center at New Hampshire Audubon in Concord for the organization’s 2013 Annual Gathering.

Melinda Gehris, Board Chair, welcomed the group and reported on the organization’s activities in the busy and successful past year. Five Rivers closed seven new easements so that at year end over 3,300 acres were under conservation protection. She also reported that 2012 had been a strong year financially, thanks to exceptional membership support and its new membership category, the Five Rivers Conservation Leaders Society.

Those present learned that Susan Roman of Webster and Michael Lehman of Concord will join the board in 2013. Officers elected for the coming year include: Board Chair, Melinda Gehris; Board Vice-Chair, Margaret Watkins; Treasurer, Rob Knight; and Secretary, Tim Britain. Tribute and thanks were given to the retiring trustees: Carolyn Baldwin; Sarah Pillsbury; and Jayme Simoes.

Gehris also recognized and thanked the sponsors of the event: Ransmeier & Spellman P C and The Works Café.

Margaret Watkins introduced the evening’s featured speaker, Mary Holland, naturalist and author of several books for children and grown-ups on New Hampshire’s wonderful and unique natural life. Mary Holland offered fascinating commentary and stunning photographs, describing the cycle of nature in New Hampshire from March to February. Following her presentation Mary answered questions and hosted a book signing.

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Five Rivers Presentation at Concord Rotary Club

Our Executive Director, Jay Haines, and our Chair of the Five River’s Board, Melinda Gehris, were invited to give a presentation to the Concord Rotary Club.

There were 75 Rotary Club members present at the luncheon on Tuesday, May 7th to hear about the Five Rivers organization and our easements that we protect throughout the Concord region.

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Jay Haines and Don Bruggemann featured on Intown Concord on WKXL Radio

March 29, 2013 – Jay Haines, Executive Director of Five Rivers, and Don Bruggemann, a Five Rivers Board member were featured Friday and Saturday, March 29th and 30th on Intown Concord on WKXL radio. They were invited by the Concord radio station to come in and talk about the Five Rivers Conservation Trust organization.

Intown Concord airs Friday at 3:00 pm and Saturday at 10:00 am on WKXL 103.9 FM, 1450 AM, and Go to the website to hear the broadcast about Five Rivers and hear more about us and our upcoming events to celebrate our 25th Anniversary!

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Snowshoe Trek in Hillsborough

March 2, 2013 – On Saturday March 2nd a group of over 25 friends of Five Rivers Conservation Trust and neighbors of Hope Thomas enjoyed an afternoon of snow shoeing and good company in Hillsborough Center.

The trip started at Hope’s property which was recently conserved by her donation of a conservation easement on 113 acres to Five Rivers.

We then travelled through hardwood and softwood forests to the secluded Andrews Meadow. Andrews Meadow is over 20 acres in size and is now nearly completely conserved by a combination of Hope’s easement and the Society for the Protection of NH Forests. Once crossing the frozen pond we trekked through the woods to Melinda Gerhis and Richard Head’s home for refreshments and good cheer.

A good time was had by all.

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Gilmanton’s Greatest Views – For Everyone, Forever!

View of the Belknap Range from Frisky Hill, Rt. 107, Gilmanton, across lands to be preserved in the Gilmanton’s Greatest Views – For Everyone, Forever campaign undertaken by the Gilmanton Land Trust and Five Rivers Conservation Trust. ( Photo by T.Howe, GLT)

December, 2012 – Thank you to all who supported this cause. The campaign to preserve “Gilmanton’s Greatest Views – For Everyone, Forever” was a huge success due to the generous contributions of many.

The project, begun two years ago, will protect and ensure the good stewardship of four iconic conservation properties in Gilmanton owned by George Twigg, III. With the completion of this project, Five Rivers will have conservation easements on all four tracts of property, totaling 86 acres.

These lands include famous views from Frisky Hill, extensive frontage on unspoiled Meetinghouse Pond, highly productive farmlands, and an historic site used two centuries ago for processing (“retting”) flax into linen and found no where else in New Hampshire.

Key partners include the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, and the Gilmanton Conservation Commission. Part of the project’s confirmed funding includes a $531,750 award to Five Rivers from the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. Having received many additional contributions from individuals, our project has also been awarded some key grants, giving further validation of our cause:

  • Bank of New Hampshire – $10,000
  • Davis Conservation Foundation – $10,000
  • NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program – $22,500
  • NH Conservation License Plate (“Mooseplate”) Grant Program – $30,000

Tom Howe commented: “We’re grateful to have received such strong support from 190+ households, businesses, foundations, and public funding programs. It’s a testament to the sense of community that our supporters feel about this project, and why we’ve done so well.

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Explore Marjory Swope Park by Moonlight!

November 30, 2012 – Explore Marjory Swope Park by moonlight. Five Rivers Conservation Trust hosted an evening hike at the newly created Marjory Swope Park in West Concord. We walked by moonlight to the top of Jerry Hill for a view of the city’s reservoir. After the hike we warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies.

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Triacca / Dimond Hill Field Conserved!

April 20, 2012 – Triacca / Dimond Hill Field has been permanently saved, thanks to a dedicated community! Adjacent to Dimond Hill Farm lies valuable farmland, woods, and wetlands owned by the Triacca family.

The original owner of Dimond Hill Farm, Newton Abbott, sold these fields to one of his employees in 1932. Ever since, the land has been owned by the Triacca family and for decades, they grew corn and other crops on it. In 2011, the Triacca family wanted to put their land up for sale and approached the City of Concord and Five Rivers about the possibility of buying it. Five Rivers led a successful fundraising campaign to save the fields. Help came from the National Resource Conservation Service, the Russell Piscataquog River Watershed Foundation, and individual donors.

With the community in mind, and having decided to sell their land, the Triacca family has reached a forward-thinking conservation agreement with Five Rivers Conservation Trust and the City of Concord, but more funds need to be raised. Thank you! If you have questions please contact Jay Haines: or 225-7225.

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Five Rivers Annual Meeting 2012

April, 2012 – Five Rivers Conservation Trust’s Annual Meeting attendees marveled at salamanders in a vernal pool. We also spotted spring wildflowers and warblers and surprised a wild turkey while hiking on the scenic Therrien property in Canterbury. Five Rivers is currently working to purchase a conservation easement on the property.

Earlier in the morning we enjoyed learning about NH’s diverse landscape from Nature of NH co-author Dan Sperduto. Dan’s beautiful photos of NH’s special, wild places inspired us and reminded us all of how important it is to protect these habitats and open spaces for wildlife and generations of NH residents to come.

Also at the meeting, we welcomed three new board members – Tim Britain, Don Brueggemann, and Rob Pearce and thanked outgoing board members Tom Irwin and Jared Nyland. Learn more about our new board members in an upcoming article.

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Trail Planning for Marjory Swope Park

December 23, 2011 – Everyone at 5 Rivers is very excited about the new Marjory Swope Park property! Like the Winant Park property, we’ll be making many great trails.

John Swope donated the easement to Five Rivers Conservation Trust and then donated the protected land to the City of Concord in memory of his wife, Marjory Swope, long time chair of Concord’s Conservation Commission.

We’ll have more information soon, but we wanted to share an image of the proposed trails for the Marjory Swope Park property. See the map below left.

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Land for New Park In Concord Formally Approved

December, 2011 – Concord’s newest park, the Marjory Swope Park, moved several steps closer to reality today with the formal establishment of a conservation easement on the property off Long Pond Road. John Swope donated the easement to Five Rivers Conservation Trust and then donated the protected land to the City of Concord in memory of his wife, Marjory Swope, long time chair of Concord’s Conservation Commission.

At the same time, St. Paul’s School has agreed to allow trails on their abutting Jerry Hill property to tie into the Marjory Swope Park, as has the Hok family. Hikers will be able to walk to the top of Jerry Hill, and can extend their hike to include a several mile loop into the State Forest off District #5 Road, and City of Concord land behind Timberline Drive. Following the transaction, Jay Haines, the executive director of Five Rivers Conservation Trust, said, “The generosity of the Swope family in donating the land for the Marjory Swope Park and neighboring land owners; St. Paul School and the Hok family, makes possible a wonderful trail system on the west side of Concord.”

Becky Hebert, City Senior Planner and staff representative to the Concord Conservation Commission, expects the City will have completed the parking area for the Marjory Swope Park this coming spring, and is setting up a committee of volunteers from Five Rivers and the Concord Trail Meisters to lay out the Swope trails, with the aim of opening the park by early summer. Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a non-profit organization based out of their offices on Warren Street in Concord. For over twenty years they have worked to preserve and protect open space land in seventeen towns throughout central New Hampshire.

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We’ve Moved!

November, 2011 – After a decade of presence in the Society for the Protection of NH Forrest’s facility, our growth and success forced us to part from our office home. Five Rivers has moved to 31 Warren Street in Concord.

This location not only provides greater office space for work activities, but offers committee meeting space plus a place for visitors to “drop in” and obtain information about our activities, and view photographs of properties in conservation.

Our telephone (603-225-7225) and e-mail ( & remain the same.

The board has greatly appreciated the opportunity to have Five Rivers located in the SPNHF facilities, their professional knowledge and resources have been important to our maturity and growth as the local conservation trust to Concord and 16 surrounding communities. This bond will always remain.

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Introducing Jay Haines, Five Rivers Executive Director

November 14, 2017 – It is my pleasure to have this opportunity to introduce myself. I am Jay Haines, the recently appointed Executive Director for Five Rivers Conservation Trust (Five Rivers), and I am delighted to have been chosen for this meaningful position.

I have been a New Hampshire resident for 30 years, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1980 to take a position in commercial banking. In 1990, I left banking to start my consulting firm, Janvier Associates, which, for 20 years provided financial and organizational guidance to owner managed businesses and nonprofit organizations. I have been a permanent and interim nonprofit executive director with social service, arts, and community service organizations as well as serving on numerous nonprofit boards. With the latter my areas of activity have been centered in finance and fundraising.

The opportunity to become the ED of Five Rivers allows me to put two decades of advisory and nonprofit board experience to work in the field, or woods, of conservation. I have personally benefitted from and respected those working in conservation since moving to New Hampshire. I am an avid hiker, mountain biker, and general outdoor enthusiast. Living in the Sunapee lakes region (North Sutton and New London) for the past 15 years, I have regularly availed myself of the many activities and opportunities found on conservation protected/public welcome properties.

I welcome the opportunity to bring all this together working as Five Rivers’ ED, and for you, its member.

Your board and I want to continue to share news about conserved properties and Five Rivers sponsored activities. The most efficient and timely fashion to do this is through e-mail contact. Therefore, I would be most appreciative if you would take a moment to send me an e-mail at,; which would allow us to add your e-address to our files.

Look for exciting announcement regarding the Bohanan Farm property, our summer walk adventures, and other upcoming activities.

I look forward to meeting you.

Jay Haines, Executive Director

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Why I Contribute to Five Rivers, By Dr. Frank Betchart

June 6, 2011 – When asked to write about my motivation to be a contributor to 5RCT, my initial reaction was that this would be a “cake walk”. It is easy to come up with a litany of reasons, but it is more challenging to be succinct and articulate about them.

In the past, I have been somewhat cynical and reluctant towards charitable fund raising. The incessant requests for donations via dinnertime robo-calls, junk mailings with yet another set of address labels, and “annual” fund raising events that seem to happen quarterly fatigue us all. It is a well-known fact that much of the money collected is used to pay the fundraisers, and to ramp up the next fundraising campaign. The icing for me were the highly publicized past scandals involving mismanagement of large national organizations.

5RCT is different. The Board of Trustees is comprised of people who are our neighbors, our social acquaintances, and professional peers in central NH. All are dedicated to the ethic of environmental stewardship and conservation, and give generously of their personal time and treasure. The vast majority of donations to 5RCT are channeled to acquisition and maintenance of conservation easements in our community. I need only to walk out my back door to access the trails of Winant Park, or visit the orchard at Carter Hill to experience this impact. Nancy and I donate to 5RCT with confidence and satisfaction that our contribution is being used wisely towards the stewardship of local properties that are sensitive, unique, and vital to sustaining New Hampshire’s environmental quality and lifestyle.

So whether you value land preservation for the purpose of recreation, preservation of wildlife habitat, or for sustaining the heritage of agriculture in New Hampshire, I trust that you will find, as we have, that donating to 5RCT is a satisfying way to contribute.

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Five Rivers Annual Meeting 2011

May 21, 2011 – Five Rivers held its 2011 Annual Meeting on May 21 at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord. After time to catch up with friends, the gathering began with remarks from Rob Larocque. Rob talked about how the property was protected, and the business of running the orchard. He reminded the audience of the importance of the work done by Five Rivers. Following Rob’s remarks, Jay Haines, Executive Director, provided the audience with a brief summary of Five Rivers’ activities this past year, and anticipated events going forward.

During the business meeting, we elected four new Trustees, Nick Coates of Belmont, Robyn Cotton of Concord, Danielle Kronk Barrick of Concord, and Ken Stern of Canterbury. Elected for a second term were Ted Diers of Concord and Melinda Gehris of Hillsborough. The Trustees also honored three Trustees who are stepping down, William Chapin, Jr., Steve Lee, and Mark Zankel. The program included a presentation by Commissioner of Agriculture Lorraine Merrill. Ms. Merrill is also the co-owner of Stuart Farm, a 270-acre dairy enterprise with 240 milking cows and nearly 200 head of young cattle. Commissioner Merrill spoke about agriculture in the state, the need to preserve agricultural lands, and her family’s experience with protecting their own farm. Her comments left us both encouraged and challenged to continue to focus on the need for sustainable agriculture in the state.

After the program, members toured the cider press and took the opportunity to walk on the trails at the property.

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Five Rivers featured on NHPR’s Giving Matters

The Five Rivers Conservation Trust helped Jamie and Heather Robertson place a conservation easement on 417 acres of their Hopkinton dairy farm. The easement, purchased by the town of Hopkinton, allows the land to be farmed, but protects it from being developed.

JAMIE: Bohanan farm consists of about four hundred and forty acres of land along three different rivers.

HEATHER: We’ve been here for over a hundred years. I’m the fourth generation.

JAMIE: At this point we have the fifth generation that’s interested in coming back to the farm.

HEATHER: My husband and I milk two hundred, two hundred and ten cows three times a day. We raise all our own crops. Farming is in the blood I think. Yeah, it takes a little bit of something I think to want to live kind of this hard life.

JAMIE: Over the last four years we’ve gotten a little bit more nervous about whether or not the farm would be able to sustain the land in the long run and Heather’s folks and Heather and I and our children really felt strongly about the fact that we didn’t want to see the land develop no matter what. We chose Five Rivers, it seemed to be very progressive in not just preserving land but preserving commercial agriculture and commercial timber production that went along with it which was extremely important to us.

HEATHER: To me it feels like a responsibility to the past and a responsibility to the future because it is. It’s river bottom land. You don’t come by that very easily and you don’t keep it by putting houses and concrete on it.

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Exploring the Emerson Easement

April, 2011 – We had a great walk on the Emerson Easement in Canterbury recently. Despite the chilly temperatures, we saw a few signs of spring – spiders and grasshoppers in the fields, a soaring turkey vulture and the rushing meltwater of Peverley Stream.

Emily Brunkhurst pointed out interesting signs of wildlife, including holes made by wood boring beetles and yellow-bellied sapsuckers and Dave Emerson told us about the farmers who originally settled the land.

The scenic trail which traverses through forests and fields and along the rocky stream is open to walkers. Access and parking are available at the Emerson’s Old Ways Traditions Shop on Shaker Road in Canterbury.

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In Memory of Riv Winant

February 3, 2011 – Rivington Winant, generous donor of Winant Park in Concord, passed away on February 3rd, 2011. Five Rivers Board Chairman Mark Zankel reflects on the passing of a friend.

I first met Riv Winant in June of 2006, when he and his wife Joan paid a visit to Concord. Amongst my handwritten notes from that meeting were the following: “Wants to honor his late father – NH Gov. John Winant – by donating the remainder of his family land in Concord for a new city park… Rivington says there were terrific views from the hilltop when he grew up… Would be a nice place for people to hike around. This is important to him!” Three years later, Riv’s vision became a reality with the opening of the 85-acre Winant Park.

Like most of our conservation projects, this one demanded hard work and persistence by many individuals including representatives from the City of Concord, St. Paul’s Academy, and Five Rivers Conservation Trust. But at the heart of the whole effort was Riv. Through many ups and downs, including several tenuous moments where it seemed like everything might fall apart, Riv stayed the course.

He struck me as a kind and gentle man, a great storyteller who liked to laugh and harbored a deep appreciation for 20th century American history. But Riv also knew, and Joan reminded us, that time and health were not on his side. He wasn’t afraid to push us to get the project done.

On a sunny June 24, 2009, with final construction of the entry kiosk and parking area having been completed in the absolute nick of time, Winant Park was formally dedicated with a smiling Rivington Winant looking on. And what a glorious park it is, a fitting tribute for Governor John Gilbert Winant and his wife Constance. When I spoke to Joan Winant recently, to share our sincere condolences, she said that the creation of Winant Park gave Riv tremendous joy and happiness in his final years. And that is fitting. You know, ultimately, the fate of land comes down to individuals. I am thankful that Winant Park was in the hands of Rivington Winant, and that in endeavoring to memorialize his father, Riv also created a lasting conservation legacy of his own.

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NH Wildlife Action Plan

February, 2011 – Jay Haines, our Executive Director, recently sat down with NH Fish and Game Biological Technican Lindsay Webb to discuss the NH Wildlife Action Plan. She was kind enough to provide us the following information.

The New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) is a blueprint to keep species from becoming endangered. Completed in 2005 (maps updated in 2010) by NH Fish and Game Department staff and their conservation partners, the WAP provides New Hampshire landowners and conservationists with important tools for restoring and maintaining critical habitats and populations of the state’s species of conservation and management concern. The WAP is the most comprehensive wildlife and habitat assessment ever completed in New Hampshire. It pulls together a vast amount of data, analyzes much of it to assess how species and habitats are doing, and outlines key conservation strategies – ways to help conserve the wildlife and habitats that are most at risk in our state. The WAP and accompanying maps are available on NH Fish and Game’s website.

Another great resource of information is this collaborative website between NH Fish and Game and UNH Cooperative Ex. : This website provides information, resources and guidance to support communities, conservation groups and landowners that are working to protect, conserve, restore or manage wildlife habitats. The website draws on strategies outlined in the NH Wildlife Action Plan and is a source of guidance toward suggested actions, with examples from projects completed by New Hampshire communities. Step-by-step directions on the following topics can be found on the website: planning your wildlife conservation project, incorporating wildlife information into your natural resources inventory, creating a wildlife conservation plan for your community, protecting wildlife habitats through voluntary land conservation, using regulations to protect wildlife, managing and restoring habitats on community land and conducting outreach, education and communication about wildlife.

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Long Tailed Weasel or Ermine?

January 29, 2011 – Recently, I was snow-shoeing down the access road from Mt. Kearsarge’s parking area in Wilmont, when an animal crossed the road 20 yards in front of me. I noticed it was about the size of a squirrel, but a bit leaner, and lower to the ground. The animal was absolutely white in color, except the tip of its tail which was black. I didn’t recognize the animal.

When I asked for ideas, several people responded: it was probably either a long-tailed weasel (most likely, and pictured on the left) or an ermine (pictured below). They are similar looking. Both molt twice a year, with a light/white coat in winter. Ermines are only about a foot or less in length, weasels are often a wee bit larger (but not much).

I learned that both animals are weasels – as are fishers, otters, and skunks! Both are mostly nocturnal and active throughout the year. They are fierce hunters with similar diets that include small mammals, birds, frogs, insects, earthworms, and when the going gets tough .. carrion. This experience, and the knowledge of board members, provided good education to yours truly, and rounded out the pleasure of my ritual Sunday hike. Weasel One notes my first of hopefully many more weasel sightings.

I can’t help but add, since my hike was up and down Mt. Kearsarge’s north side, my congratulations to the Society for the Protection of NH Forests for its recent acquisition of the Black Mt. acreage which preserves the valuable and enjoyable access to Mt. Kearsarge from the southwest via the Lincoln Trail.

– Jay Haines

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The Faces of Five Rivers – Jay Haines

November 13, 2010 – The Faces of Five Rivers – Jay Haines, As interviewed by Melinda Gehris. There are many faces of Five Rivers. Meet one of the newest: Jay Haines. Jay joined us as the Executive Director this past May. Jay brings with him vast experience and knowledge from which the organization has already benefited. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jay. I want to share our conversation with you.

MG: What has been your career path?

JH: I spent twenty-three years in commercial banking, beginning in Philadelphia, and finishing my banking career as the President of a bank in New Hampshire. In 1990, I decided to use my expertise to assist local businesses. At the time,we were in the last recession; five of New Hampshire largest banks had collapsed. I began a consulting business to assist clients in establishing relationships with bankers and transition to permanent and stable banking relationships. It offered a good opportunity to meld my knowledge of the industry and my interest in supporting local businesses.
As the banking crisis ended, my consulting transitioned to working with businesses and non-profits to increase financial performance.Many of my clients needed assistance to stabilize their finances, or assess and strengthen their internal operating structure. I worked to identify and propose pathways to resolve their issues.

MG: How did you get to Five Rivers?

JH: Last year, I was ready to wind down my consulting business but wanted to do something. I have been the Executive Director of non-profits both permanently and on an interim basis. I looked for an opportunity in the non-profit world that would allow me to bring benefit to the organization and at the same time enjoy myself. I spoke with a number of organizations about opportunities. I became intrigued with Five Rivers because it combines the focus of my business background – working with non-profits – with my love for being outdoors. Although this job is not heavily an outside job, it does allow me to advocate for things and places where I choose to spend time for my own enjoyment, outdoors. I am now part of sustaining my favorite places for generations to come.
Its the most selfish job I ever took!

MG: What has been the biggest surprise about Five Rivers?

JH: I have been amazed by the genuine commitment and realistic perspective of board members. The trustees are not a group of altruistic dirt lovers. They are people spending time and energy for a genuine love of conservation. And each has their own reason. That is true of the members as well, as I have discovered, they (members) are part of Five Rivers for a multitude of different reasons.
The most pleasant surprise has been watching the board members use their own resources to move the
mission forward. Board members are called upon to be actively involved. And they are. Members of the board are here because of commitment to the mission and shared values, not for resume building or to associate their names with a cause.

MG: When you are not at the Five Rivers office, in a committee meeting or walking one of our conserved properties, how do you spend your time?

JH: I spend some time tending to things at the Concord Antique Gallery, which I own. I have good managers and I have learned not to mess with them, but the Gallery still takes time. I am active on two non-profit boards the Capitol Center for the Arts and Main Street Concord. (Jay is the President of the Main Street Concord Board). I am pleased to be associated with those organizations. Both of them have a mission parallel to that of Five Rivers preserving community.

When not working or volunteering in Concord, I spend time outdoors. I love being outside. I enjoy puttering in the yard and our veggie garden. I walk and hike every Sunday, all year long, around the state. One of my favorite trails is the Manning from the AMC hut up the summit of Mount Cardigan in Alexandria. I try to keep up with my wife, Tracy. She is a tri-athlete. Although she no longer competes,Tracy keeps up the discipline of training, and that helps to motivate me to go for a jog on a cold, dark morning.

MG: Where do you live?

JH: We live in New London, in a wonderful neighborhood on a post card street with houses on one side and open space with few houses on the other side. Neighbors have been acquiring large pieces of land and restoring and preserving them.I enjoy the beauty of their open fields and old stone walls daily. Living in New London, I became aware of and joined the Ausbon Sergeant land Trust. My connections there expanded my understanding of the work of local land trusts and provided a basis for respect and enthusiasm for the opportunity in working with Five Rivers.

MG: So far, what do you see as the biggest challenge as Executive Director?

JH: I see an early challenge is making sure the work and identity of Five Rivers as a resource fort he Capital region becomes better known and appreciated. As people learn more about the organization, we will be approached by more landowners and town commissions, generating more opportunities for conservation. This leads to the next challenge, making sure that Five Rivers has all the resources necessary, in place, to respond fully to these opportunities.

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