GILMANTON — 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 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.)
Tom Howe, of the Gilmanton Land Trust, took the lead in organizing the fundraising campaign and working with several funding agencies to create conservation easements to preserve these special places for future generations.