To The Daily Sun,
In case you haven't heard, the Gilford Land Conservation Task Force (LCTF) is thrilled to announce the successful completion of the purchase of Piper Mountain. We worked in a combined effort with the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) and the Gilford Conservation Commission and not only were we able to protect Piper Mountain with a conservation easement, but that easement also protects an 85-acre abutting parcel owned by LRCT. The Lakes Region Conservation Trust now owns Piper Mountain and the town of Gilford holds the easement on both properties. We'd like to thank the owner, Ernest Houle, for giving us the opportunity to purchase Piper Mountain.
While both the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and the Land Conservation Task Force did extensive fundraising, as chair of the LCTF, I want to acknowledge and thank the well over 200 donors who contributed to the town's efforts that led to this successful conclusion. It is obvious that the importance of protecting Piper Mountain goes way beyond the Lakes Region and all of New Hampshire.
Donations came from every New England state, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and as far away as California. To each and every one of you goes our sincere gratitude.
Some people donated in memory or in honor of another, and I certainly want to publicly acknowledge their loved ones: Barbara Strohm in memory of her father, Albert Clark; Barbara Cushing Moore in memory of her husband, Stephen W. Moore; Charles A. McLean given in the name of the Robert Stimson family; Anita Hewitt in memory of her brother, Wayne Mittox; Laura Hall in memory of her husband, Michael P. Hall (along with a very nice letter); the Deschenes/Patazis family in memory of Pat Deschenes; and Phoebe Howe in honor of Tom Howe.
We received two significant donations through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation from the Douglas and Angela Stone Family Fund, and the Penny Pitou and Milo Pike Charitable Fund. We also want to thank the Samuel P. Pardoe Foundation for its crucial challenge grant of $20,000 at the end of the campaign which spearheaded us to the final successful conclusion.
Special thanks to Sandra Hart who works in the Planning and Land Use Department at the Town Hall and was my exceptional go-to person for basically everything. A project like this entails direct contact with multiple departments that include the town administrator, selectmen, assessor's office, conservation commission, and of course the Finance Department. I have to say that Gilford is so lucky to have these wonderful, helpful and professional employees and board members. Each of them has been a total pleasure to work with.
There are others who contributed significant time, effort and financial support as well, and our sincere thanks to each of you: Don Watson for an extensive mailing that resulted in over 37 percent of the total number of donors, and for also prompting a significant donation from the Belknap County Sportsmen's Association; Kate Bruchacova for helping LRCT with soliciting via the web, Jack and Shirley Woodward for their moral and financial support; my son-in-law, Dani Louca, who carried a drone here all the way from North Carolina so I could get aerial photos of Piper for our solicitation handouts and mailings; the Belknap Range Conservation Coalition for soliciting at Mount Major and the Sandwich Fair, plus a significant monetary contribution; Gunstock for allowing our poster seeking donations to be displayed; and last but certainly not least, my wife, Sandy, who put up with a very intense effort on my part due to such a short time frame to get this done, and my extended family who supported my passion for land conservation even though they've never even seen Piper Mountain.
A big acknowledgement and thank you to Maureen Nix for extensive title and recording work prior to and after a very crucial deadline, and Attorneys Doug Hill and Steve Nix for their efforts both prior to and during the closing which were necessary to bring this to a very long sought for successful conclusion.
All the efforts to raise the needed $120,000 to purchase Piper Mountain would never have happened without the support of each one of you who donated. You should be very proud of your accomplishment and we hope you know that it was because of you that everyone can enjoy hiking, recreating and enjoying this very special Lakes Region icon forever.
Piper Mountain is conserved in perpetuity! Thank you!
Everett McLaughlin, Chair,
Gilford Land Conservation Task Force
Gilford Conservation Commission