The Nature Conservancy has long recognized the importance of America’s public lands. Americans look to our beloved landscapes to support and enrich our lives.
Even during its infancy as a country, America recognized the beauty and need for conservation to sustain our nation.
- Franconia Notch State Park is home to the "Great Stone Face" known affectionatelly as the Old Man of the Mountain. Discovered in 1805, the rock formation was quickly immortalized by both Nathanial Hawthorne and Daniel Webster and was visited by millions before crumbling in 2003.
- Established in 1881 by the newly formed Division of Parks and Recreation, Miller State Park (a.k.a. South Pack Monadnock) became New Hampshire's first state park.
- The Weeks Act of 1914 allowed for state lands sold, cut and burned over by private owners to once again become public domain. Under the act, New Hampshire acquired 7,000 acres in Benton which became the base of the White Mountain National Forest. Now at nearly 800,000 acres, the WMNF is one of the most heavily visited forests in the country.
Today, the Conservancy supports policy initiatives such as America’s Great Outdoors and urges a permanent commitment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Of course, the Conservancy also has a long history of working with local, state and federal entities to establish and expand popular and iconic places. While the sites below represent only a fraction of our projects in New Hampshire, we hope these highlights will inspire you to explore and protect our great outdoors.
After all, this land is your land.
In 2004, the New Hampshire Chapter purchased 950 acres along the Connecticut River in Charlestown and Langdon on Fall Mountain from New England Power Company (NEPCO). The acquisition included the entire watershed of the mountaintop and three populations of the globally rare and federally endangered Northeastern bulrush. The property was transferred to the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands in 2005 to become Fall Mountain State Forest with the Conservancy retaining a conservation easement.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Beginning in 2008, The Nature Conservancy has partnered with the New Hampshire Fish & Wildlife Service to acquire and add over 2,413 acres of land to both the Pondicherry and Mohawk River Divisions of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is emblematic of the state, with rich and varied landscape, abundant wildlife, and cold water streams flowing through the narrow valleys down to the Presidential Range. The Mohawk River Division lies within the Bunnell-Nash Stream forest matrix block, just north of the Conservancy’s 10,800-acre Vickie Bunnell Preserve.
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Since 1994 The Nature Conservancy has been in a partnership with 9 agencies and organizations which includes the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. As a result of this partnership, and the Conservancy’s role as the lead acquisition agent for the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership, over 5,500 acres of valuable forests, open fields, wetlands and estuarine shoreline have been permanently conserved.
In 1988 a partnership between the Conservancy, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Trust for Public Land, the U.S. Forest Service and the Land Conservation Investment Program (now LCHIP) acquired 40,000 acres that now form Nash Stream State Forest. The property includes many streams and ponds and hardwood forests consisting of sugar and red maple, yellow and paper birch, and American beech. Combined with the Conservancy's abutting 10,800-acre Vickie Bunnell Preserve, the lands provide important habitat linkages for mammals like moose, black bear and bobcat.
Connecticut Lakes Headwaters
In April 2002, The Nature Conservancy acquired 25,000 acres to establish the largest natural area in New Hampshire’s spectacular Connecticut Lakes region. The property is part of a 171,500-acre block of contiguous protected land known as the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Project, acquired through a partnership that included the Trust for Public Land, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Appalachian Mountain Club, New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, the Conservancy and others. The Natural Area contains rugged mountain peaks, remote ponds, lush wetlands and rich lowland forests that provide habitat for migratory songbirds, waterfowl and wide-ranging mammals. The Conservancy transferred the 25,000-acre Connecticut Lakes Natural Area property to New Hampshire Fish & Game in 2002 and retains a conservation easement.