Approaching the four corners of Meadow Pond, Loon Pond, and Stockwell Hill Roads in Gilmanton is like experiencing “The essence of rural character in Gilmanton”. Now these 164 acres of scenic lands are conserved permanently, thanks to landowners Graham Wilson and Virginia Sapiro who donated a conservation easement to Five Rivers Conservation Trust on December 20.
The landowners have carefully managed their pine-oak forestland, and allow a neighbor to tap their sugarbush. Waterfowl and other terrestrial and aquatic life find productive habitats along over 3/4 of a mile of Academy Brook. Vernal pools, beaver ponds, mill ponds, and the surrounding expanse of forest augment the value of this land for wildlife. Gina tends fertile gardens on the property and her produce and bread are available at “Gilmanton’s Own” market.
Old timers know this property as the former location of a thriving 19thcentury Gilmanton landmark, Jones Mill. Millers used the power of Academy Brook to grind grain, manufacture clothes dryers, and make 73,000 shingles per day!
The landowners generously donated the conservation easement to permanently protect their land from development, subdivision, and mismanagement, no matter who owns it in the future. Five Rivers Conservation Trust guided the conservation process and is responsible for ensuring the terms of this conservation easement are upheld forever. To do that Five Rivers will monitor the property at least annually, work cooperatively with all future landowners to determine appropriate land uses and take action if future activities are not compatible with the conservation easement.
The Gilmanton Land Trust and private donors provided crucial financial assistance for transaction costs. Five Rivers is still accepting donations to cover these costs.
Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit, membership-supported organization working with communities and landowners to protect land with important conservation values. Five Rivers’ Mission is to ensure that future generations can experience, utilize, and benefit from the farms, forests, water resources and wildlife habitat that characterize the local landscape today. Five Rivers conserves land in seventeen communities across New Hampshire’s greater capital region and has conserved 69 properties, totaling over 4800 acres.