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Group celebrates 50 years of service protecting Chocorua Lake resources

Union Leader Correspondent

September 04. 2018 8:45PM
With Chocorua Lake and Mount Chocorua as backdrops, Alex Moot, president of the Chocorua Lake Conservancy, poses for a photo on the Narrows Bridge in Tamworth. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

TAMWORTH — Dominated by the iconic, rocky peak of Mount Chocorua, the easternmost gateway to the White Mountains, the Chocorua Lake and Basin have long been admired by residents and visitors alike.

Much of the region’s appeal can be traced to the formation of the Chocorua Lake Conservancy, which is celebrating its golden anniversary of protecting its beauty and ensuring public access to one of New Hampshire’s most attractive areas.

Charles P. Bowditch, who at the turn of the 20th century owned most of the land around the lake, wrote in his will that efforts should be made to keep “the shores of the Chocorua ponds in as natural and wild a state as possible.”

Fifty years ago this year, two organizations with parallel missions were formed: the Chocorua Lake Association, which monitored the water quality of Chocorua Lake and maintained its beaches, boat launch and picnic area; and the Chocorua Lake Conservation Foundation, which protected and preserved the view shed in the Chocorua Basin and maintained trails within it.

In August 2014, in an effort to better use their resources and be more sustainable, the CLCF and the CLA merged to form the Chocorua Lake Conservancy.

The CLC owns and manages nearly 1,000 acres of conservation land in the Chocorua Lake Basin and protects an additional 3,000 acres through 120 perpetual conservation easements and covenants.

By its estimate, the CLC has helped protect the entire Chocorua Lake shoreline from development while being a partner in permitting access to nearly 40 percent of it.

One of the CLC’s most popular properties is known as The Grove. Located on Chocorua Lake Road, just off Route 16, The Grove is a three-acre parcel with parking, benches, toilets, the famous Narrows Bridge, and, of course, stunning views of Mount Chocorua to the north and Little Lake to the south.

The iconic lake was featured on the back of the New Hampshire quarter in the U.S. Mint’s 2013 America the Beautiful initiative.

Along with the Stark Covered Bridge, the image of the lake and Mount Chocorua is reportedly one of the most photographed in New England.

Last week, CLC president Alex Moot spoke about the organization’s Aug. 18 Annual Meeting; its Timeless Chocorua capital campaign, and, as a part of it, the transition of the CLC “into a modern land trust that stewards its properties.”

In 2016, the CLC launched its Timeless Chocorua capital campaign and also hired Lynne Flaccus as the full-time stewardship director

As of Aug. 31, Moot said 93 percent of the campaign’s $1.8-million goal had been met, with the money to be used for funding a stewardship director position in perpetuity and maintaining and improving the CLC’s resources.

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