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December 09. 2013 11:00PM

Monadnock Conservancy gets towns' financial help

KEENE — The Monadnock Conservancy plan to preserve 688 acres in Chesterfield, Keene and Swanzey has secured funding from all three communities.

The Keene City Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to contribute $26,500 to the project.

"The goal of the project is to achieve a corridor of protected lands that will range from Pisgah State Park all the way to Keene and will include parcels in Keene, Swanzey and Chesterfield," City Councilman Mitchell H. Greenwald said. "Obviously the other towns will be contributing and participating in a big way."

Greenwald said $1,457 of Keene's contribution would come from the Conservation Land Acquisition Fund and the remainder would be drawn from the Tax Land Use Change Fund.

The corridor sits within the largest area — 28,223 acres — of unfragmented land known as the California Brook Natural Area, which plays a key role in wildlife movement, according to Anne McBride, Monadnock Conservancy land protection director.

The plan would protect a corridor of land that connects Pisgah State Park to forest land in Keene known as the West Hill parcel.

In September, Monadnock Conservancy approached all three municipalities for help to fund the $371,300 project by contributing $66,000.

Chesterfield has already agreed to give $17,000 and Swanzey $22,500 toward the conservation easements that would protect the land from development.

The amount of money Monadnock Conservancy requested from each municipality is proportional to the acreage in each municipality, according to McBride.

Robert King and Anne Faulkner own the three parcels that make up 688 acres. Most of the land, 552 acres, sits in Keene and Swanzey.

The idea of creating the corridor of open land came out of a 1998 workshop. Since then, easements have created the corridor piece by piece, but this new swath of protected land would fill in a gap between Pisgah and Keene.

mpierce@newstote.com


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