NEWBURY — A two-year collaboration and fundraising effort to create a conservation easement on 143 acres of land on Chalk Pond Road, known as the Stoney Brook Project, ended successfully last month.
The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust closed on the Stoney Brook Project in Newbury at the end of January, said Ausbon Sargent executive director Deborah Stanley.
The conservation easement bridges a gap in a block of conserved land in Newbury, creating a permanent corridor of 1,168 acres running from Lake Sunapee’s eastern shore to the Newbury/Sutton town line, including New Hampshire Audubon’s Stoney Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, the Forest Society’s Hay Reservation and the town-owned Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway corridor.
“It actually connects other parcels of conservation land and it was sort of the missing link,” Stanley said. “It was the one and only opportunity to connect and link these lands.”NH Audubon will own and manage the land and the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust holds the conservation easement, Stanley said.
The land had been owned by local developers Lynne and Bob Bell of Bolyn Land Investment Co., but they agreed to sell the land to NH Audubon at below its assessed value, acknowledging that several factors made it more ideal for conservation, Stanley said, including its popular hiking trails as well as its importance to the Lake Sunapee watershed.
The Stoney Brook Conservation Alliance was formed in 2012 to tackle the project and start fundraising. The total cost of the project was $291,000, Stanley said, which includes the property purchase and other expenses such as surveying, legal costs, appraisal and stewardship.
The majority of the money came from pledges by the Newbury Conservation Commission, Sunapee Hills Association, Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway, NH State Conservation Committee Moose Plate Grant and the landowners.