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May 21. 2014 9:22PM

Moose Mountain Regional Greenways expanding role to that of land trust


Farmington residents Rod and Judy Thompson, who are in the process of establishing a 200-acrea conservation easement with Moose Mountain Regional Greenways, pose in front of one of the many ephemeral streams that drain from their property into the Mad River. (COURTESY)

FARMINGTON — Area residents are invited to learn more about conservation easements after a local family is seeking to preserve a 200-acre parcel along the New Durham border.

Members of Moose Mountain Regional Greenways (MMRG) and the New Durham Conservation Commission are hosting a two-part event May 31.

Owner Rodney Thompson is scheduled to provide the history of the property during a 30-minute slide show and presentation, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in the New Durham Fire Station Community Room, 6 Main St. in New Durham.

In the release, Thompson said, “the bulk of the land has been in our family for over 250 years; it was settled by my third great grandfather two hundred years ago. Judy and I care about it and want to keep it just the way it is.”

After the slide show, registered participants will be able to follow Keith Fletcher, MMRG’s director of land conservation, on a guided walk of Rod and Judy Thompson's 200-acre farmstead and woodlot and learn about how the organization would serve as stewards of the easement.

“The property, which sits astride the Farmington/New Durham town line, contains mature forests, scenic dells, miles of stone walls, historic stone piles, and ephemeral streams that feed the Mad River. In order to preserve these resources in perpetuity, landowners Rodney and Judy Thompson have generously offered to donate the conservation easement to MMRG. The Thompson easement will be the first held by MMRG, which is now a land trust,” according to a release.

While MMRG has been a resource to area residents for the past 15 years, the organization can now accept conservation easements, according to Executive Director Virginia Long.

Long said it’s exciting to combine the next stage of the non-profit organization as a land trust through the care of “a great piece of property.”

She said it takes a great deal of planning, preparation and funding to maintain a property forever.

“It’s a big responsibility,” Long said.

While only about 20 area residents can participate on the guided walk, Long said the organization can host other educational events on the easement in the future. To pre-register, contact MMRG’s Education Coordinator, Kari Lygren at 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info.

“The owners want to keep it as wild as possible,” Long said, adding the Thompsons want to preserve the property where they’ve seen deer, bobcat, owls, fox, turkeys and signs of bear. Additionally, Long said Fletcher will explain the advantages of conservation easements and talk about how area residents help protect the region’s resources through making donations.

While the Conservation Commissions of Farmington and New Durham have helped pay for the cost of the easement, MMRG received a $5,000 grant from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Project and the Thompsons paid to survey the property and pledged to support future stewardship, a campaign is underway to raise the remaining $1,400.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways was founded as a non-profit land conservation organization in 1999 by conservation commissioners and planning board members from the towns of Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham and Wakefield. For more information, visit www.mmrg.info.


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