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Hancock's Harris Center asks for community help preserving town forest land

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

October 17. 2017 11:57PM
The Harris Center for Conservation Education has launched a campaign to raise $25,000 in three weeks to preserve a piece of land along Route 123. (COURTESY)



HANCOCK — The Harris Center for Conservation Education has launched a campaign to raise $25,000 in three weeks to preserve a piece of land along Route 123.

The 15-acre property has 1,550 feet of frontage along Route 123/Forest Road in Hancock.

Jeremy Wilson, of the Harris Center, said the center learned last week about the pending sale of the property and has an opportunity to place a conservation easement on the property if it can raise the $25,000 needed within three weeks.

“If we aren’t able to raise the money for this it will be subdivided and built on,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the Harris Center is using social media as a way to spread the word. An open house is also planned in a neighboring home.

Wilson said the property slopes steeply toward Route 123/Forest Road and from there down toward Old Hancock Road and the town’s Valley Farm conservation easement. Erosion to the steep slopes could cause rain runoff issues for the homes and open space across Route 123 from the land, Wilson said. The parcel also serves as a valuable wildlife corridor to adjacent open space, he said.

The land does have enough of a plateau that it could be subdivided and developed with one or more houses, Wilson said. Aside from concerns about the erosion to the steep slopes, development of the property would impact the aesthetics of the scenic gateway into Hancock Village, Wilson said.

Protecting this property would also preserve the views from Old Hancock Road, which is a popular walking route.

The Harris Center would hold the conservation easement that would allow for forest management, but would prohibit development of the forested land, he said.

The Harris Center is accepting tax-deductible contributions for the project. You can reach Wilson at wilson@hrriscenter.org.

mpierce@newstote.com


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