New Hampshire loves its moose plates, more than $20M collectedBy DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 04. 2018 9:32PM
The iconic image of a bull moose remains where it has always been, but the moose plate has proven so popular the state has added a letter to create new combinations in response to increased demand.
The letter “p” — for preservation joins “c” for conservation and “h” for heritage.
“I guess our ultimate goal would be to hit “Z” some day. Maybe we’ll need bigger plates,” said Sarah Stewart, commissioner of the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Since the first moose plate was issued in 2000, the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate Program has raised more than $20 million that has been disbursed through state agencies for projects such as planting wildflowers along state highways, maintaining and upgrading historic properties and, of course, wildlife conservation efforts.
“You can track the sales and see,” said Stewart. “We’re up to $20 million generated so far and that’s a big number for New Hampshire.”
Stewart’s department, created last year when Gov. Chris Sununu split the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) into two parts, oversees the Division of Forest and Lands, the Division of Libraries, the Division of Historical Resources, the Division of Film and Digital Media and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
Stewart said all five divisions of the department benefit from the moose plate program as do other agencies, including the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game and Department of Transportation.
“It’s really encouraging to see such enthusiasm in support of these historic and cultural and natural treasures,” Stewart said.
For Fish and Game, the share of moose plate revenue is significant.
Fish and Game spokesman Nicola Whitley said moose plate proceeds provide about 25 percent of the funding for the state non-game and endangered species programs. In addition, Whitley said each dollar from the moose plate program is matched with federal grant money.
“The funds are used to support conservation of wildlife species and their habitat statewide. It even helped us write our blueprint for conservation, the Wildlife Action Plan, which is guiding our conservation activities and projects,” Whitley said.
The plates have evolved with the program, which is run by the state Conservation Number Plate Advisory Committee, a group of lawmakers and staff from state agencies that oversees the distribution of the plate’s revenues.
Prices for the moose plates vary. Standard (non-personalized) moose plates require an $8 initial purchase fee and a $30 annual renewal. Vanity plates are also available for additional charges. Combination moose/New Hampshire State Parks plates are also available for additional charges.
The state created a special website — http://www.mooseplate.com/ — for the plates that includes pricing, how to get a moose plate and reviews some of the projects the program has funded across the state.
Stewart noted that although the plates have changed and state departments shuffled, the moose plate home page still has the same declaration: “Conserving the Best of NH.”
“I point that out because so many agencies benefit from moose plate revenue,” Stewart said. “All of these special things deserve preservation and the people of New Hampshire have responded very well in support of this.”