CONCORD — Jack Savage, a leading voice in the fight against the Northern Pass project, has been named president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Savage has been vice president of the society for 14 years.
Savage, a Middleton resident, became interested in conservation after serving in town government.
“From that experience I came to believe that proactive conservation was one of the tools a community needed to find a balance between development and conservation,” Savage said Thursday.
He started volunteering at the society’s Moose Mountain reservation, one of the 185 Forest Society reservations in New Hampshire. When the group went looking for a vice president for communications in 2005, Savage applied.
After Jane A. Difley, the current president, announced she would retire on Sept. 30, Savage said he applied to lead the society because of his long history with the organization, and because he wanted to keep engaging more people in conservation work.
“Even in the face of all that technology and growing cities, I think the Forest Society’s mission is as relevant as ever,” Savage said.
“I have full confidence in Jack’s ability to work with our board, our extraordinary staff, and our generous members to advance the mission of the Forest Society,” Difley said in a statement.
As president, Savage said he wants to explore questions of forest management in the face of climate change.
“We’re uniquely positioned to look at how we manage forests, what sustainable forestry means, how to increase carbon uptake,” Savage said.
The society could then pass those findings on to private landowners managing forested land.
After watching the activists who came out against the Northern Pass transmission line, Savage said he wants to engage more people in conservation issues. He thinks the public is interested in preserving natural landscapes.
“I was awed by the way thousands of people from Pittsfield down to Concord and Deerfield and beyond responded to the threat we thought Northern Pass represented,” Savage said. “It was just remarkable to watch people express how much they care about New Hampshire’s forest and natural landscape.”
In July, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the state Site Evaluation Committee’s denial of the Northern Pass project, which was first proposed nearly a decade ago.