Milan County Foresters Tour NH town forest inventory program update 2.6.18For three years, the Center has been working with UNH Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions on a comprehensive inventory of all town owned land in the state of New Hampshire.  We aim to increase the amount of municipally owned land and maximize the benefits realized from locally-owned, sustainably-managed public lands.

Many towns own forestland, though not all are taking initiative to set social, fiscal, economic and conservation goals. The inventory used the Community Forest model as a basis for analysis on missed opportunities for community benefit. Community Forests are town-owned land that are permanently protected, have careful stewardship plans to realize community benefit, and are shaped by local decision making. 

The Northern Forest Center helped Lancaster, New Hampshire create a new brochure to highlight outdoor activities for residents and visitors. The new brochure will help residents take advantage of local outdoor amenities, and set them up to be good ambassadors for visitors. It answers the question: “What is there to do around here?”

Bethel Community ForestThe Center’s newest Community Forest project is in Bethel, Maine. We are working with the Trust for Public Land helping the community acquire 978 acres off North Road. The property has been threatened for a decade by proposals that included an asphalt plant and large subdivisions. Mahoosuc Pathways, a local trails organization, will be the owner of the property in partnership with the town. As a Community Forest, the property will be managed and permanently protected for the public to use and enjoy. 

The Center, along with The Trust for Public Land and Mahoosuc Pathways, has been facilitating a planning committee since October to begin deciding how the property will be used and managed. Community interest and participation has been very high, with Center Program Director Julie Renaud Evans working with 25 to 50 residents at each planning committee meeting.

The Northern Forest Center invested in training for small businesses in Lancaster, NH, to help them greet residents and visitors who are looking for information. The training focused on how businesses can make it easy for residents and visitors to find them on their smart phones. Veronica Franics of Notch Net trained 15 businesses at a workshop on local search advertising, and produced an online webinar for mass distribution. Local Search advertising includes registering on popular local search platforms like Google My Business, and review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor.