In the 1930s and 40s, an eclectic group of foresters and outdoor enthusiasts led by Harris Reynolds grew concerned about clear-cutting and destructive management on private New England forestlands. Much of the region’s once vast and ecologically rich forests had only just begun to regenerate after centuries of deforestation, and parcel owners often acted with an eye to quick profit or simply lacked an understanding of how to care for a forest.
In response, Reynolds and his cohort decided to form a region-wide charitable organization devoted to the practice, teaching and promotion of sustainable forest management, and so the New England Forestry Foundation was born July 12, 1944 to help private forests thrive. Its land protection efforts kicked in soon thereafter when in 1945 NEFF accepted its first donated forest—the Lincoln Davis Memorial Forest in New Hampshire—and opened it to the public.
The organization and its many supporters and partners have accomplished a great deal in the subsequent 75 years, and the time has come to honor this history. Check this page throughout 2019 as we roll out new content about NEFF’s founding and subsequent accomplishments.
NEFF’s 1953 Progress Report
As NEFF approached its 10th anniversary, its Committee on Finance distributed a progress report in the form of an open letter to the wider NEFF community. Its charmingly forthright opening paragraph is included below, and the entire letter is available here as a PDF.
“In 1943 the Massachusetts Forest and Park Association appointed a committee of woodland owners, representatives of leading forest industries and foresters to study the problems of small woodland owners. The New England Forestry Foundation is the result of that study. Started in 1944 with no money, no experience and as just an idea, it has developed in nine years into an organization with fourteen foresters in ten Management Centers, and has done work on 321,000 acres for over 1,000 owners, and has supervised the cutting of nearly 60,000,000 board feet of timber. There still remain on the lands of these clients 400,000,000 feet, worth over $7,000,000 at the average price of $17.65 obtained last year.”