- Land Conservation
- Land Conservation
The New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) owns and manages more than 38,000 acres of forestland, ranging from the conifer and hardwood stands of Maine’s Rock Memorial Forest to the oak forests and wetlands of the Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest in coastal Connecticut.
We continue to seek out properties where we can provide long-term protection for forests, model Exemplary Forestry practices, and provide recreational opportunities. The following are just a few of the new forests we’ve recently acquired or are working to add to the NEFF map.
Venture Brook Community Forest
Edmunds, ME | 2,200 Acres | Acquired December 2020
Part of the Downeast Woods and Wildlife Project | NEFF acquired this 2,200-acre property in December 2020 as part of a Maine Coastal Forest Partnership effort to protect a suite of working forests across Downeast Maine. As one of NEFF’s four large properties in the Acadian Forest region, it serves as a demonstration site for our Acadian Exemplary Forestry standards, while also demonstrating in miniature the features that make Downeast Maine’s interlaced network of forests and waterways ideal for cold-water fish. Streams and wetlands weave through the almost entirely forested Venture Brook Community Forest, and the forestland purifies and filters this water as it makes its way into the nearby Dennys River; trees in the riparian zone then shade the Dennys, and the end result is the kind of cool, clean river young Atlantic Salmon need to thrive. Venture Brook is also home to vital White-tailed Deer wintering habitat.
David M. Smith Forest
Leverett, MA | 117 Acres | Acquired December 2020
This property is part of the history of forestry in New England, as it was owned by David M. Smith, author of the touchstone forestry text, The Practice of Silviculture, and a long-time professor at Yale School of the Environment. At the time of Smith’s death in 2009, the Yale University public affairs office called this book the most widely used forestry text in the world. Smith’s Leverett land likely helped shaped the practice of forest management as we know it today, and NEFF is grateful to Dr. Smith’s daughters, Nancy and Ellen Smith, for donating it to NEFF as part of the Pooled Timber Income Fund.
The Smith woodland—made up of mostly white pine and oak, hemlock, mixed hardwoods—sits on Rat Hollow Road and lies next to the Mosher Conservation Area, which is owned by the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust. The Rattlesnake Gutter Trust also holds an easement on the Smith property and helps to maintain the property and provides public access to the woodlands, which contains several trails for recreation, including a portion of the old Metacomet and Monadnock (M&M) Trail.
Frenchman Bay Community Forest
Hancock, ME | 3,100 Acres | Acquired October 2020
Part of the Downeast Woods and Wildlife Project | NEFF has combined this parcel, located near Egypt Bay in Hancock County, with the Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s existing Frenchman Bay Community Forest, bringing this beautiful woodland to 4,530 total acres. NEFF’s Frenchman Bay tract offers important and interesting habitat features—like waterways and wetlands extensive enough to support inland wading birds—and the overall Community Forest intersects with the 87-mile Down East Sunrise Trail. The Frenchman Bay Conservancy and NEFF’s inclusive, forest-wide stewardship plan provides a full array of recreational uses, wildlife habitat protection, and support for the Sunrise Trail.
Holmes Stream Community Forest
Whiting, ME | 2,690 acres | Acquired October 2020
Part of the Downeast Woods and Wildlife Project | Located along Holmes Bay in Downeast Maine, Holmes Stream Community Forest includes intact blocks of contiguous forestland as well as important wetland features like tidal estuarine habitat, found where Holmes Stream flows into the bay. The Holmes property abuts the State of Maine’s popular Cutler Coast Public Lands, a 12,234-acre expanse known for steep cliffs that plunge into the ocean as well as its blueberry barrens, woodlands and peatlands with 4.5 miles of headlands that overlook the Bay of Fundy. NEFF is managing the property for songbird habitat, specifically to create and support stop-over and nesting habitat for migratory songbirds within the framework of Exemplary Forestry standards.
Royalston, MA | 88 Acres | Acquired May 2020
Cynthia and Dick Perkins donated this forestland to NEFF as part of the Pooled Timber Income Fund. Perkins Woodlands is bisected by Stockwell Brook, and is nestled between Guiney Memorial Forest, Otter River State Forest, and the Birch Hill Dam. Cynthia and Dick also donated a conservation restriction on the property to Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, which owns the neighboring Guiney Memorial Forest. Learn more about Cynthia and Dick Perkins’ involvement with NEFF.
Merrill Mountain Community Forest
Hiram, ME | 350 Acres | Acquired December 11, 2019
James Donovan, co-owner of First Light Boatworks in Chatham, Massachusetts, contacted NEFF in August 2018 looking to purchase and conserve recently harvested Maine timberland. NEFF staff steered him toward a variety of tracts, including one in Hiram. James went on to purchase 353 acres in Hiram, and in December 2019 donated the land to NEFF. The property is now known as the Merrill Mountain Community Forest, and encompasses the southwestern slope of Merrill Mountain, the third highest mountain in southern Maine at 1,611 feet. An existing network of woods roads and trails provides recreational access, with fantastic scenic views near the summit. This project advances protection of a significant block of unfragmented forestland, including a state wildlife management area to the east. The land has excellent conditions for white oak, red oak, and white pine.
Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest addition
East Lyme, CT | 34 Acres | Acquired August 27, 2019
The Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest project was undertaken in two phases: NEFF first conserved 166 acres of the forest in 2017, and then protected an adjacent 34-acre parcel in 2019. The forest is home to diverse wildlife, plant communities, wetland resources, and topography—as well as a system of hiking trails. NEFF’s conservation of the Niantic property is consistent with the State of Connecticut Green Plan, the plans of Conservation and Development of Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, and the town of East Lyme.
Weeks-Hatch Commemorative Woods
Meredith, NH | 72 Acres | Acquired August 19, 2019
In August 2019, the Hatch family donated 72 acres in Meredith to NEFF in memory of Fred and Virginia Hatch as well as Howard and Myrna Weeks, who were Mrs. Hatch’s parents. Virginia Hatch grew up in Meredith, and her parents purchased just over 60 acres there in 1946. In 1973, they deeded the property to Virginia and Fred, who lovingly stewarded the forest for more than 45 years. The Hatches partnered with NEFF foresters in 1985 to manage the woodland and its white pine and hemlock-hardwood stands as a certified Tree Farm, a forestry partnership that continues to this day through New England Forestry Consultants. The Hatches purchased 13 additional acres in 1993 and permanently protected both parcels through a NEFF conservation easement in 1999, and drafted their wills with a bequest entrusting NEFF to be the future owner and steward of the forest. After Fred’s death in January 2018 and Virginia’s in July 2019, the property came into NEFF’s hands—and we are honored the Hatches entrusted NEFF with their beloved woodland. Under NEFF’s ownership, the forest is now open for public enjoyment and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests will oversee its conservation easement.
Christian Stroop Memorial Forest
Grafton, NH | 75 Acres | Acquired June 4, 2019
Christian Stroop generously bequeathed the historic Peter Bullock House and its surrounding forestlands to NEFF upon his death. In keeping with Christian’s wishes, the sale of the house will fund further conservation, while NEFF will retain the land as a Community Forest and “manage and preserve it consistent with NEFF’s organizational objectives and mission,” as Christian put it in a letter explaining his wishes for the land. The forest has a mix of white pine, hemlock, and hardwoods, and the trees display good growth and are generally straight and fairly tall. The property provides beautiful views of Mount Cardigan.