Department of Environmental Studies
The 39,601 acre Nash Stream Forest was acquired by the State of New Hampshire in October 1988, from Diamond International Corporation, preventing purchase by land developers Rancourt Associates, who held a purchase and sale option on the property. This transaction represented the largest parcel of land and the largest allocation for any one project of New Hampshire’s Land Conservation Investment Program, a nationally unique short-term public/private land conservation partnership program. The transaction symbolized trends, both historical and economic, because (1) it was representative of liquidation of assets by large industrial timberland owners; and (2) it came about in reaction to a perceived “threat” that public access to remote wilderness areas would be lost forever if private owners developed them for less traditional uses. Maintaining traditional forest uses of this property was determined to be the best use of these 39,601 acres by both State and federal interests. Acquisition was the method of protection, and acquisition was possible through a joint purchase by the State of New Hampshire (through the Land Conservation Investment Program) and the purchase of a conservation easement by the United States Government (through the Forest Service). The management of resources at the Nash Stream Forest will be an on-going challenge; however, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, Division of Forests and Lands, is, with the assistance of other state agencies and private groups, developing a Management Plan document which will guide future resource management. The interdisciplinary approach being used will result in a comprehensive balanced multiple use plan which promotes a vision upon which to base future land use decisions. Future challenges in management include monitoring public use and measuring its impact on resources and nearby communities; harvests at sustainable levels which produce state revenue; and promoting use of the forest as a laboratory for future research surrounding its historic uses and demonstration forestry potential. This planning process may be useful to other agencies or groups in developing management plans for other parcels of public land.