Star Lake Farm is a collection of over 1700 acres made up of 14 former farms. In March of 2010, 1559 acres were placed under conservation easement. Wholly within the Star Lake Farm conservation easement is the 65-acre Star Lake, habitat for nesting common loons, and the 10-acre McAlvin Pond. On the southwest boundary are 1200 feet of frontage on Baptist Pond, which are also protected with this conservation easement. Water from the property flows through either Baptist Pond or Otter Pond then on to Lake Sunapee, protecting the headwaters of the Lake Sunapee Watershed. Wetlands on the property provide important wildlife habitat, filter drinking water and provide flood control.
The farm itself includes over 100 acres of conserved fields, producing hay and pasture for 50-100 head of cattle. Forestland is managed by a licensed professional forester, providing wood products to local mills. Sugar maples produce sap for maple syrup produced at the farm’s sugar house.
Four peaks over 1500 feet in elevation make this property visible from many areas in the region. By 2013, a new trail to the top of Pitcher Hill will be open to the public, providing scenic views in all directions. The SKR Greenway Trail passes through the property on former class VI roads.
Wildlife are abundant on the property, ranging from black bear, moose, coyote and deer to loons, hawks, turkeys and song birds to turtles, snakes and salamanders. The NH Wildlife Action Plan identifies significant portions of the property as Highest Ranked Habitat in the State, or in the Biological Region. Other areas are identified as habitats that support those highly ranked areas.
In March of 2011, Dan Thorne generously included 53 additional acres to Ausbon Sargent’s largest easement by reducing the size of two areas previously excluded from his original 1559- acre Star Lake Farm conservation easement. The entire Star Lake Farm easement is now 1612 acres. These 53 "new" acres are located south of both Deer Hill Road and McAlvin Road. The additional land is forested, including uplands buffering the large cattle pasture and new fields on Schoolhouse Road and the upper slope just northwest of Star Lake.
In 2018, The New Hampshire Tree Farm Committee recognized Star Lake Farm Properties as the year's NH Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, exemplifying sound forest management and long-term stewardship. We are grateful for Dan’s continued commitment to conserving this working forest land!