After nearly two years of collaboration and fundraising, The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust closed on the Stoney Brook Project in Newbury, NH. In July of 2012, the Ausbon Sargent Board approved the decision for the land trust to be a part of the project and Ausbon Sargent joined the newly formed Stoney Brook Conservation Alliance. The total estimated project cost was $291,000, including the property purchase and other expenses such as survey, legal costs, appraisal and stewardship (forever). The majority of the funding came from pledges by the Newbury Conservation Commission, Sunapee Hills Association, Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge (SRK) Greenway, NH State Conservation Committee (Moose Plate Grant) and the landowners, Lynne and Bob Bell of Bolyn Land Investment Co. Since a fairly large deficit still remained, the Stoney Brook Conservation Alliance initiated a large fundraising drive to elicit the help of the public. Through the contributions of many generous donors and the Fields Pond Foundation, the Stoney Brook Conservation Alliance met its goal by the beginning of January, 2014, and set a date for a January, 2014 closing.
An easement on these 143.7 acres of land on Chalk Pond Road helps to protect our clean water in Chalk Pond, Blodgett Brook, Lake Sunapee, Ring Brook, Andrew Brook and Lake Todd. The successful completion of this project also links important conservation areas that offer SRK Greenway protection and helps to ensure a safe habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. In addition, the Stoney Brook Project allows for a new recreational loop trail to be constructed off of the Greenway that will highlight remnants of the agricultural history found on the property.
As a result of the purchase and conservation of these 143.7 strategic acres that comprise the Stoney Brook Project, two large blocks of conserved land in Newbury will now be connected. This combined acreage has created a permanent corridor of 1,168 acres running from Lake Sunapee's eastern shore to the Newbury/Sutton town line, including NH Audubon's Stoney Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, the Forest Society's Hay Reservation and the town-owned SRK Greenway corridor.
NH Audubon will own and manage the land and The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust will steward it forever as one of its protected conservation easements. Congratulations are due to all who worked diligently on the many details of the project and thanks go to all who made a contribution to fund the Stoney Brook Project.