Goubert Family Protects 75 Acres on Mount Sunapee

 

Andrews Brook forest pool on Mount Sunapee. Photo by Jeff Sluder.

 

Last summer, Delnoce Goubert, Sunapee, attended a Forest Society lecture about the natural history of the Mount Sunapee region. After the event, he approached the presenter about land that his family owned near the base of Mount Sunapee. He asked if the Forest Society would be interested in taking ownership of this land, which had been in his family for more than 70 years.

Almost one year later, the Forest Society accepted a gift of 75 acres in Newbury from Delnoce, his brother Peter Goubert, and his sister Jean Goubert Sisley.

The land has been in the family since 1937, and the Gouberts themselves have been actively involved with the Forest Society since the late 1930s. Originally from New York, the family initially purchased the land, along with some surrounding acreage, as a country retreat.

The original estate included a 250-year-old house, where Delnoce and his family spent summer and winter vacations. The house wasn’t far from Andrew Brook, which cuts through a deep gorge on the property. Delnoce remembers carrying fresh brook water to the house during summer and chopping ice in the winter.

He reminisces about the land with affection. “As kids, we spent our summers here,” he said. “Long before there were trails, we used to run up and down the mountain. We’d come up in the winter to go skiing.”

When none of Delnoce’s grown children found themselves in a position to utilize the land, he decided to take steps to conserve it. “We were getting on in years,” he said. “We’ve always been conservation-minded. I’m just glad that the Forest Society was around to help us conserve this final parcel.”

According to Forest Society Director of Land Protection Brian Hotz, the Goubert family’s gift enhances the Mount Sunapee trail network as well.

“Connecting with other conserved lands, including Mount Sunapee State Park and the recently conserved Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge Easement, the property has tremendous strategic conservation value,” Hotz said. “Plus, its potential to fulfill the longstanding demand for a new trailhead for the Andrew Brook Trail makes it all the more important.”

The Andrew Brook Trail is one of the most popular hiking trail on Mount Sunapee. It is the primary route to Lake Solitude and the White Ledges, which offer sweeping views to the north and east.

Four years ago, the Forest Society led the campaign to conserve the 1,100-acre Pillsbury-Sunapee Ridge on the eastern slope of Mount Sunapee in Newbury. The successful initiative led to not only the conservation of the land, but also of a middle section of the Andrew Brook Trail.

Because of the trail’s popularity, the Forest Society and its partners also attempted – without success – to conserve the remaining unprotected section of the trail and trailhead. The lack of permanent access and sufficient parking at the current trailhead has been a longstanding concern of the Town of Newbury and other local stakeholders.

Now, the Forest Society is working with the town to explore the possibility of using the 75 acres donated by the Goubert Family as a future trailhead for the Andrew Brook Trail.

“Mount Sunapee is very special to our organization,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “The Forest Society’s land conservation efforts began with the campaign to protect Mount Sunapee in 1911 – the same year the Weeks Act passed Congress.”

After acquiring this first Mount Sunapee parcel, the Forest Society continued to add to this holding until, in time, the organization eventually owned most of the mountain. During the 1930s, Mount Sunapee became a destination for skiers, who developed the trail network.

In spring of 1948, after years of being hit hard by hurricane and forest fire, the Forest Society transferred the 1,200 acres it had accumulated on Mount Sunapee to the State of New Hampshire to become Mount Sunapee State Park.

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