How to best celebrate Mt. Sunapee land conservation?

What is the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of land conservation on Mount Sunapee? The Friends of Mount Sunapee will host a discussion with all interested in celebrating the event at an upcoming public meeting on Wednesday, April 20th at the Community Methodist Church, 17 Lower Main Street, Sunapee starting at 7:30 p.m.

“2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the first land protection campaign on our beloved Mount Sunapee,” said Tom Elliott, a member of the board of directors for Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS). “Learn more and join in the celebration!”

A century ago

A hundred years ago this year, Herbert Welsh, the father of land conservation on Mount Sunapee, led an effort to purchase the first patch of protected forest on Mount Sunapee and place it in the public trust forever.

With clear-cut logging quickly moving up the mountainside, Welsh mobilized Sunapee locals, summer friends, and the Society for the Protection of NH Forests to buy the first 656 acres of land on Mount Sunapee for conservation.

This initial $8,000 campaign became the first in a century of citizen-led efforts to protect many thousands of acres of beautiful, natural forestland on and along the Sunapee Ridge, including the land now preserved in our beloved Mount Sunapee State Park.

To a More Glorious Mount Sunapee

Welsh sometimes ended his persuasive writings with the line, “To a more glorious Mount Sunapee.” FOMS believes that he included “more” because he viewed the 1911 campaign as the first, and not the last, grassroots effort to preserve and enjoy Mount Sunapee.

Following his vision, the Forest Society, State of New Hampshire, and many other supporting organizations continued to protect pieces of the mountain, eventually accumulating a 2,200 acre state park and more than 20,000 acres of wildlands to its south, including Pillsbury State Park and the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway lands.

A century later, Welsh’s initial campaign deserves great recognition. His intention for “more” deserves our energy and support. FOMS would like your help in achieving both. — FOMS meeting announcement

To read more about Herbert Welsh, download/preview or print “Herbert Welsh: Walking Crusader.” (Note: PDF is 1.1 MB.) The article by Shelly Candidus was printed in SooNipi Magazine in 2004. This special re-print of the article includes the “Outline Map of Points Visible from Mount Sunapee” published in the Manual of Mount Sunapee in 1915  for the Sunapee Branch of the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

More information go to the FOMS website or call 603-863-0045.

Photo courtesy of SooNipi Publishing: Taken over a century ago and scanned from a glass negative, the photo (above) is a panoramic view of Lake Sunapee with Mount Sunapee in the distance.

Friends of Mount Sunapee advocates for protection of Mount Sunapee State Park for its essential public values; conservation of the Lake Sunapee watershed and Sunapee highlands; and preservation of the unique character and natural beauty of the rural communities in the mountain’s shadow.

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