(603) 643-6626 ext. 111
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWPORT TREE FARMER HOSTS OPEN HOUSE AND HIKE ON CONSERVED LAND
Newport, NHâ€”When landowner Igor Blake contacted the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) in 2007 to express his desire to conserve his Newport property, UVLT recognized an extraordinary opportunity. Now Blake and UVLT, a regional land conservancy based in Hanover, invite the public to visit the land they conserved — 310 acres with Sugar River frontage, open fields and forests, and a portion of the rail trail. This is UVLTâ€™s first land conservation project in Newport.
Everyone is invited to join the Upper Valley Land Trust and Igor Blake for an Open House and Hike on Saturday, October 4th at 2PM. Sullivan County Forester, Chuck Hersey, will lead the hike beginning at the historic homestead, located on the discontinued end of Endicott Road, now 456 Oak Street. In addition to the hike, the homestead will also be open for visitors. Meet Blake, UVLT staff and stakeholders for conversations focused primarily on land use and community values. This is a unique opportunity for community members to learn more about the property and to have questions about land conservation and stewardship answered. Everyone is welcome, RSVP not required, but responses will help in planning for refreshments. Call the Upper Valley Land Trust at (603) 643-6626.
Blakeâ€™s forest has been a designated Tree Farm since Mr. Blakeâ€™s mother registered it as such in 1970. According to the UNH Extension Service, â€œA Tree Farm is a privately owned forest managed to produce timber with added benefits of improved wildlife habitat, water quality, recreation, and scenic values.â€ In managing his working forest, Blake has worked with Chuck Hersey, Sullivan County Forester, and Shaun Lagueux of New England Forestry Consultants. Blake has a comprehensive forest management plan in place.
Recently, Hersey nominated Blake for next yearâ€™s Tree Farmer of the Year Award. This is an award that is given annually by the New Hampshire Tree Farm Committee, New Hampshireâ€™s branch of the national Tree Farm System, managed by the American Forest Foundation. The award recognizes tree farmers who have proven to be good stewards of their land. In Blakeâ€™s case this means that he has worked with licensed foresters to responsibly harvest his timber; as Hersey explains this is a renewable resource that goes directly into the local economy. Hersey states that 80% of New Hampshireâ€™s land is forested and 70% of that forested land is privately owned. This means that the choices these landowners make can have large implications for future generations.
Hersey points out that Blake has as much timber left to harvest as has previously been removed. In addition to sustainable forestry, Blake has maintained some open fields and apple trees which make good habitat for deer and turkeys. Blake has also been willing to try new management techniques. Recently, he undertook a project to control invasive species on his property: Glossy Buckthorn and Japanese Barberry. Hersey applauds Blake for all of his efforts in maintaining his Tree Farm, however he seemed most impressed by Blakeâ€™s â€œbiggest act of stewardship:â€ the donation of the conservation easement on his property. This will permanently contribute to Newportâ€™s rural landscape and to that of the region as a whole.
Other features of Mr. Blakeâ€™s property consist of frontage on the Sugar River, including frontage along a renowned trout fishing area. In addition, part of the property makes up a section of the Sugar River Trail, which is know as one of New Hampshire’s premier recreational rail trails, running from Newport to Claremont. All of this is less than two miles from the center of Newport; Mr. Blakeâ€™s land has been protected from encroaching development so that future generations can continue to enjoy it.
The Upper Valley Land Trust works to protect farmland, forest, water resources, wildlife habitat, trails and scenic areas that are vital to the character of the Vermont and New Hampshire communities of the Upper Valley. Founded in 1985, the Upper Valley Land Trust is a non-profit organization supported primarily by local contributors. For more information please visit www.uvlt.org or contact Upper Valley Land Trust at 603-643-6626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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