Riverfront Farmland and Wildlife Habitat Conserved in Bath, NH
BATH, NHâ€”Lackie Farm, a unique riverfront property, will be protected forever from future development. The purchase of a conservation easement by the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) on the 171 acre parcel was made possible through the support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundationâ€™s Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, with further assistance from the Town of Bath.
The property has been owned by the Lackie family for over 60 years. Cecile Lackie said, â€œI remember when I first heard about the possibility of conserving the land; I felt a real sense of relief knowing that it could stay in the family.â€ The eight Lackie siblings were able to collaborate throughout the conservation process and reach a successful outcome. It remains a family gathering place for 4th of July and Christmas celebrations that feature bonfires and snowmobiling. Immediately following the landâ€™s conservation, Steve Lackie became the sole owner of the property. He says, â€œItâ€™s nice to keep the property open, as more and more other land in the area becomes developed.â€
Situated near the confluence of the Ammonoosuc and Connecticut Rivers, the Lackie Farm lies just north of the downtown area of Woodsville. The farm supported a dairy until 1996; currently, Steve Lackie makes hay, which he sells to local farmers, with grass grown on the important agriculture soils along the river. The land includes two islands with floodplain forests in the Connecticut River which â€œafford excellent stopover habitat and some nesting habitat for migratory songbirds,â€ according to Barry Parrish, Refuge Manager of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The forested hillside rises from the farmland along Route 135 to a peak approximately 1,216 feet in elevation and is visible for miles around.
The protection of the Lackie Farm preserves scenic views along the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway and of Woodsville from â€œThe Lookout,â€ a ridgetop clearing that the Lackies have kept open to the public. Steve Lackie says that the moderate hike up to â€œThe Lookoutâ€ is well worth it for the view. The propertyâ€™s significant river frontage (over 1 mile), includes unique islands, ledges, wetland areas, and seasonal streams within a stretch of the Connecticut River referred to as â€œThe Narrows.â€ This is a popular location for fishermen and includes important habitat for wildlife. Conservation of the wooded slopes prevents development that could degrade unique wildlife habitat in an ecologically important region of the Connecticut River watershed.
According to the Townâ€™s Selectmen, â€œThe Town of Bath deeply appreciates the commitment of the Lackie family to the memory of their parents, Rita R. Lackie and Harry Lackie, Jr. and to the interests of the Town in preserving the Lackie Farmstead and its overlook of the unique Connecticut River frontage below the Narrows. This grant protects great scenic views, fabulous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. The Lackie Family Grant also allows the public to enjoy a beautiful property.â€
Judy Tumosa of the Bath Conservation Commission, says of the Lackie’s conservation of their land: “They are protecting Connecticut River frontage, great scenic views, fabuous wildlife habitat, and plant communities of special concern. They are also allowing the public to be able to enjoy a beautiful property in perpituity. It is a great gift to the town of Bath.”
The permanent conservation of community-defining landscapes with historic and cultural significance as found in the Lackie Farm is a valuable accomplishment that will ensure the lasting legacy of the regionâ€™s traditional agricultural way of life, and will permanently protect scenic resources that have long inspired people in the Bath area.