“This corner of the state continues to experience great development pressures and much of the easy to develop lands are already lost. Now the interior, harder to develop, more risky sites are under attack, many of which are key properties located in the remaining large unfragmented blocks or in areas that scientific research has identified as key linkages.” – Phil Auger, founding member & easement landowner, Strafford
“This property has been in my family since 1765. It was my grandmother's wish and my mother's wish after her to preserve the land in its entirety. Much of the land went into conservation in the 90's and I am grateful to Bear-Paw and the town of Deerfield Conservation Commission for working with me to conserve the last part of the land. It is an important connection in the Great Brook corridor and contains soils with significant farming value. Good for growing food instead of houses!” – Gile Beye, Deerfield
We are grateful to have put our land into easement so we could preserve it and the memory of my husband, who found it and said 'This is it- our home.' When I look down at our woods, I often hear him say: 'Let’s go for a walk,' and I do. Taking walks was one of our favorite activities, and is a favorite activity of so many. Bear-Paw helped us keep our little piece of property safe- what more could we ever ask. And maybe, by being a volunteer working with Bear Paw, I can help others continue to ‘walk in the woods’, especially all our friends who fly, swim, prance, or crawl along with us. Thank you Bear-Paw. – Dr. Raelene Shippee-Rice, Nottingham
“I see land as part of a larger ecological system. I donated my property as potential "starter dough" for what I believe to be an important wildlife corridor connecting Bear Brook State Park with lands to the north. I am grateful that the conservation interests in the region are working to protect a functional green infrastructure while there still is time to do so.” – Kate Hartnett, Deerfield
April Bacon has lived on her property in Nottingham since the mid-eighties after leaving the life of an artist and social worker in New York City. Memories of her childhood in Maine drew her back to northern New England, but, as she said, "It's all grown up around Gorham where I lived, and I wanted somewhere undeveloped and natural, and to make sure it would stay that way!" April worked with Bear-Paw and the town of Nottingham to place a conservation easement on her property, which has been protected since 2006.
The public may enjoy passive use of her woods for non-motorized activities such as hiking, bird watching, or educational field trips.
Judi Lindsey's connection to nature began with childhood excursions to a gravel pit in the upper peninsula of Michigan with her family, and "once that connection is established, it can last a lifetime."
Years later, Judi and her husband Jim Lindsey bought 33 acres of their own. While working with their county forester to improve the condition of the forest, which had been heavily logged prior to the sale, Judi and Jim were introduced to conservation easements and their purpose.
"I loved the idea of permanently protecting our land- perhaps some day. In the future. But not right now.
However, as I learned more about the importance of permanently preserving important wildlife habitat in perpetuity, and I saw how others sometimes had let this golden opportunity slip away due to unforeseen circumstances, I realized one should not put off something as important as this. People die unexpectedly, their children change their minds about protecting the family farm, or offers of money in the hand can sometimes override the good intention of protecting land for the greater good and future generations.
If you asked my husband Jim why he thought conserving the land was a good idea, he would probably say 'To keep Judi happy!' and it certainly does that." – Judi Lindsey, Candia
Corey Colwell worked with Bear-Paw and the town of Strafford to conserve 150 acres of forest and wetlands within one of the top ten forest blocks in our region. In 1998, that completed project became Bear-Paw's first conservation easement.
In addition to the natural and scenic values of the property itself, it connects to land owned by the town of Strafford and Blue Hills Foundation. The contiguous conservation area now covers over 2000 acres, preserving water quality and allowing wildlife to move freely. These forest blocks are the foundation of Bear-Paw's conservation plan, and have inspired many landowners over the years.