Help the Forest Society protect 5,800 acres in Dixville Notch, NH

Help the Forest Society protect 5,800 acres in Dixville Notch, NH

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Forest Society Closes Balsams Transaction

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests completed a transaction today with the Tillotson Corporation  today that conserves much of the land surrounding the historic BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, NH. The Forest Society acquired conservation restrictions that will forever protect the working forest, habitat, scenic views, and 30 miles of recreational trails that the public and BALSAMS guests have enjoyed for decades.

“We have long sought to protect this special place in New Hampshire,” said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. “We are grateful to the more than 1,500 donors who stepped forward to collectively contribute the $850,000 we needed to make this happen. We are equally pleased that the board of the Tillotson Corporation gave us the opportunity to conserve this land.

“We have already developed a strong working relationship with the hotel’s new owners, who own the now-protected land,” Difley said. “Like everyone else, we want to see them succeed in renovating and re-opening the hotel.”

As part of the transaction, the Forest Society also acquired a deeded transmission line right-of-way coveted by the controversial Northern Pass proposal. By acquiring both the conservation restrictions and the powerline ROW, the Forest Society effectively removed the threat that Northern Pass would be able to cross the 5,800 conserved acres without eminent domain.

“While we began this project because of the extraordinary natural attributes of the land, in the end I think this campaign also became a referendum on Northern Pass,” Difley said. “We received donations from far and wide and in many cases those donors told us that they were driven by a desire to stop the Northern Pass proposal.”

Susanne Kibler-Hacker, vp of development,
 signing paperwork at the closing.
The more than 1,500 donations ranged from $1 to $150,000. Donations came from all over New Hampshire, but appreciation of the Balsams landscape was evident nationwide as gifts were received from 22 states including Hawaii, Arizona, California and other far-flung locales, as well as from Quebec, Canada.

A purchase-and-sale agreement signed in December gave the Forest Society until Jan. 15 to raise the $850,000 necessary to close the transaction. The conservation restrictions will prohibit further subdivision and commercial development while allowing sustainable forestry and recreational access.

The land that is now protected surrounds the site of the hotel. The land immediately adjacent to the hotel, the golf course and the Wilderness ski area are not part of the conserved area. The conserved land will include the popular outlook known as Table Rock that offers a spectacular vista across Coos County to Maine, Vermont and Canada. The 30 miles of recreational trails include hiking and snowmobiling trails as well as a section of the Cohos Trail that runs from Crawford Notch in the White Mountains to the Canadian border in Pittsburg.

Other conservation values include wildlife habitat for rare species such as American Marten and Bicknell’s Thrush, extensive water resources such as Mud Pond, healthy, well managed stands of sugar maple and areas of likely old growth forest.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Thanks to the generosity of more than 1,500 donors, the Forest Society is pleased to report that we have raised the $850,000 needed to conserve the landscape surrounding the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch. The fundraising deadline was Jan. 15.

"Given what a special place Dixville Notch is, we felt from the start that people would respond to our call to conserve it," said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. "But to be honest we had no inkling that the public interest is protecting these 5,800 acres would be so strong. We've had so many emails and calls from people offering to help any way they could. I can't thank everyone enough, including the Tillotson Corporation for choosing to work with us to conserve the land. We believe, as they do, that this outcome is in the best interests of the North Country and, indeed, all of New Hampshire."

Interest in the Balsams conservation project ballooned when Northern Pass, LLC, attempted to interfere with the transaction, arguing that siting its proposed private, commercial HVDC overhead transmission line project was a better fit.

The 1500-plus gifts ranged from a few dollars to $150,000. The number of gifts is greater by far than any other conservation project in modern Forest Society history.

"Based on the notes and comments we've received along with donations, it's evident that many people saw the Balsams landscape campaign as a referendum on Northern Pass," Difley said. "Our success is one more strong statement by those who understand the true value of New Hampshire's forested landscape: the proposed Northern Pass transmission line is not wanted and offers little or no benefit to the state."

Forest Society staff and its attorneys are working on the paperwork required to complete the transaction within the next week.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Save the Balsams Gifts Continue to Flow: 1300 Donors, $817,000

With 48 hours left before the deadline in the Save the Balsams Landscape campaign, more than 1,300 donors have expressed their desire to see the forests surrounding the historic Dixville Notch protected by making gifts small and large. We at the Forest Society are humbled by so much generosity and so many good wishes. We asked others to help us get the word out about the opportunity to protect this iconic landscape and everyone has continued to do so. Thank you.

And it is working. We have raised $817,000 toward our $850,000 goal. This latest total includes a generous $25,000 gift that was confirmed today, leaving $33,000 to go by Sunday, Jan. 15. For those still interested in making a donation to the Balsams campaign, you can do so via our website (click the Donate Now button to the right of this post) or by sending a check to Forest Society, 54 Portsmouth St., Concord, NH  03801 (just mark "Balsams campaign" on the check).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More than 1,100 Gifts Bring Total to $778,000 with Just Days Left

To date we've received more than 1,100 donations totalling $778,000 to help conserve the 5,800 acres surrounding the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, making it the most supported land protection project in recent Forest Society history. It tells us that New Hampshire loves the Balsams and New Hampshire loves Dixville Notch.

Donations of all sizes continue to roll in via the web (click on Donate Now to the right of this post), via phone (603-224-9945) and even in person. If the pace of giving continues as it has been, we are optimistic that we will reach the $850,000 we need to conserve the land.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Haas Fund, NHTOA Inspire Others as Balsams Deadline Draws Near

The Forest Society continues to tally contributions to the Save the Balsams Landscape Campaign as they come in via our website, mail and by phone. As of now (end of day Monday, Jan. 9) we are at $745,000, leaving $105,000 to go with less than a week left before the Jan. 15 deadline.
So far we have more than 800 individual donations.
Major gifts that have come in recently include $30,000 from the Thomas W. Haas Fund.
In making the generous donation, Tom Haas said that he hopes it will be one of many contributions the Forest Society will receive in the closing days of the Save the Balsams Landscape campaign, ensuring its success.
"I want to thank Tom not only for his generosity but also for recognizing the statewide importance of the Dixville Notch landscape," said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. "The campaign so far has been driven by a remarkable combination of major gifts like that from the Thomas W. Haas Fund and many, many smaller gifts from people all across the state and region."
Also looking to inspire others to donate is the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA), which contributed $1,000 to campaign.
"This gift is to show support for the working forest easement that the Forest Society is putting on this parcel. We hope our gift will inspire other members of the NHTOA and those in the forestry community to support this project" said Ann Davis, president of the NHTOA.
Founded 100 years ago, the NHTOA is a statewide landowner and forest products industry trade association dedicated to maintaining New Hampshire’s working forests.
"This gift comes at an especially significant time for the NHTOA celebrated its centennial in 2011," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the NHTOA. "In 1911, the original owners of the Balsams property were one of the founding members of the NHTOA."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seven Days to Go: Over 700 Donors Reach $700K

With more than 700 individuals reaching deep to make donations to help conserve the 5,800 acres surrounding the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, the campaign crested the $700,000 mark. With a week left before the Jan. 15 deadline, the Forest Society must still raise $150,000 to reach the $850,000 needed to aquire conservation restrictions and extinguish the HVDC transmission line Right of Way that Northern Pass proposed for the scenic property.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Donor Pledges $150,000 to Balsams Land Conservation

The campaign to conserve 5,800 acres surrounding the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch received a substantial boost today as an anonymous donor stepped forward with a $150,000 contribution. With a little more than a week to go before the January 15 deadline, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has raised a total of $609,000 toward the $850,000 it needs to acquire conservation restrictions on the iconic landscape.

“This is fabulous news,” said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. “This generous gift is just the shot in the arm we need as we go into the final week of fundraising. We still have a ways to go, and we need everyone who would like to see the land protected to step forward if they haven’t already. We’re not at the end of our campaign, but we can see it from here.”
The campaign has drawn contributions from more than 700 individuals to date, ranging from a few dollars collected at a coffee shop to major gifts, including today’s $150,000. Donations can be made at, or by clicking the 'Donate Now' button on this blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Halfway Home: Balsams Campaign Reaches $425K

The Save the Balsams Landscape campaign reached the halfway mark in the Forest Society's effort to raise $850,000 to conserve 5,800 acres surrounding the historic Balsams hotel in Dixville Notch, NH. As of noon on Wednesday, January 4 the Forest Society has received payments or pledges totalling $425,000.

"We can feel the momentum building," said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Forest Society. "Supporters of forest conservation are as determined as we are to reach our goal and protect the landscape of Dixville Notch."

Balsams Contributions Top $400K

Continued strong online donations continue to fuel the Save the Balsams Landscape campaign with totals reaching the $400,000 mark.

"We're so grateful to everyone who's donated so far," said Jane Difley. "It's clear that one of the things that is helping the campaign is that supporters of this project are forwarding on emails and links to our website ( to their friends and colleagues who may have an interest or know someone who does."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Many Resolve to Conserve the Balsams Landscape

Between midday on New Year’s Eve and the afternoon of New Year’s Day, we received more than 100 gifts through the web to support the conservation of the Balsams landscape. Over the next few days, we will find out how many more people wrote checks over the holiday weekend in support of the effort. We are grateful for every gift and especially grateful to those who have also encouraged others to give. It is great to see people from all over New Hampshire and beyond come together to accomplish this ambitious goal. Thank you and Happy New Year!