Shumway Forest Conserved in Hanover

  • Kay Shumway and her dog, Tulla, look out at one of the beaver ponds on her Moose Mountain property on Sept. 2, 2012. “On a nice day, we have people come up here to hike,” Shumway said. “They walk their dogs, they ski. They treat this area as their own, and they should and we want them to.” (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hanover — A large tract of woods and trails on Moose Mountain will remain open to the public permanently after its owners signed a conservation easement with a Hanover nonprofit late last month that protects open land.

Conservation of the 313-acre Shumway Forest marks the largest project ever undertaken by the Hanover Conservancy, which will manage the land and its system of hiking trails stretching from Three Mile Road to the ridge of Moose Mountain.

Landowners Kay and Peter Shumway signed an easement protecting the property on June 30. The two formerly operated the nearby Moose Mountain Lodge cross-country ski resort from 1975 until they retired in 2010.

“The landowners are intent that the public always be permitted to use the trails at will,” said Adair Mulligan, executive director of the Hanover Conservancy.

The property contains a portion of the Appalachian Trail and a logging road that’s a popular route to Mill Pond. Tributary trails also are good for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, Mulligan said.

She also said the tract includes “high quality mountain wildlife habitat in the headwaters of Mink Brook ... and a scenic backdrop for the rest of town.”

While the woodland can be used for timber harvests, the easement requires that a professional forester oversee any timber operations, she said.

The deal also provides a buffer between any work that is done and the streams and wetlands dotting the land.

Aside from owning the Moose Mountain Lodge, the Shumways are longtime members of the Hanover Conservancy and worked with the nonprofit in previous years to protect trails on the mountain, Mulligan said.

As they aged, the Shumways looked at the land and “wanted to be sure that the public would always have the freedom to use that land,” she said.

On Thursday, Peter Shumway, who is in his 80s, said his family purchased the property after it was put on the market by a timber company in 1986. The land then served as ski trails for the resort’s winter operations and hiking trails in the summer.

“We really enjoyed being up here and met a lot of good people,” Shumway said, adding that many former customers have reached out in support of the easement.

“It’s just a good feeling for us,” he said.

This is the second time the couple worked with the conservancy to protect Moose Mountain land.

In 2015, they donated 33 acres to form an area known as Mill Pond forest.

At the time, an easement also was signed to protect the parking area at the top of Moose Mountain Lodge Road, an important access point to skiing and hiking trails.

Discussions about the larger 313-acre parcel began about a year and a half ago. Around the same time, the conservancy began seeking funding, Mulligan said.

The project ultimately received two grants totaling $249,000, she said. Most of the money came from the state of New Hampshire’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund, while the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership provided funds to cover transaction costs.

“We’re very fortunate that we won that grant,” Mulligan said. “Everything just proceeded from there.”

Mulligan declined to say how much the conservancy paid for the easement other than calling it a “bargain sale.” Grant funding also contributed toward the start of a stewardship fund for the property, she said.

Although the property has roughly 3.5 miles of trails, its wetlands and streams also provide an important habitat, said Jim Kennedy, a wetland scientist from Etna. He performed a wetlands assessment needed for the grant and found extensive wetlands and a high-value vernal pool.

While traversing the property, Kennedy also found some unusual features, such as a red spruce and a fen, an open peatland.

“For (the state), the variety of wetland is what helped to get the (grant) approval done,” Kennedy said.

The Hanover Conservancy is planning a celebration to commemorate conservation of the land. Officials and members of the Shumway family are scheduled to gather at 10 a.m. on Monday on the shore of Mill Pond to celebrate the milestone.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.