NH bill would require licenses for hunting at Corbin Park preserve

  • A wild boar was killed by a vehicle on Interstate 89 in Lebanon, N.H. Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The animal likely escaped from Corbin Park according to officials from New Hampshire Fish and Game. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Concord Monitor
Published: 1/13/2020 10:21:00 PM
Modified: 1/13/2020 10:20:14 PM

CROYDON — Corbin Park, the large private hunting preserve with an individual membership fee that runs into the tens of thousands of dollars, is being targeted by proposed legislation that would require its members to buy a new class of hunting license.

Formally known as the Blue Mountain Forest Association, the property was established in 1891 and is New Hampshire’s only private hunting preserve. The roughly 25,000-acre site covers parts of five towns: Newport, Cornish, Croydon, Grantham and Plainfield.

“Every other hunter in the state, who doesn’t have access to Blue Mountain, ends up subsidizing the hunting in that reserve,” said state Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, who sponsored the bill. “They have managed to exempt themselves. … We shouldn’t have hunters that get to freeload.”

Cushing’s bill, HB1573, would give the Fish and Game Department authority to require “any person wishing to take exotic game including wild boar or elk from a hunting preserve” to buy a special “safari hunting license,” with the cost to be determined by the commission.

Cushing said Corbin Park members currently don’t have to buy any state license when hunting in the preserve, which is surrounded by a 26-mile-long fence, but that Fish and Game incurs some costs overseeing the site. In particular, he pointed to the 2004 incident in which one hunter shot and killed another inside the park, requiring an investigation by the state.

“Those that go on safari for exotic game aren’t really paying their fair share to under write the Fish and Game Department at a time when Fish and Game is destitute for funds,” he said.

While details about the park are scarce, its membership is said to be about 30, limited by design and the five-figure cost of joining.

Another cost associated with the park comes from wild boar that were imported into the park for hunting decades ago. These animals are a massive nuisance in other parts of the country, causing billions of dollars in agricultural and other damage, but cold weather has kept them from migrating to the Northeast — except around Corbin Park. Reports of loose feral boar doing damage or getting hit by cars occasionally show up on police reports or in lawsuits, including one that made it to the state Supreme Court in 1956. The high court deferred a decision and sent the case back down.

Cushing’s bill is slated to be the subject of a hearing at the House Fish and Game Committee on Tuesday.

Corbin Park was established by Austin Corbin, a 19th-century railroad tycoon and banker who grew up in Newport and later built a mansion in town. Corbin went on to serve as president of the Long Island Rail Road and is remembered today both for his business accomplishments and for extreme anti-Semitism, including leadership of a group called American Society for the Suppression of Jews.

That history led Brooklyn to change a street that had been named after him. Because people living there didn’t want to alter their address, the change was subtle: From Corbin Place to M. Corbin Place, honoring Margaret Corbin, who became a Revolutionary War hero when she replaced her husband in helping defend a New York fort from the British.




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