Dartmouth and the Trust for Public Land today announced the sale of the College’s 175-acre Hudson Farm. The trust purchased the property from the College, and then conveyed the land to the National Park Service, which will add it to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The deal protects sensitive land, ensures the property will not be developed, and preserves an important recreational resource, say those involved in the sale.(Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
“We know the people of Hanover care about Hudson Farm and the local trail system, so when we decided to sell the land, we wanted to give the community the opportunity to preserve the property for future generations,” says Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence. “Keeping the land open for hiking and recreation is in the best interest of the community and is part of the college’s commitment to the quality of life in the Upper Valley.”(Map courtesy of the Trust for Public Land)
Hudson Farm, which is located on Trescott Road about four miles from campus, includes a network of hiking paths that connect to the Appalachian Trail, the longest piece of property in the National Park system. Protecting the farm, which Dartmouth had owned by since 1963, offers residents access to the property for running, walking, and snowshoeing, and safeguards sensitive wildlife habitat and water quality for Hanover’s 11,000 residents. It is the first addition to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Hanover in more than 15 years.
The trust purchased the property from Dartmouth for $1.84 million, with funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and from private donations. The sale has been in the works for more than six years. LWCF funding is generated through revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments; it is not supported by taxpayer dollars.
“Hudson Farm is a public treasure, with beautiful fields and open views that we didn’t want to see lost to residential and commercial development,” says J.T. Horn, the trust’s senior project manager. “This area is a vulnerable part of the Appalachian Trail that will now be safe for the future.”
Hanover’s town manager says the land deal is the result of a federal, municipal, and private partnership.
“I want to thank Dartmouth College, the Trust for Public Land, and the National Park Service for making this project a success,” says Town Manager Julia Griffin. “Thousands of people work and live near Hudson Farm, and we are proud that it will become a permanent part of open space in Hanover. The town has identified additional protection of the Appalachian Trail as part of our open space plan.”
The trust, the town of Hanover, the Hanover Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy developed the conservation plan and raised funds for the purchase. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), and former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) supported the appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
In conjunction with the land sale, the Trust for Public Land is donating $60,000 to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to create a stewardship endowment to help maintain the property under federal ownership. The endowment funds were raised by the Hanover Conservancy and neighbors and philanthropists in Hanover, including a lead gift from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation. The nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy will receive an annual payment from the endowment, which it will use for mowing fields, making trail improvements, and other maintenance tasks.
The project partners have created a new trailhead parking lot and signboard on Trescott Road. The long-term goal for the property is to convey it to White Mountain National Forest and transform the informal trail system into an easy-to-navigate, community-friendly trail destination.
“The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s most iconic long-distance hiking trails,” says Hawk Metheny, New England regional director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “It is also one of America’s most significant greenways, spanning 14 states and nearly 2,200 miles. ATC’s vision includes helping communities along the AT conserve lands that buffer the trail from incompatible development while offering improved access to the AT and the outstanding recreational opportunities it provides. This project in Hanover is a model for our Landscape Conservation Initiative.”