Published On: December 14th, 2023

$47,250 from NH’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and $29,650 from the NH Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund (DWGTF) will fund the acquisition of the 34-acre Thurston parcel

Thanks to grant awards from LCHIP and the DWGTF, along with the generous support and cooperation of the estate of Richard Thurston, GMCG is pleased to announce its impending acquisition of the 34-acre Thurston property on State Route 25. The parcel abuts the existing 41-acre GMCG Natural Area and is adjacent to the Forest Society’s 2,336-acre High Watch Preserve.

“This land is a significant wildlife corridor and link to other conservation lands on the northern slope of Green Mountain,” noted GMCG Executive Director Matt Howe. “We extend our gratitude to all parties involved for making this project possible.”

The expansion of the GMCG Natural Area to a 75-acre preserve will enable GMCG to extend its interpretive nature trail and improve daytime public access to upland portions of the property. The tract is forested with 14 acres of pine, 10 acres of hardwood and includes 9 acres of wetland bisected by Hodgedon Brook which flows into the Ossipee River. The land features abundant wildlife (including a healthy population of native brook trout in Hodgedon Brook) and, like the abutting GMCG Natural Area, is rated as NH “highest ranked wildlife habitat.”

Photo by Joe Klementovich: GMCG Executive Director Matt Howe accepted the LCHIP grant award at a State House ceremony on December 11th. Left to right, Governor Chris Sununu, Matt Howe, LCHIP Executive Director Paula Bellemore, and LCHIP Board Chair Ben Wilcox.

















December 11th was a good day for Effingham! Joining Matt Howe at the State House ceremony were Chuck Fuller, Lead Project Sponsor, and Karen Payne. President of the Effingham Preservation Society, who were on hand to receive a $172,000 grant award to the Town of Effingham to help with continued rehabilitation of the Effingham Library and Old Town Hall. Also in attendance but not pictured were Town Selectman and Project Treasurer Leo Racine and Effingham Library Trustee Steve Regal. Work will involve restoring the 6-story bell tower, double doors, and upper story windows, along with insulating the ceiling and updating wiring. The project is the next chapter of a multi-year effort to rehabilitate the Italianate structure built in 1858 as the New England Masonic Charitable Institute, the only known boarding school sponsored by Freemasons. After the school closed, the first floor served as the Town Hall for over a century, before the Town converted it to the Effingham Public Library, now referred to as a “community center with books.”

GMCG and the Town of Effingham were among 25 recipients of 2023 LCHIP funding chosen from a total of 48 applicants. For a complete list and project descriptions of 2023 LCHIP grantees, click here.