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Land at Stickney Hill Road to be preserved forever

  • William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.<br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

    William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.<br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

    William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.<br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)
  • William E. Bunten, Jr., and his brother Wayne were born and raised on Maplewood Farm off Stickney Hill Road in Concord. The land was purchased by his grandfather in 1924 and in accordance with the wishes of William Bunten Sr., William and Wayne's father, 78 acres were sold as an easement, negotiated by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust and funded by The City of Concord and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.<br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

A piece of Concord’s agricultural history will receive an insurance policy this morning when a conservation easement is signed between the owners of Maplewood Farm and Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

The deal, also brokered by the Concord Conservation Commission, means 78 acres of rolling fields, woods and prime farmland at the top of Stickney Hill Road, just south of Interstate 89, will be permanently preserved, off limits to any development once the farm is sold.

The city of Concord will fund $337,736 through an open space bond, while $349,500 will be paid by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In addition, Five Rivers Conservation Trust did fundraising, working with the farm’s neighbors and the community. The total price tag was more than $700,000, with the landowners, Bill and Wayne Bunten, to receive $699,000, the value of the easement. The rest of the money was used for transaction fees, surveys and appraisals.

Meanwhile, the Buntens hope to sell the farm, which has been a family business for nearly 80 years, by the spring.

“I don’t think we’ll have any problem doing that,” Bill Bunten said yesterday by phone.

The agreement ends a process that actually began in the summer of 2011, when the Buntens revealed the promise they had made to their father, the late William Bunten Sr. William bought the farm from his father, John Bunten, who bought the farm in 1924.

“My father, his wish was not to have anyone ever build on those fields, and that’s why my brother and I did it,” Bill Bunten said. “We’re happy; my brother and I are glad it’s over with.”

John Bunten, who raised seven children, ran Bunten Dairy, delivering milk to Hopkinton, his hometown, and Concord.

In the 1950s, Bill and Wayne awoke at 3:30 in the morning to milk the cows, then took the 7 a.m. bus to school, before returning to the farm to work some more.

The cows were sold in 1964, and Bill Bunten, who worked for 43 years as a flooring mechanic, moved back to the farm from Weirs Beach two years ago, after his father had died. By then, the farm’s hay was being cut by workers from the nearby Bohanan Farm and used to feed their cows to produce their inventory at the Contoocook Creamery.

The Bohanan Farm also has an easement agreement

with Five Rivers Conservation Trust, which counts the deal to be signed this morning as the 50th piece of property it has preserved, with its 25th anniversary approaching next year.

“It’s a family farm and it has a beautiful old barn that we are really pleased to have been able to save,” said Melinda Gehris, who’s been the chairwoman of the Five Rivers Conservation Trust board since May. “The Bunten brothers obviously are the ones who are responsible for that part. We are really happy to keep that land.”

Gehris added that Five Rivers, a nonprofit organization, hopes to protect abutting fields on Stickney Hill Road, closing those deals sometime next year.

“Fields like that are of particular importance to Five Rivers,” Gehris wrote in an email. “We are focused on preservation of farms and farmland in our area. In fact, it is part of our mission.”

As for the Bunten brothers, their mission is to relax, once they sell their land.

“We’re going to retire on that money, my brother and I,” said Bill Bunten, 69.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

As neighbors of the Buntens in the 1950's we are thrilled to hear this news. My sisters & I all had wonderful adventures on Stickney Hill in all seasons, as well as exploring the barns & buildings of Bill & Marguerite's. Beautiful setting & so glad it will be preserved into perpetuity. NH has lost too many of its old farms. Skating on the frozen fields, sledding down the road, forts in the woods, carefree Halloween trick or treating with no adults on the dark road....ah, the memories of growing up in the '50's! Kudos to Bill & Wayne! Linda (Jackson) FL, Sara (Dowse) NH, Martha (Richards)NH - Brown

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