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Gilmanton conservation group reaches $1.7 million fundraising goal

An autumn view of Gilmanton and the Belknap Range from the top of Frisky Hill on Route 107 in Gilmanton. 

courtesy photo

An autumn view of Gilmanton and the Belknap Range from the top of Frisky Hill on Route 107 in Gilmanton. courtesy photo Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

A volunteer conservation group has raised more than $1.7 million to conserve 46 acres of land in Gilmanton.

The Gilmanton Land Trust launched its fundraising campaign last year, and this week announced that it met its goal. The land includes a popular view along Route 107, said Carolyn Baldwin, the group’s secretary.

“It’s a lot of money but we’re very excited that this is going to happen,” she said. “People have looked at this view for years and said, ‘Oh, how can we save it?’ And we’re going to be able to do it.”

The money raised will go toward conservation easements on four properties: A hayfield that offers a view along Frisky Hill on Route 107, hayfields overlooking Mount Kearsarge and Ragged Mountain, a hayfield on Loon Pond Road and a property abutting the secluded and undeveloped Meetinghouse Pond. The property on Meetinghouse Road has an approximately 200-year-old structure that was built to process flax, according to the Gilmanton Land Trust.

The town of Gilmanton’s conservation commission will manage the Meetinghouse Road and Frisky Hill properties, the Gilmanton Land Trust said in a press release. The other parcels will be sold to farmers, abutters or buyers interested in maintaining the hayfields. When the project is complete, Five Rivers Trust will hold conservation easements for the properties.

“We’re getting ready to go on to basically the paperwork phase and hoping to close sometime by the middle of this year,” Baldwin said.

The campaign included individual donations and more than $500,000 in grants from the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.

LAURA McCRYSTAL

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