New York, NY (June 7, 2017)— Three Open Space Institute (OSI) supported community forest projects have received grants from the U.S. Forest Service through its Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program: Page Pond Community Forest in New Hampshire and the Catamount and Richmond Town Forests in Vermont.
These three northern New England projects were among seven chosen across the entire nation. The projects received $956,000 of the $2 million awarded by the U.S. Forest Service. The grant awards will support jobs and healthy forests in communities.
“OSI congratulates our partners on receiving competitive and scarce federal grants. Funding for these three New England community forests projects validates the importance, on a regional and national scale, of community involvement in conservation,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “The community forest movement began in New England and continues to be critical to citizens and towns there. We are proud to be a central part of this movement that is spreading nationally.”
Since 2010, OSI’s Community Forest Fund, the only dedicated source of private funding for community forests in the United States, has made grants to help kindle locally based conservation. Communities are rallying to purchase, permanently conserve, and collectively manage forests to benefit directly from the land’s many values. OSI is now recapitalizing its Community Forest Fund to continue investment in local communities and the forests that provided livelihoods, and environmental, economic, recreational, civic, and cultural benefits.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program is the only federal funding for community forest projects and provides grants to local governments, tribes, and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests that will provide economic and environmental benefits as well as education, stewardship, and recreation opportunities. Five of the seven projects that were funded by the US Forest Service are in Northern New England.
OSI Supported Projects receiving FY ’17 federal Community Forest Awards:
Page Pond, New Hampshire - $300,000
The Town of Meredith will add to the existing Page Pond Community Forest by acquiring 199 acres. This will result in an expanded trail network and a new trailhead close to downtown and the school, improved wildlife habitat and drinking water quality, and a source of raw materials for local mills. The community forest will serve as a recreational, ecological, and economic asset to the community.
Catamount Community Forest, Vermont - $400,000
This 383-acre acquisition by the Town of Williston will secure a trail network of more than 20 miles, including a segment of the Cross Vermont Trail, a designated National Recreation Trail. Year-round recreational activities include running, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Catamount contains at least seven different natural communities and is an excellent example of a multiple-use working Vermont landscape.
Richmond Town Forest, Vermont - $256,000
The Richmond Town Forest has a long history of active professional forest management. After acquiring the property, the community will have the ability to harvest timber and forest products in the future to raise revenues for the town and help cover the costs of management. There are several headwater streams on the property that flow directly into the Winooski River and then on to Lake Champlain. Conservation of this project will protect water quality and support flood resiliency in the Winooski River watershed.