ERROL - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has exchanged a 233-acre parcel of land in the Town of Errol for a conservation easement on the state's Big Island State Forest in Wentworth's Location. The Big Island State Forest conservation easement area will become part of Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and a new state forest will be created in Errol.
The exchange has been in the works for close to two years to provide a needed link between the Thirteen Mile Woods and Success areas in the county-wide 'Ride the Wilds' OHRV trail.
"This is a win-win deal for wildlife and people," said Paul Casey, refuge manager of Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. "High quality wildlife habitat will be managed by the refuge while the public will permanently gain an important connection in the new North Country all-terrain vehicle, or ATV, trail." The exchange gives the refuge rare silver maple floodplain forest and mixed wood habitat that supports migratory birds and waterfowl including rusty blackbirds, wood ducks, common goldeneyes, and many warbler species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service will pay the state $6,200 in addition to the 233-acre parcel to complete the exchange. For this, FWS will receive a conservation easement of over 280 acres. The easement lies on both sides of Route 16 in Wentworth's Location.
The Trust for Public Land facilitated the transaction. "We were pleased to help," said Rodger Krussman, New Hampshire Director for TPL. "We want to protect land for people to enjoy and today's announcement means people who use ATVs will have access to the Seven Island Bridge, and the Ride the Wilds ATV trail system in the area. It also will maintain high quality wildlife habitat protection around Lake Umbagog and the Magalloway River."
The FWS and the state have been working on this exchange for over a year, which will help each agency meet their mission. The refuge will manage wildlife habitat of Big Island State Forest consistent with their management of adjacent refuge lands. The State will establish a new forest with the exchanged refuge lands, which will include an important connection in the ATV and snowmobile trail network.
"Beyond the benefits that this exchange provides to our sporting citizens and guests, the new 233-acre state forest ensures that the land will remain a working forest providing jobs and forest products, and will be named "Androscoggin River Reservation", said Brad Simpkins, interim director of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands. Simpkins praised the FWS team for its cooperation and timeliness at processing the exchange.
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1992 with the primary purposes of protecting wetlands, wetland-associated wildlife and migratory birds. The refuge spans northern New Hampshire and Maine and is an essential link in the network of conservation lands in the Northern Forest.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. More....