Gilmanton Land Trust

2015 Gilmanton Land Trust Annual Report


Highlight of the year for the Gilmanton Land trust was

sale of the fields on Route 107, overlooking Loon Pond, to Ryan

and Alicia Smith of Griffin Road in Gilmanton. The Smiths are

active farmers and will use the fields to provide forage for their

animals. The fields were conveyed, subject to conservation

easements limiting use of the land to agriculture and assuring

preservation of the views over Loon Pond to the mountains



This was the final transaction to complete the project

preserving important parcels formerly owned by George Twigg

III. In the spring the Land Trust plans to erect a plaque on Frisky

Hill recognizing donors to the project as well as a “peak finder”

map identifying the hills visible from the site.


GLT continued its cooperation with Five Rivers Conservation Trust, a regional land trust

which holds easements on the former Twigg properties as well as several other parcels in Town.

Stewardship obligations assumed by Five Rivers include annual monitoring of every parcel on

which the organization holds an easement to assure continuing compliance with conservation

restrictions. Gilmanton Land Trust members and friends cooperated with Five Rivers to monitor

conservation properties in Town.


Gilmanton Land Trust is a non-profit organization established in 1997. The

organization’s purposes, as expressed in the Articles of Agreement are: (A) to help landowners

in the Town of Gilmanton protect farms, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic and recreational lands;

(B) to support the Town conservation commission in caring for land in the Town of Gilmanton;

(C) to educate Gilmanton citizens and landowners about land conservation options and benefits;

(D) to support sustainable jobs and enterprises which are consistent with protection of natural

lands and scenic beauty in Gilmanton; and (E) to create recreational opportunities for residents

and visitors. The organization works closely with the Gilmanton Conservation Commission to

conserve the special places in the Town for future generations.


This year long-time board member Meg Nighswander stepped down. Carolyn Baldwin

handed off the duties of secretary to Anne Onion who joined the Board in November. Fuzz Freese

and Eliza Evans continue as chair and vice-chair, and John Dickey is treasurer. For information

about Gilmanton Land Trust, contact any board member or check out the website:




Gilmanton Land Trust - Notice of Annual Meeting 2015

Sunday, October 18

Time: 1:30 pm

566 Loon Pond Road (Corner of Meadow Pond Road)

Gilmanton, NH


To read a copy of our September 2015 Newsletter, Click HERE




Join the Gilmanton Land Trust, Five Rivers Conservation Trust, and the Gilmanton Conservation Commission on August 29, 2015 for a tour of one of Gilmanton's most scenic and historic conservation properties.


August 10, 2015


CONTACT PERSON: Beth McGuinn, 225-7225, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sarah Thorne, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tracy Tarr, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Meetinghouse Pond Hike, Gilmanton

Join Five Rivers Conservation Trust, the Gilmanton Land Trust and the Gilmanton Conservation Commission to explore the new Meetinghouse Pond Conservation Area in Gilmanton. The hike will take place on Saturday, August 29, 2015 from 10 AM to 12 noon. On this easy hike along the field edge and woods trail, we will visit the expansive hayfield, the hardwood forest, and the beautiful frontage on Meetinghouse Pond.  Along the way, we will identify plants, look for wildlife sign, and investigate the important ecosystems on the property.

Participants will also explore the history of the property, including its flax pond and the unusual stone structure built across its bottom, used to process flax into fiber for clothing. According to retired State Architectural Historian Jim Garvin, in a letter sent to the Gilmanton Land Trust: "The production of linen fiber and woven cloth was central to New Hampshire's agricultural economy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries." This flax pond is the only one known to exist in the state and perhaps all of New England!

The 41-acre Meetinghouse Pond Conservation Area, along with three other tracts, was conserved in 2013 in a cooperative effort by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, Gilmanton Land Trust, and Gilmanton Conservation Commission. The field trip is sponsored by all three organizations. The trip will be led by Sarah Thorne, local ecology teacher; Beth McGuinn, Executive Director of Five Rivers Conservation Trust who has expertise in land conservation and forestry; and Tracy Tarr, Chairman of the Gilmanton Conservation Commission and wetland scientist. Children and dogs (on leashes) are welcome.

The field trip is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Please contact Five Rivers Conservation Trust at 225-7225 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register and get directions.





May 2015


The Gilmanton Land Trust Board is delighted to announce that the fields abutting Route 107, with views to the north over Loon Pond, have been sold to Ryan and Alicia Smith of Hammer Down Farm in Gilmanton.
The fields are protected from development by a conservation easement held by Five Rivers Conservation Trust, a regional land trust based in Concord, which holds easements on several other properties in Gilmanton. The Smiths will use the fields for agricultural purposes, under the terms of the easement, and will maintain the views, long enjoyed by travelers along 107. Future plans include timber stand improvement on the wooded sections, including removal of invasive vegetation, and possible maple production.
The Smiths plan to use the fields for hay to feed their growing herd of beef cattle. Their farm, on Griffin Road, also produces eggs, rabbits and pigs for meat. One Jersey cow will provide milk for their growing family. Ryan Smith grew up in Gilmanton, close to his farm. He is familiar with the area and appreciates the special rural/agricultural character of the Town. Ryan, a skilled carpenter, and Alicia built their home and the farm buildings, thus the name Hammer Down Farm. Gilmanton Land Trust is proud to welcome them as partners in helping to save some of the Town’s greatest views as well as its important agricultural resources.
Sale of the 107 fields is the final step in the Gilmanton Land Trust’s project to conserve four tracts of agricultural land in town including spectacular views from Frisky Hill, a parcel on Meetinghouse Road with extensive frontage on Meetinghouse Pond and a flax retting pond, (used to prepare flax for making linen in the early 19th century), and a field on Loon Pond Road. Gilmanton’s Conservation Commission manages the tracts on Frisky Hill and Meetinghouse Road, which are owned by the Town subject to the conservation easement restrictions.



Alicia and Ryan Smith, and their son Colton, pose with their Jersey cow, Lilly, at their farm in Gilmanton. The Smiths have purchased the spectacular fields abutting Route 107, and will use them to produce hay for their farm animals.




Gilmanton's Greatest Views - For Everyone, Forever!

Four Key Tracts Permanently Conserved


After nearly a year of complex document preparation and review by Federal, State, and local agencies, the Gilmanton Land Trust and our conservation partner Five Rivers Conservation Trust are pleased to announce that the four tracts of land which were the focus of our "Gilmanton's Greatest Views - For Everyone, Forever!" campaign have now been permanently protected.


George Twigg III (seated) and wife Anna Mae sign documents permanently conserving four tracts of land in Gilmanton.  Looking on are (l-r) Tom Howe (Gilmanton Land Trust), Attorneys David Osman and Paul MacDonald, and Jay Haines (Five Rivers Conservation Trust).


January 2014

The project to conserve the extraordinary views from Frisky Hill on Route 107, plus rich agricultural lands in two other locations in Gilmanton, came to fruition in late December 2013.  The properties, formerly owned by long-time Gilmanton resident George Twigg, III, have been conserved for agriculture and public enjoyment under conservation easements held by the Five Rivers Conservation Trust.  Gilmanton Land Trust undertook the project, in cooperation with Five Rivers, to raise the nearly $1.2 million needed to secure the future of four key properties owned by Mr. Twigg, including the views long admired by residents and  travelers through the Town.

In addition to contributions from more than 200 individuals and households, the project was made possible by funding from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), the State’s “Mooseplate” Conservation Grant Program, the Town of Gilmanton’s Conservation Fund, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP).   All of the properties include important agricultural soils and are currently used for hay by local farmers.

The land conserved includes four tracts: (1) the 15-acre parcel on the top of Frisky Hill (Route 107) with views to the north and east over fields, hills and the Belknap Mountains; (2) a 21-acre tract, also on Rt. 107, looking northerly over Loon Pond to rolling hills and Mount Kearsarge beyond; (3) an 8-acre field on Loon Pond Road providing access to a cemetery once used by the Osgood family; and  (4) a 41-acre lot of fields and forests with extensive frontage on Meetinghouse Pond across from the historic Smith Meetinghouse complex.  This parcel includes a flax retting pond, where farmers prepared flax for weaving into cloth in the early 19th century.  The extensive stone structure built across the pond’s bottom for processing flax is the only known example of such a feature in the State of New Hampshire.

The Frisky Hill summit and the Meetinghouse Road parcels are now owned by the Town of Gilmanton (subject to conservation easements held by Five Rivers) under the stewardship of the Gilmanton Conservation Commission.  The remaining parcels, also restricted by the conservation easements, are now available for sale for agricultural use, with provisions that require maintenance of existing fields and associated views.  (For more information about this real estate offering, contact Tom Howard at 253-4999.)

Tom Howe, of the Gilmanton Land Trust, took the lead in organizing the fundraising campaign and working with several funding agencies to create conservation easements to preserve these special places for future generations.


Photo by T. Dombrowski

Moonrise Over Frisky Hill



To view a PowerPoint presentation on the Twigg Campaign, click HERE


Gilmanton’s Greatest Views - For Everyone, Forever!


A Campaign for the Conservation and Good Stewardship of

Four Key Gilmanton Properties Owned by George Twigg

When the “For Sale” sign sprouted on top of Frisky Hill, it was hard to miss. The Gilmanton Land Trust (“GLT”) swung into action and negotiated an agreement with the landowner, George Twigg III, to conserve this and three other key tracts he owns in the area. In partnership with the Gilmanton Conservation Commission ("Commission") and the Five Rivers Conservation Trust ("Five Rivers"), GLT asked you to join its “Gilmanton’s Greatest Views—For Everyone, Forever!” campaign to ensure that these lands will continue to benefit the community. For decades, the conservation of these agricultural, scenic, and historically important lands has been a stated priority in community surveys, natural resource inventories, and Town Master Plans.  Now we have the chance to make it happen!

The four tracts at stake total 86 acres and consist of 14 highly developable, ready-to-sell lots. All have scenic hayfields with rich agricultural soils and extensive road frontage. The 15-acre “Frisky Hill Viewpoint – South,” shown above, has a sweeping, car-stopping view of much of Gilmanton, the Belknap Mountain range, and lands extending into Maine.

The 41-acre “Meetinghouse Pond” tract, above, has more than 1,000 feet of unspoiled shoreline on Gilmanton’s largest remaining undeveloped pond, and a barn for supporting continued agricultural use. This land also has a rare historical feature found nowhere else in New Hampshire: a small pond with an associated stone structure used for processing (“retting”) flax, for making linen, 200 or so years ago! This summer, GLT and the Gilmanton Historical Society co-sponsored a demonstration of flax retting and linen production by an expert in period costume. Check our Calendar Page for other activities, tours, and events.


The 21-acre “Rte. 107 Upper & Lower Fields,” at left, has three fields overlooking Loon Pond, frontage on the Pond, and great views to the north and west ranging into Vermont. The nine-acre “Loon Pond Road” tract, at right, is at the junction of Loon Pond Rd. and Griffin Rd., making up the fourth and final “gem” of this agricultural and scenic collection.

Your support has helped us secure permanent conservation easements on all four tracts, allowing for continued agriculture and forestry but prohibiting residential development. The public will be guaranteed pedestrian access to all tracts, plus snowmobiling on the trail on the Meetinghouse tract. Five Rivers will have the ongoing stewardship responsibility of overseeing and upholding these agreements. The Commission proposes to purchase and hold the restricted Frisky Hill and Meetinghouse tracts, to help maintain the fields and views, and to allow for integrated management with adjacent town-owned conservation land. For the Rte. 107 Fields and Loon Pond Road tracts, GLT will seek private parties to buy and own these parcels, subject to the conservation restrictions that will be in place by then. Ideal new owners would be existing or new farmers, abutters, or others with a commitment to maintaining the fields and views. Mr. Twigg has signed legally binding agreements securing our opportunity to achieve these outcomes. As part of this campaign, GLT is raising funds for the conservation of other key land not yet under agreement and adjacent to one of the four tracts.

Mr. Twigg has generously agreed to sell the property at about two-thirds of its value! Even so, the total purchase, transaction, and stewardship costs to accomplish the above outcomes total about $1,180,000. The great news is that 100% of the needed funds have already been donated, pledged, awarded, or otherwise identified! Key commitments include about $624,500 in grants, $311,000 in private gifts (mostly from Gilmanton residents), $120,000 from the Town’s Conservation Fund, and $121,000 anticipated from the sale of the other two tracts.

WE DID IT!  Thanks to all of our supporters for their generous donations!

With your support, this project will help perpetuate Gilmanton’s rural character and heritage, agricultural land base, and scenic and wildlife features, all valued by residents and visitors alike. These lands are a vital part of who we are, how we view our community, and how we shape its future. As one donor put it, “this land is the essence of Gilmanton.”


If you prefer to donate by check, or to arrange a gift of securities, please click HERE and complete the "Contribution & Pledge Form" at the bottom of the page.







View from Frisky Hill, NH Rte. 107                                                                                             (Photos: Tom Howe)

Gilmanton Land Trust is recognized as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, and is registered with the State of New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Division. Accordingly, contributions to GLT are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.