Conservation easement used to preserve farmland
Eighty acres of prime farmland in the center of town off Quaker Road will remain undeveloped through a conservation easement funded, in part, by a $32,000 grant from the Emma Sawyer Trust.
“Weare has been one of the fastest growing communities in New Hampshire in recent years and has been losing its rural character,” said John McCausland, chairman of the trust. “There’s not a lot of agriculture going on in Weare anymore, but this easement ensures that agriculture will continue right in the heart of Weare center.”
The land is part of the Purington farm on Quaker Road, where the Sawyer and Purington families have lived for ages. Both families are descendents of some of the earliest Quaker settlers of Weare, said McCausland.
The Purington easement will link the 80 acres with other protected properties to form a “green necklace” around the center of Weare, McCausland said.
The $32,000 grant from the Emma Sawyer Trust, established in 1940 when resident Emma Sawyer left her estate to the town to better the community and schools, caps a fundraising effort that has included donations from the Weare Conservation Commission, the Russell Piscataquog River Watershed Foundation, and the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection program of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, together with money from the Mildred Hall Fund and donations from some 50 individuals.
The conservation easement will be held by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, which coordinated the project, and the land will be used for agriculture and recreation.
“We see this as something Mrs. Sawyer would have supported,” said McCausland. “She was part of old Weare and this helps protect the character of the town that she knew and loved.”
McCausland said the land is full of history and beautiful, and that helping to preserve it seemed like the logical thing to do.
“My fellow trustees, Joe Fiala and Mike Pelletier, and I immediately saw the importance of this project,” he said. “We were delighted to help make it happen.”
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