With Wilkins Lumber land sale, the future is clear for 500 acres in Amherst, Mont Vernon
"We've been trying to get the land into permanent protection so that one generation won't have to sell it to pay for the estate taxes for the generation before," said Wilkins.But preserving the land isn't just about taxes for the Wilkins family. It's a philosophy.
"Land does not equal money to this family," she said. "Land is a treasure as it stands, and we don't think the best thing to do with land is to put a house on it."Leaving space open for wildlife and, of course, people, is vital to the health of New Hampshire, especially the southern part of the state where development pressures are the heaviest, Wilkins said.
According to Brenda Charpentier, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation has already established a $50,000 challenge grant to help raise the $190,000 needed for the easements.Ian McSweeney, executive director of the Russell Foundation, said the Wilkins family's commitment to preserving the land over many generations was behind the foundation's decision to match donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, through the grant."The family's protection of this land through their longterm stewardship and active management to provide lumber for this region speaks volumes as to how they view and treat the land," he said. "And the locations of these parcels add to existing conserved land in an area with high development pressure and in a part of the state where the majority of the population lives. People care a lot about what happens in their own back yards, and there are a lot of back yards impacted by this project."For more information, visit www.forestsociety.org.