2 community forests expand to protect water, wildlife

GORHAM, N.H. (AP) — One of the oldest and one of the newest community forests in New Hampshire have added to their size, to protect drinking water, wildlife, and recreation, in partnership with The Conservation Fund.

The Gorham Town Forest added 2,020 acres and the Milan Community Forest added 678 acres. The expansions also will provide sustainable timber harvesting and new outdoor recreational destinations.

One of the oldest town forests in the state, the Gorham Town Forest, known as the Paul T. Doherty Memorial Forest, was established in 1936 to ensure clean drinking water for 90% of its residents. Revenue from the forest’s management has funded various town projects, including the renovation and preservation of Town Hall of Town Hall and repairs to the fire station. The 2,020-acre addition expands the Gorham Town Forest to 5,666 acres.

The Milan Community Forest was established in 2012 as a community-led effort to acquire additional lands to create connectivity in the landscape and allow the town to manage for forestry, wildlife and recreational goals at a larger scale. The purchase advances the town’s efforts to own and manage 5,000 acres.

Both towns recently acquired the properties from The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit whose dual mission focuses on providing environmental and economic solutions to communities across the country.