CONCORD — The Board of Directors of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) has announced 32 grants totaling $4.1 million being awarded to natural and historic resource projects all across the state. Projects this year are located in nine of the state’s ten counties. Eleven natural resource conservation projects and twenty-one historic resource projects will benefit from these grants.
LCHIP Board Chair Amanda Merrill of Durham observed “This year LCHIP received the largest total request for funds in its 20-year history – nearly $8 million! Despite the challenges of operating under pandemic conditions, our project reviewers and staff did their usual detailed and thoughtful preparation work, for which the board is grateful.” She went on to say, “The board had the satisfaction of awarding grants to a variety of wonderful projects – and the regret of being unable to support many others. It is clear to me that the work of LCHIP is more important than ever.”
The natural resource projects will provide permanent conservation for more than 4,300 acres. Projects range in size from thirty-two acres in Hampton Falls to eleven hundred acres of mountainous woodland in Jackson and Bartlett. Five of the projects represent additions to or expansions of existing conservation lands, increasing the ecological value. There are unusual riverfront projects, in both Northumberland and Shelburne. All of the land conserved with help from LCHIP is open for public use, so in total, these projects will open up an array of new locations for low-impact outdoor activities like hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
The Clay Brook Forest in Hampton Falls has been a place for people and wildlife to cross paths since the early days of coastal settlement. Once known as "Toppan’s Ox Pasture," this scenic 32-acre property is located off Old Stage Road in Hampton Falls. It has a quarter-mile of frontage along the Taylor River and a network of four-season trails that are already used for hiking, snowshoeing, nature observation, and dog walking. A $100,000 LCHIP grant will allow the Town of Hampton Falls and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to assure its permanent protection and public access.
Buildings receiving grants date from the 1750 Penhallow House at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth to the 1915 Willing Workers Hall in Warren, the only building in the state-owned by Willing Workers, a once-popular community service effort. Twenty-seven of the historic resource projects involve building rehabilitation, including roof replacements in Nashua, Portsmouth, and Tilton. Five of the historic resource grants are for studies to determine the needs and priorities for further work on historic structures.
The South East Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELT), a successful recipient of previous LCHIP grants for land conservation projects, will receive a historic resources grant of up to $315,000 to help rehabilitate a vacant farmhouse on land in Epping that SELT conserved with the help from an LCHIP grant in 2013. The two-story, center-chimney house, dating to the late eighteenth century, was the home of John Prescott Chase, a farmer and legislator, and his family. While the property has had a variety of subsequent owners in the many years since the house and surrounding landscape are well-preserved and would easily be recognized by early residents. The rehabilitation project will allow the building to retain important historic features, such as fireplaces, plaster, wide pine flooring, and built-in cabinets as well as provide two units of rental housing.
Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for each dollar provided by LCHIP. This year’s awards of $4.1 million will be matched by more than $17 million that the project proponents will raise from other public and private sources, infusing a total of twenty-two million much-needed dollars into the state’s economy in direct project activity.
About New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program
The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority created by the legislature in 2000. LCHIP’s legislative mandate is to ensure the perpetual contribution of natural, cultural, and historic resources to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. LCHIP does this by providing matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. The program has provided 499 grants which have helped to conserve approximately 294,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management, and recreation, and have supported 301 projects to rehabilitate 286 historic structures and sites. Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 176 of New Hampshire’s 234 communities. Fifty million dollars of state money have led to a total project value of more than $289 million. The money for LCHIP grants comes from fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state.
For more information about LCHIP, visit LCHIP.org or call 603-224-4113.