(Durham, NH, October 30, 2020) - Over a century ago, a wealthy shoe manufacturer from Boston, Thomas Plant, saw the beauty of Ossipee mountain range in Moultonborough, N.H. and decided to build a castle. Today, more than five thousand acres of land wraps around the Castle in the Clouds as part of a conservation patchwork of land that is protected forever. Join WINDOWS TO THE WILD host Willem Lange as he explores this multifaceted property to see why it is considered the crown jewel of the Lakes Region.
As the COVID-19 pandemic settles in, people from near and far look to escape to the mountains of New Hampshire. “We’ve seen this spring how important these properties are. People have been kept at home because of the pandemic and are eager to have some enjoyment and get some fresh air. We’ve had more use than ever of these trails,” says Donald Berry, President of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.
There are nearly two-million acres of public or conserved land in New Hampshire that is used by both outdoor enthusiast and wildlife. The Lakes Region Conservation Trust immediately saw the value and importance of conserving the land surrounding the Castle in the Clouds so that it would be open to public use. “When we conserve land it means that it will be protected forever, it means that people will be able to enjoy the beauty of it, the recreational opportunities, the wildlife habitat of it and the peacefulness of it forever,” says Berry. “As we look at possible land conservation opportunities that people bring to us, one of the key factors in our thinking is how a particular piece of land connects with larger pieces of land to create big corridors that allow wildlife to move across the landscape.”
Close to six million dollars had to be raised to protect the Castles in the Clouds property. Ann Hackl was one of many people who help secure the funding. “Conservation is something I’ve really been involved in and cared about ever since I was a kid,” says Hackl. “I grew up on 200 acres in Connecticut and then when my father retired he sold it and it was developed. I swore that one day I would own a chunk of land and I was going to save it.” She did just that. Ann and her husband donated over 300 acres to the conservation.
To preserve land, generations of families have come together to discuss whether to outright donate their land or to donate a conservation easement where they can continue to own the land and work the land. But for many of these families, they all have one thing in common – preservation. “Some of us have long family roots in this part of New Hampshire and we really treasure it. It means a lot to us to preserve the natural aspects of the land that we’ve appreciated throughout our lives,” says Berry.
You can explore more of this crown jewel of the Lakes Region on the next episode of WINDOWS TO THE WILD, premiering Wednesday, November 4th at 7:30 pm on New Hampshire PBS and online anytime at nhpbs.org/windows.
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