The Town of Grantham completed the purchase of the 385-acre Sawyer Brook Headwaters Property and transfer of a conservation easement to the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust. The Town appropriated $250,000 toward the acquisition at its 2019 Town Meeting, while Ausbon Sargent worked to secure the remaining funds needed for this $515,000 project. A $215,000 grant from the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and a $24,000 grant from the NH State Conservation Committee’s Moose Plate Grant Program were vital to this true community effort that has resulted in the preservation of one of the region’s most special places.
The Sawyer Brook Headwaters property includes high-ranking wetlands and wildlife habitat as designated by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, as well as a critical section of an existing wildlife corridor between nearby conserved parcels. The property is open for public access allowing visitors of all ages to enjoy hiking, hunting, mountain biking, running, snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, nature observation and other low-impact activities.
This closing brings to conclusion a two-year partnership effort that began in 2018 when the property became available for sale from Dillon Investments. The Town partnered with The Conservation Fund (a national nonprofit) to acquire the property from Dillon in July 2019, with the Fund holding a share of the property to provide time for Ausbon Sargent to secure the conservation project’s full funding. At the closing, the Town purchased the Fund’s share, becoming the sole owner of the land.
Peter Garland, chair of the Grantham Board of Selectmen said, "We are thrilled to have completed the final step in the Sawyer Brook Headwaters conservation project. Recent events have made local places to recreate and enjoy nature more important than ever, and the Town is grateful that our residents and our partners in this project value our natural resources and what they mean to our quality of life. Thank you to Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust, The Conservation Fund, NH’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), the NH State Conservation Committee’s Moose Plate Grant Program, The Eastman Charitable Foundation, The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Grantham residents, and generous private donors for coming together to save this special place.”
Deborah Stanley, Executive Director for The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust felt “honored and excited to work together with the Town of Grantham and all who provided support for this project. There were so many different individuals who came together to make this project happen and it was just amazing to see the excitement for the conservation of this beautiful and important piece of property.”
“Conserving this property ensures multiple community benefits, from the existing well-loved community trails to the wildlife habitat that forms the headwaters of Sawyer Brook,” said Sally Manikian, Vermont and New Hampshire Representative with The Conservation Fund. “It has been inspiring to work with the Town of Grantham and Ausbon Sargent to design a creative solution for this land. This project completes the final conservation of three properties last owned by William B. Ruger, the other two of which became the William B. Ruger Wildlife Management Area in 2019.”