International Paper to Sell Connecticut Lakes Property

Pittsburg, NH - International Paper and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced the next step in an agreement to make it possible to protect approximately 171,500 acres in Pittsburg, Clarksville, and Stewartstown known as the Connecticut Lakes property.

TPL, a national nonprofit organization, is proposing to purchase the property from International Paper by December 31, 2001, with the purchase price to be determined by an independent appraisal this fall. TPL plans to hold the property off the market while the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Partnership Task Force works to develop a vision for the land's future and a plan to carry out that vision. The Task Force, which has been convened jointly by U.S. Senator Judd Gregg and Governor Jeanne Shaheen, is comprised of local residents, North Country leaders, state and federal officials, and nonprofit organizations. At the same time, TPL will work with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, other nonprofit organizations, and state and federal officials to raise funds for the purchase.

"These forests have long provided an economic basis for this region," said Dave Lieser, International Paper's Region Manager, Northern Operations. "We are pleased to have reached a sales agreement with the Trust for Public Land that will achieve the long-term conservation interests of this property and the community while protecting and maintaining the economic attributes of a working forest and local recreational traditions."

"TPL is delighted to announce our agreement with International Paper," said TPL field office director David Houghton. "We are committed to helping accomplish the vision that the Task Force's Steering Committee is developing for the land. Through this approach, we hope to help stabilize land ownership in the region, work with local officials and community members to foster economic growth through timber-based jobs and tourism, protect environmentally sensitive portions of the property and endangered species habitat, and provide for public access and enjoyment." The largest contiguous block of New Hampshire land in private ownership, this property is the backbone of the local economy, providing both timber-related jobs and a popular tourist destination for snowmobiling, fishing, canoeing, hunting, hiking, and bird watching. It also surrounds three of the Connecticut River's four headwater lakes, includes nearly the entire watershed of Perry Stream and Indian Stream, and provides habitat for at least 20 rare wildlife species, including loons, osprey, bald eagles, and pine martens.

The effort to conserve the Connecticut Lakes property has been a collaborative effort involving, not only International Paper, the Trust for Public Land, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, but also Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and Bob Smith, U.S. Representatives Charlie Bass and John Sununu, New Hampshire Senate President Arthur P. Klemm, New Hampshire House Speaker Gene G. Chandler, and other state and local elected officials and citizens.

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