Water conservation

Epping NH Burley Farms conservation land expansion planned with 130 acres

EPPING — The Southeast New Hampshire Land Trust is looking to significantly expand its Epping-based business Conservation property of Burley Farms with the potential addition of nearly 130 acres.

The land trust is currently engaged in acquiring, retaining and managing the “Mathes property”, which adjoins Burley Farms and runs alongside scenic wilderness River Lamprey at Epping. The deadline for the acquisition is December 31, 2022, and the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELT) is in the midst of a public campaign for financial support for this one-of-a-kind project.

“We know that development continues to increase in the great coastline, so it is essential to conserve the most important lands we have left,” said Brian Hart, Executive Director of SELT. “The Mathes property is one such land, offering immense scenic and conservation value, while being a unique north star at the center of the region to connect more people to nature.”

When SELT bought Burley Farms in 2015officials said the guiding vision was to conserve significant land and provide the area with a destination for recreation, education and community bonding.

The Burley family had owned the property for nearly two centuries. The property is rich in natural resources like wildlife habitat, rich farmland soils and water protection along the Lamprey River.

It is now the home of Nan and George Mathey Center for People and Nature. The property is open to the public and allows activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, skiing and hunting.

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Last week, the farm was buzzing with activity.

From a yellow school bus, a line of fourth year pupils from Epping Primary School poured out, ready for a morning of hands-on nature-based education in the dirt in the surrounding woods. With the addition of the Mathes property, this type of community-oriented programming will have even more scenic beauty to flourish.

“Conservation of the Mathes property will create a magnificent block of over 525 acres of protected open space for all to enjoy,” Hart said. “Not only does this mean even more potential for public access and enjoyment of the great outdoors, but additional square footage for our burgeoning nature-based education program.”

The Southeast Lands Trust of New Hampshire works to acquire, maintain and manage the

Why is the Mathes property so important?

Hart said the Mathes property offers a wealth of conservation value, as it contains nearly a mile of shoreline on the Lamprey River and lies entirely within the UNH/Durham Source Water Protection Area. Many species of common, rare, and even endangered wildlife inhabit this land, including fish, turtles, and plants. The hundreds of acres of unfragmented land, he said, will ensure clear corridors for wildlife to traverse – making the Mathes property a top priority under NH Fish and Game Wildlife Action Plan.

“You often hear the term ‘jigsaw piece’ to describe conservation connectivity,” Hart said. “It’s particularly appropriate here. This project brings an incredible opportunity, with great natural resource value and unlimited recreational and programmatic potential.

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How can you help protect Mathes property?

SELT faces a December 31, 2022 deadline to raise the final $48,000 in funds and purchase, protect and manage the Mathes property. To date, the Lamprey River Advisory Committeethe NH Aquatic Resources Mitigation Fundand NH Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund have awarded grants to jump-start the conservation process, but $48,000 is still needed.

The Southeast Lands Trust of New Hampshire works to acquire, maintain and manage the

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all donations made to the Mathes campaign will be matched dollar for dollar. To find out more, including viewing a map, and to donate, visit seltnh.org/math.