150th Property Conserved!
Picture a beautiful horse pasture with scattered trees to provide shade on the edge of a beautiful, well-managed forest brimming with large oak and pine that you can explore via a network of woodland trails. That pretty much describes the Goun & Kaufman property in Brentwood, now conserved by a conservation easement, the 150th property conserved by the Southeast Land Trust since its founding in 1980! Roger Goun and Jody Kaufman donated the easement, limiting additional development of 39 acres of their 43 acre property.
“From our perspective, the Southeast Land Trust is lucky to be able to work with people like Roger and Jody who are great stewards of their land and wanted to make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy it,” explains Brian Hart, Executive Director of the Southeast Land Trust, a regional non-profit conservation organization based out of Exeter. “And to top it off, this is our 150th property protected – a milestone in our land conservation efforts.”
In explaining their decision to conserve their land, Jody recently stated that “we felt so lucky to find this parcel of land 15 years ago. We love living here, sharing it with the wildlife and occasional hikers or cross country skiers. We are grateful to be able to keep it open in perpetuity with the help of the land trust and the Town of Brentwood.”
Jody and Roger bought the property in 1997 and immediately began to plan for managing the property, building a home and creating pasture out of what was then a fully forested tract. Based on the advice of the Rockingham County Forester, they hired a licensed forester to develop a forest stewardship plan while they worked on plans for the house and barn. The careful planning paid off in some creative ways.
One example is their horse pasture. Jody and Roger moved here from a relatively treeless region by comparison to New Hampshire. They love trees but also needed pasture for their horses. Instead of clearing all of the trees for pasture they decided to create a “glade” by spacing out the healthiest oaks and hickories and planting grass. When looking over that beautiful tree-studded pasture, they remind then Rockingham County Forester Phil Auger that he previously told them it wouldn’t work. In fact they have had lots of opportunities to rib Phil about this recently because he is now working for the Southeast Land Trust as a Land Agent and in this new role, managed the conservation easement project on the Goun & Kaufman property. In addition, the owners improved the trails created in the process of logging the land for all sorts of recreational uses including walking, skiing, and of course horseback riding. Later these trails became part of a town wide network of recreation trails in Brentwood that include Ole Gordon Road which is a Class A Trail.
The Goun & Kaufman property includes approximately 17 acres of prime farmland soils under that glade pasture. The forests have been managed well enough to be certified as a Tree Farm. Though relatively small in and of itself, the property is part of a significant unfragmented block of open space that was identified as a Priority Protection Area in the most recent Brentwood Master Plan. Other conserved nearby lands includes the privately owned Chet Ladd Forest (which is protected by a conservation easement held by the Southeast Land Trust) and a parcel owned by the NH Fish and Game Department which was once a pheasant farm and deer research facility.
As with many conservation projects, the Goun & Kaufman easement was a partnership of the landowner, the land trust, and the community. The landowner generously donated the easement and the Town of Brentwood, through its Conservation Commission, provided the necessary funding to cover the project’s associated transaction costs. The Southeast Land Trust holds the easement and is responsible for its long-term monitoring and stewardship, to ensure the Property’s natural resources are conserved in perpetuity. The Town holds an executory interest in the easement, ensuring that the Town can protect its investment should the Southeast Land Trust fail to do its job or cease to exist.