In Danger: Giant Park Near Keene, Brattleboro

Pisgah State Park, with thousands of acres, is the biggest state park in New Hampshire. It is in the town of Hinsdale, and two other towns. Hinsdale is directly across the river from Brattleboro. The following article was written by Jeffrey Scott and Marti Hobbes of the group Defenders of Pisgah. It was posted on a bulletin board at one of the entrances to the park on June 27. The only contact info provided for the group was:

P.O. Box 31
Spofford, NH 03462

More information is available from www.wilderness.org and www.spnhf.org Another local group, Friends of Pisgah, supports logging in the park. It opposed the increased use of ATVs and other motorized vehicles at Pisgah, which New Hampshire governor John Lynch has proposed as a way to generate revenue. Lynch opposes taxing the rich to pay the salary of the lone park ranger at Pisgah.

The photos were taken by Eesha Williams at Pisgah on June 27.

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“Pisgah Highway” — is this a possibility? According to Chris Gamache, chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, “Some (Pisgah State Park) gates may be closed and some other gates may be opened; for example; opening Old Chesterfield Road to have access across the property.”

When asked at the May 11 Pisgah State Park Steering Committee meeting if that implied a through-road, Gamache’s response was, “That idea would be part of the alternatives discussion.”

For those of you not familiar with Pisgah State Park, it includes more than 13,300 acres of rough forested terrain, encompassing a complete watershed north of the Ashuelot River. Within the Cheshire county towns of Winchester, Chesterfield and Hinsdale, the park protects seven ponds (popular for fishing), four highland ridges and numerous wetlands.

Opening access to the park’s portion of Old Chesterfield Road, which bisects the park, would offer a direct connection between the towns of Chesterfield and Winchester. With no other direct routes connecting the two towns, it’s likely this park trail would become a popular through-way, opening up the possibility of major logging operations and increased use of ATVs.

This, at a time when the full-time park manager position has been eliminated.

If you are concerned about the state’s commitment to preserving the natural resources of Pisgah State Park — from its misguided idea last year to lease, de-commission or sell parts of the park to this year’s proposal to open a veritable highway through the park — please consider attending the next steering committee meeting Tuesday, June 29, 4-6 p.m., at Fox State Forest, 309 Center Road, Hillsborough.

Public comments are taken from 5:30-6 p.m. (Note: The meeting was originally scheduled to take place locally in Keene, but was recently moved 30 miles north to Hillsboro. Why? Is the state trying to make it more difficult for concerned residents to attend the meeting?)

Alternatively, you may contact New Hampshire State Rep. Tim Butterworth by e-mailing him at kayandtim@hughes.net or writing to him at 72 North Hinsdale Road, Chesterfield, NH 03443.

So, get involved, speak up, let the state know what you think of their ideas, and let’s take back our parks.

Comments

Tim Butterworth

I'm not in the NH House any more, but still working to preserve Pisgah Park. My e-mail has changed, too:

kayandtim1@myfairpoint.net

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