Cunningham Pond land nears conservation 

  • Two crews of volunteers from the Student Conservation Association camped on the Cunningham Pond property in late September through early October to “rough out” the trail system the Conservancy proposed for the property. Courtesy photo—

  • Two crews of volunteers from the Student Conservation Association camped on the Cunningham Pond property in late September through early October to “rough out” the trail system the Conservancy proposed for the property. Courtesy photo—

  • Two crews of volunteers from the Student Conservation Association camped on the Cunningham Pond property in late September through early October to “rough out” the trail system the Conservancy proposed for the property. Courtesy photo—

  • A map of the Cunningham Pond property with existing and proposed features. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/13/2019 4:55:01 PM

The Monadnock Conservancy is set to purchase a substantial portion of the land around Cunningham Pond in less than a month, but they’re still short of meeting their fundraising goal.

The conserved land is set to open to the public this spring, with new trails and access points.

The fundraising goal for the 104-acre parcel is $1.5 million. Executive Director Ryan Owens said that to date, the Conservancy has raised about $1,105,000. He said the closing date on the property is set for Dec. 6.

“Right now we’re not totally there yet,” he said. “We have sufficient reserves in Monadnock Conservancy funds to close, and we will, on time.”

However, he said they are still seeking to minimize the amount they need to dip into conservancy funds.

“If there is additional support ... those [Conservancy] funds will then be available for other future conservation projects,” he said.

Owens said that more than 250 people have donated to the fundraiser already with “gifts of all sizes.” He described the town of Peterborough’s pledge of $250,000 toward the purchase in March as unprecedented, “huge, and worth mentioning again.” The pledge says a lot about the priorities of the community, he said.

Owens said the purchase of the property would cost $1,325,000, with the rest of the funds covering long-term maintenance and upkeep, trail network construction, and the costs of the fundraising campaign itself.

Two crews of volunteers from the Student Conservation Association camped on the property in late September through early October to “rough out” the trail system the Conservancy proposed for the property. A new parking area and kiosk are set to be installed along Cunningham Pond Road in the spring, Owens said.

There is a cabin and a historic stone boathouse currently on the property.

“Because we are a land trust and focused on owning land, owning the building long-term was not an interest,” Owens said.

The boathouse and a five-acre parcel of surrounding land will be subdivided with restrictions on further development after the purchase and sold, he said, with proceeds returning to the fundraising campaign total. The cabin will be dissembled and removed. Owens said there has been interest in both the cabin and the boathouse parcel. 

A group of local citizens spearheaded the effort to conserve the area around the pond after an adjacent parcel was subdivided in 2017 . The fundraising began in March 2018. When the Monadnock Conservancy got involved in the project, it was the largest campaign the organization had ever done for a single piece of land.

In the spring, the Conservancy plans to look for opportunities to celebrate the success of the acquisition and welcome everyone to the property, Owens said. 

For instructions on how to donate, visit savecunninghampond.org or call Owens at 603-357-0600, ext. 103.


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