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Update on Logging of Birch Ridge

Dillon Investments, LLC Acquires Former Red Oak Ridge LLC Property on Birch Ridge

As many have now heard, in mid-August, over 1900 acres of land on Birch Ridge, formerly owned by Red Oak Ridge, LLC (controlled by Gruss and Company) was purchased for $2.575mm by Dillon Investments, LLC (Dillon) of Anson, ME, primarily a logging/timber company.

Within days, a Notice of Intent to Cut Wood or Timber was filed with the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and the Town of New Durham. The permit was quickly approved and logging has begun on the slopes above Broad Cove.

The Notice of Intent indicates that the areas will be “clear cut”, taking all available timber and byproducts. Unfortunately, all of this is legal and allowed in the State of NH. There are few restrictions on a landowner cutting on their property unless they are within 250’ of a water body covered by the Shoreland Protection Act, which is not the case here. The area involved is almost everything on the south and east sides of South Shore Road, starting at the fish hatchery and going to the end of South Shore Road (to view the parcels involved, go to the Interactive Tax Map Data link on the www.mmlake.org/links page, and search for all parcels owned by “Dillon”)

The quick sale to Dillon was surprising in that the NH Forest Society had been quietly negotiating along with support from the MMLA and other conservation organizations to purchase the properties from Gruss and Company. Unfortunately, Gruss decided to sell to Dillon without considering alternative offers or notifying us of the impending sale.

 In 2010, an alliance between the Merrymeeting Lake Association (MMLA), the Town of New Durham, The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society), and the New Hampshire Community Heritage Program attempted to purchase this property from Gruss. At that time, the appraised value of the land was $2.6mm which was below Red Oak’s opinion of the property’s value. As a result, negotiations were unsuccessful, though frustratingly, the property was sold to Dillon for about the same amount 8 years later.

The MMLA is working with forestry rangers from the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands and with the Town of New Durham Forester regarding the current logging activity. We have direct connections to the governor’s office and other state agencies to ensure that all logging activities follow correct procedures. These entities will continue to monitor the harvesting process, with particular emphasis on signs of silting after major rain events. The MMLA water testing team will also continue to monitor the water quality of the lake for any potential impact.

We are also working to ascertain Dillon Investments’ intentions regarding the property, and we will continue to have ongoing discussions with Dillon, the state, New Durham, and others on current plans and future options for the properties involved.

If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to the MMLA Board of Directors at email mmla@mmlake.org.  We would ask that abutters noticing any issues with silting on their property and/or in the springs that run down the ridge into the lake should immediately contact the MMLA. While these recent changes are upsetting to most, our best chance to manage this is to coordinate all input and communications through the association. Unorganized and fractured contact with the parties involved will not be helpful.

We will continue to update you and provide you with any new information as it becomes available.

Regards,

The MMLA Board of Directors
email:
mmla@mmlake.org

 

 

MMLA LakeCam is Back!

The marina network reconfiguration is complete and the LakeCam is now back! The first time you click on the link above, you will be asked for a username: mmlaguest and a password: mmla . If your internet browser allows you to store this info, I suggest you do so and you won't need to enter this information again.

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