SPNHF, Couple Protect 116 Acres in Allenstown

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Courtesy photo

Laura Bonk and Phil Trowbridge


Derevya Farms adds to conserved lands in the Merrimack River Watershed and
enhances wildlife habitat near Bear Brook State Park

ALLENSTOWN, NH – Laura Bonk and Phil Trowbridge bought 116
acres in Allenstown in 1997. At the time, they were starting out as young
scientists and outdoor enthusiasts, and they knew that this undeveloped land
on the northern boundary of Bear Brook State Park was a special spot. Now,
some 25 years later, the couple has placed a conservation easement on the

The Bonk-Trowbridge family generously donated the conservation easement and
will retain ownership of the land. The Society for the Protection of New
Hampshire Forests raised funds for the stewardship and project costs of
placing an easement on the land. In recognition of its watershed
significance, the project was awarded a grant of $8,000 by the Merrimack
Conservation Partnership, and the balance of funding was provided through
generous donations from individuals across the state.

“Ever since we bought the land, we have been planning to conserve it,”
states Bonk. “We have reached a stage in life where you need to focus on
doing important things. This donation is one of those things,” adds

The conservation easement permanently protects 116 acres in the Merrimack
River Watershed. Over the past decade, conservation, advocacy, and
educational groups have joined together as part of the Merrimack
Conservation Partnership to conserve lands that are important to protecting
water quality in the  <https://merrimackconservationpartnership.org/>
Merrimack River watershed.  The Derevya Farms property is an important link
in a large block of conserved lands and includes important natural

The Derevya Farms land includes frontage along Little Bear Brook, which
drains into Bear Brook and the Suncook River, all tributaries in the
Merrimack Watershed. As a result, it ranks as a high priority for
conservation in the Merrimack River Watershed Conservation Plan, which
targets the protection of high-quality forested watershed lands to protect
water quality throughout the region.

“More than 700,000 people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire rely on the
Merrimack River as the source of their drinking water and its groundwater
feeds private wells throughout, so the health of the watershed has a direct
impact on the quality of the water we drink,” states Jack Savage, president
of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “We cannot thank
the Laura and Phil enough for this generous donation and their commitment to
land conservation.”

In addition to the property’s importance in the watershed, it provides
habitat for moose, deer, bobcat, migratory birds and an abundance of other
wildlife. It has also been open for recreation to neighbors and locals who
enjoy walking the trails that the Bonk-Trowbridge family maintains on the
property. “We always knew that Derevya Farms would be a travel corridor for
wildlife in Bear Brook State Park. It has also become a travel corridor for
people. We maintain trails and a Class VI Road through the property, and use
of these trails has been increasing. My neighbors know the woods and trails
as well as I do. It’s gratifying to see that others use and care for the
land. I am proud to be conserving this open space for everyone to enjoy,”
explains Trowbridge.

“For me,” Bonk adds, “my favorite thing about the land are the trilliums. I
love seeing the wildflowers.”


The Forest Society is a non-profit land trust and forestry organization
established in 1901. The Forest Society owns 191 forest reservations
constituting nearly 60,000 acres that provide wildlife habitat, walking
trails, and watershed protection in 105 New Hampshire communities. In
partnership with private landowners, the Forest Society protects an
additional 135,000 acres by holding more than 750 conservation easements

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