Chapman Brook Watershed
The Mahoosuc Land Trust views the proposed consent agreement regarding the William Bingham land, formerly used as a water supply for the town of Bethel, as an opportunity for Bethel to create a community forest. We hope the town will agree to establish a forest preserve managed by and for the benefit of the people of Bethel. A Community Forest is consistent with William Bingham's wishes and could provide wildlife habitat, back country recreation and environmental education opportunities to the Town.
As you know, the Mahoosuc Land Trust has had an interest in the disposition of William Bingham’s land in the Chapman Brook watershed. We are interested whenever there are opportunities to set aside appropriate land for timber management and recreation. We are especially concerned whenever there is a question of land donor’s wishes being respected. Our ability to complete conservation projects is based on the level of confidence donors have in the Trust to carry out their wishes after they are gone.
We think the Consent Agreement the Attorney General has proposed, while not ideal, is generally a good outcome and represents a great opportunity for Bethel to have a significant and valuable community forest. Many small towns and land trusts struggle to raise the money to purchase land for a community forest. Bethel has been given this land as a result of Mr. Bingham’s foresight.
Community forests are currently being established and managed by communities all over the U.S. Whether they are 50 acres or 50,000 acres, these forests provide significant benefits to the local community, both in conservation of resources, recreation, education, and income production. A Community Forest owned by the citizens of Bethel, could be managed and stewarded by our community members. While honoring the Bingham Trust, our town could use this beautiful 2,358-acre parcel for a wide variety of sustainable and long-term uses to the benefit of Bethel.
President, Mahoosuc Land Trust