In the state of New Hampshire, a town or city’s local conservation commission is established for the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources and for the protection of watershed resources of said city or town.
Conservation commissions are charged with:
1) Protection of natural resources and wetlands
2) Acquisition and management of “open space”
3) Long-term preservation of water quality
The Sandown Conservation Commission continues to work on these ongoing goals:
- Increase Our Inventory of Conservation Land
- Increase Conservation Awareness, Education, and Outreach Programs
- Continue to Implement, Develop, and Improve Our Open Space Management Plan
- Continue to Implement, Develop, and Improve Our Forest Management Plan
- Maintain and Continue to Develop a Network of Non-Motorized Recreation Trails
Increase Our Inventory of Conservation Land
The preservation of “open space” is a priority highlighted in the Town of Sandown Master Plan.
Preserving open space land is a way to enhance quality of life for everyone in Sandown. Placing jurisdiction and management of town-owned open space parcels under the Sandown Conservation Commission is a way to further this goal.
“Conservation” does not mean that activity is not allowed on this land, quite the contrary. We want to provide appropriate access to some of the hidden gems in town as well as recommend best uses of these parcels, which may include recreation, trails, agriculture, and/or forestry.
The Sandown Conservation Commission also uses other methods to ensure the preservation of Sandown’s beautiful and valuable “open space.” These methods include:
- Requesting conservation easements from developers as set-asides.
- Purchasing conservation easements from landowners who want to preserve their land.
- Purchasing land at discounts from those landowners who are conservation minded and do not want to sell to a developer.
To make these purchases, Sandown needs to allocate appropriate levels of funding to the Sandown Conservation Fund. One important source of funding is "Land Use Change Tax."
Open space poses no expenses to the town, unlike housing developments. There are Sandown landowners who want to keep their land open and undeveloped, and they are willing to sell the land or an easement to the Town of Sandown at a discount, which may qualify them for federal tax breaks. Whenever possible, the Sandown Conservation Commission applies for state and federal grants to match our money, thus decreasing the amount of money that the town must contribute.
The conservation commission cannot pursue these goals alone, and we invite any Sandown residents to join us in these efforts. If you care about preserving a balance of open space in Sandown, please contact the conservation commission to find out more about how you can get involved. People with backgrounds in real estate, law, and insurance can offer their expertise, as well as “regular folks” who have an interest in this area.
Increase Conservation Awareness, Education and Outreach Programs
As the Sandown Conservation Commission pursues the conservation goals outlined in our state laws and in the Sandown Master Plan, it is essential to maintain strong communication with all Sandown residents.
To further these efforts, we invite and encourage any and all town residents to join us for our twice-monthly meetings. These public meetings are held each month on the second and fourth Thursdays. In November and December, they are held on the first and third Thursdays. The meetings begin at 7pm at the Town Hall.
In advance of these meetings, anyone may email firstname.lastname@example.org to add business to the agenda.
In addition to these public meetings, the Conservation Commission is increasing its efforts to disseminate news and information via social media, specifically through Facebook. We invite all Sandown residents to follow us on Facebook to stay informed.
Continue to Implement, Develop, and Improve Our Open Space Management Plan
The Sandown Conservation Commission continues to develop, implement, and improve Sandown’s Open Space Management Plan. The plan is both current (including an inventory and assessment of town-owned land) and forward-looking (including analysis of which parcels of land might be advantageous to acquire). This plan ensures that acquisition and management of town-owned open space land will be guided by a strategic vision that is in line with Sandown’s goals.
Our Open Space Management Plan also helps ensure that the conservation commission can best serve the interests of our town by being prepared to take advantage of land acquisition opportunities as they arise.
The conservation commission welcomes input from the residents of Sandown on other land uses and management of conservation land.
Continue to Implement, Develop, and Improve Our Forest Management Plan
Sandown has several town forests (pursuant to RSA 31:110). By definition, these town forests are protected or considered conservation land.
Some of the reasons for proper forest management include; planting, thinning, harvesting, reforestation and other land management programs. You can learn more about our forest management efforts on our Forest Management page.
Maintain and Continue to Develop a Network of Non-Motorized Recreation Trails
Members of the conservation commission and local volunteers continue to work on a network of non-motorized recreation trails.
If you would like to get involved, please contact the conservation commission.
These goals are respectfully submitted by the Sandown Conservation Commission.