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1881

The New Hampshire legislature establishes the first of several New Hampshire Forestry Commissions to report on the condition and composition of woodlands in the state.

1903

Fire destroys 84,000 acres of standing timber in the White Mountains.

1909

The New Hampshire legislature authorizes the appointment of a Forest Commission to provide for forest protection and control. It is administered by the State Forestry Department under the direction of Edgar C. Hirst, New Hampshire’s first state forester. He realizes that the $8,000 annual budget will not be adequate to prevent and fight forest fires. To compensate for this, Hirst establishes a fire warden system throughout the state.

1910

The state of New Hampshire owns 600 acres in state reservations in 1910.

Private landowners turn over three fire lookout stations to the State Forestry Department.

State forester Edgar Hirst invites all the major landowners in the North Country to meet March 30, 1910, at the Mount Madison Hotel in Gorham, N.H. After a lavish dinner, William Robinson Brown of Brown Co. speaks to the group. Deciding that the state will not have enough money to fight fires that year, the men pledge $4,100 to assist with this work. The attendees also ask Brown to draw up papers to establish a New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA).

1911

The NHTOA is established as a non-profit organization. The first Board of Directors comprises William R. Brown, W.H. Bundy, George W. Lewis, F.P. Thomas, Dr. John Gile, L.S. Tainter, Charles C. Wilson, and the Dartmouth College Grant. They elect Brown as president, and he holds the office for more than 30 years, until 1944.

Frederick H. Billard is the association’s first secretary-manager.

The initial membership assessment is one cent per acre. Much of the more than one million acres owned by NHTOA members is in Coos County.

The NHTOA’s initial objectives are described as, “The protection and improvement of the membership’s timberlands and property rights through the joint efforts of the members in planning and acting on matters relating to forest management, legislation, taxes, and other projects as may be of mutual interest to the members.”

The NHTOA employs a forest patrolman to improve fire detection, accessibility, and communication, and to establish fire prevention and suppression programs.

On March 1, 1911, U.S. President William H. Taft signs the Weeks Act, which allows the federal government to purchase private land for “the conservation and navigability of a river.” The Act also fosters water quality and fire protection.

1912

To improve forest fire prevention, panoramic maps of forest lands are made. They are mounted on a table and centered on a special alidade range-finder located in fire lookout towers.

In September, NHTOA secretary-manager Frederick Billard reports that the NHTOA has a balance from 1911 of $1,177.76 and that the association raised $5,190.44 by assessing the membership. It earned $10 in interest on its accounts, for a total balance of $6,378.20. From Nov. 20, 1911, to Sept. 1, 1912, the NHTOA spends $6,065.66 on various budget items, including paying men to patrol timberlands, maps, and telephone line construction and supplies. The association’s account balance on Sept. 1, 1912, is $312.54.

Billard also reports that the NHTOA has 32 members with a total land ownership of 1,036,388 acres, up 54,539 acres from 1911.

1913

The New Hampshire legislature passes a low to allow state employees to enter private woodlands to clear brush along railroad rights-of-way.

1914

Twenty-four fire lookout stations are in operation in New Hampshire from May through October.

The federal government now owns 104,000 acres in the White Mountains, and Congress approves the purchase of an additional 150,000 acres.

1918

During World War I, the NHTOA encourages its members to sell cordwood stumpage to New Hampshire residents at a low cost to offset the large demand for coal by war industries.

1930

The state of New Hampshire now owns 29,300 acres in state reservations.

1930s

When gravel roads became the standard for hauling wood, the improved access means that fire protection methodology changes from foot patrols to motorized travel. (Later, the NHTOA employs airplanes for fire detection.)

1936

In the middle of the Great Depression, the NHTOA still has 19 members and gross receipts of $3,417.

1943

Under an agreement with the state, the NHTOA transfers the administration of the field fire suppression program to Emmett Buckley, the state district fire chief.

1949

The NHTOA supports the Act for Forest Conservation and Taxation, which establishes the yield tax. The value of timber is taxed when it is cut.

1960

The state now owns 63,700 acres in state reservations.

1961

The NHTOA is up to 25 members and gross receipts of $7,691.

1968

New Hampshire voters pass an amendment to the state’s constitution to allow for Current Use assessment for property tax.

1970

The NHTOA hires Kendall Norcott as its first executive director, working part-time. He will manage the association’s activities as part of his job with Brown Co. in Berlin, N.H.

1972

The NHTOA becomes a statewide organization through the efforts of John Bork, president; Kendall Norcott, executive director; Ted Natti, forester for the state; and Roger Leighton, cooperative forest management supervisor for the UNH Cooperative Extension. The association establishes chapters in each N.H. county.

1971-1973

The New Hampshire legislature enacts Current Use assessment. The NHTOA is a key supporter of the program, which makes it much easier for landowners to keep their land as working forests.

1974

The NHTOA hires John Herrington as its first full-time executive director. During his tenure, the association combines its two publications, the Timberland Crier and the Timber Market Crier, into one bimonthly newsletter, the Timber Crier.

Mid-1970s

The NHTOA joins the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (the Forest Society) as a co-sponsor of the New Hampshire Tree Farm Program.

1981

The NHTOA moves its offices to the Rathbun House on the Forest Society’s Conservation Center campus in Concord, N.H.

1983

The NHTOA celebrates 1983 as the “Year of the Forest.”

Charles A. Levesque joins the NHTOA as executive director. His hiring gives the association full-time representation in the New Hampshire legislature.

New Hampshire now owns 103,900 acres in state reservations.

1984

The NHTOA begins the Annual Appeal to supplement income from dues. The intent of the Appeal is to grow the budget and offer additional services to members. Response is generous.

1985

The NHTOA creates the semi-autonomous Forest Industries Committee to provide a better representation of all sectors of New Hampshire’s forest products industry and encourage more companies to join the association.

1986

The association supports the Trust for New Hampshire Lands. Conceived by the Forest Society, the Trust’s objective is to protect 100,000 acres of private forest and farmland in New Hampshire.

The NHTOA secures a negotiated settlement of the 10-year land and resource management plan for the White Mountain National Forest.

In 25 years since 1961, membership in the NHTOA has grown from 25 members to 998 members, and gross receipts have climbed to $56,696.

1987

The NHTOA supports a committee to study the proliferation of biomass plants in New Hampshire.

The association works to have forest land productivity continue to be a key element of the Current Use program.

The NHTOA’s membership approves restructuring the board of directors to provide representation of all membership categories, from landowner through sawmill owner. Presidents serve one-year terms.

Charles Niebling joins NHTOA as executive director.

1988

The association receives a grant from the Northeastern Loggers Association (NLA) to develop a work plan to publish a Municipal Official’s Guide to Timber Harvesting.

The NHTOA collaborates with NLA and the UNH Cooperative Extension to organize Safe Trucking workshops.

The NHTOA joins with the North Country Forest Coalition to protect Diamond International lands in Coos County. Other organizations supporting the protection include the Forest Society, Wilderness Society, and the North Country Council.

1989

In response to the town of Exeter’s restrictive timber-harvesting ordinance, the NHTOA initiates a right-to-harvest bill, which becomes law after its passage in the New Hampshire legislature.

The NHTOA secures a grant from NLA to coordinate a workshop titled, “Silviculture Education for Professional Timber Harvesters.”

From 1989 through 1993, the association advocates on behalf of North Country land management and rural economic issues through the multi-state Northern Forest Lands Study.

1990

The first statewide Tree Farm Field Day is held Sept. 29, 1990, at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H.

With support from the NHTOA, the Right to Farm and Right to Harvest law is strengthened. For its work on this issue, the NHTOA receives an award from the National Woodland Owners Association.

The New Hampshire legislature approves licensing for professional foresters.

1991

The NHTOA coordinates the Tree Farm Program’s 50th anniversary in New Hampshire.

The association secures seed money to study the feasibility of establishing a New Hampshire Certified Professional Logger Program.

1992

The NHTOA establishes the Forest Industry Insurance Task Force to examine ways to reduce worker’s compensation insurance costs. As a result of a petition by the NHTOA, the National Council on Compensation Institute establishes a mechanized logging code in 1993.

1993

The New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council, which will focus on developing training programs for loggers and truckers, is established. The Council is sponsored by the NHTOA, the UNH Thompson School of Applied Science, and the UNH Cooperative Extension.

The first Loggers and Truckers Convention is held on Oct. 29, 1993.

1994

The NHTOA is part of a coalition that reviews timber harvesting laws and land-use data. The coalition submits its findings to the New Hampshire legislature, which reorganizes and recodifies New Hampshire’s forest practice laws.

The NHTOA promotes voluntary best-management practices to protect water quality during timber harvesting.

1995

Eric Kingsley joins the NHTOA as executive director.

The association provides organizational support for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

The state of New Hampshire releases its first Forest Plan, which addresses state and privately owned forestlands. The NHTOA is a key member of the committee developing the plan.

1996

The NHTOA introduces the Landowner Survival Kit, a notebook containing information about land management and relevant laws and regulations.

The association supports the four-year process to revise the White Mountain National Forest management plan.

The association also supports research on low-grade wood products.

Private landowners in the North Country sign the High Elevation Memorandum of Understanding, which sets voluntary guidelines for the management of forest lands in Coos County higher than 2,700 feet above sea level. The agreement, the first of its kind in northern New England, brings positive national attention.

1997

Several companies in New Hampshire announce voluntary SFI procurement policies.

The New Hampshire Forest Sustainability Standards Work Team releases Good Forestry in the Granite State: Voluntary Forest Management Practices for New Hampshire.

1998

An ice storm in January wreaks havoc on New Hampshire forests, and the NHTOA distributes ice-storm information packets to landowners coping with storm devastation. The association also participates in talks with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New Hampshire Emergency Management Office to develop ways to help landowners with ice-storm damage, and collaborates with the UNH Cooperative Extension to offer Storm Assessment workshops.

The Forest Industry Task Force describes loss of land to development and potential loss of wood-fired power plants as key issues facing New Hampshire’s forest products industry. 

1999

Federal road-building limits curtail management activities in the White Mountain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service releases an updated Forest Inventory and Analysis.

2000

The NHTOA is part of a coalition supporting the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Act.

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tries to classify forestry as a “point source” of potential pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act, the NHTOA and Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire successfully lobby the EPA to use existing state regulations as an alternative for regulating forestry in New Hampshire according to the Clean Water Act.

Jasen Stock joins the NHTOA as executive director.

2001

The association promotes a new law to fund the Department of Resources and Economic Development’s forest rangers and the UNH Cooperative Extension’s county foresters.

The NHTOA established the Granite State Woodland Institute as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt supporting organization. 

2002

The NHTOA moves into new offices in the French Wing of the Forest Society’s Conservation Center in Concord, N.H. The French Wing is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in New England.

2005

The NHTOA updates its Mission and Vision statements. At this time, the association formally expands its purview to include issues relating to public lands.

2007

The association is a lead proponent of New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard law, which assists New Hampshire’s biomass industry.

The NHTOA is part of a coalition supporting the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed changes to the White Mountain National Forest management plan. The plan is approved without appeals, demonstrating cooperation among New Hampshire’s conservation, environmental, and business communities.

2011

The NHTOA celebrates its first 100 years. The association has more than 1,400 members representing land ownership of more than one million acres; a staff of three full-time equivalents; and gross receipts of $427,412.

New Hampshire now owns 168,288 acres in state reservations.