This year the Town Crier joyfully reports many wonderful events under the heading of “preservation
The biggest story has to be a conservation easement
for the Behr Field on Ferncroft Road! Green Mountain
Conservation Group negotiated this deal, which also
includes the Behr Farm in the heart of Tamworth
Village and the Butcher land in Whiteface Intervale.
For all the details from GMCG, see the special
message to the WPA by Peter Pohl elsewhere in this
issue of The Irregular.
WPA Board Member Gretchen Behr-Svendsen has
been traveling in the Southern Mountains, so Karl
Behr stood in for her at the June WPA Board meeting.
Karl described the project, and gave us a glimpse of its
complexity. Karl also explained that the easement
protects this land forever against development. Like
the Helen Steele Farm/GMCG easement, the Behr
easement does not stipulate that the field be kept
open. WPA members should have little to worry about
in this regard however, as the Behrs’ commitment to
that field has been demonstrated again and again
every mowing season for two generations.
Ian & Janet Cooke are in the process of making an
extremely generous donation of about 90 acres of
environmentally, aesthetically and recreationally
important land to the White Mountain National Forest.
This land lies south of the Wonalancet River and west
of the new bridge that joins the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff
and the Dicey Mill Trail. The lovely valley the Cutoff
trail passes through lies largely in this tract.
Since Federal acquisition of hundreds of tracts of
private land to create the eastern National Forests
began in 1911 under the Weeks Act, the legal
procedures have been designed to produce an airtight
result. This assures that the ownership of the National
Forests by the people is inviolable. Unfortunately for the Cookes, who simply wanted to make a
straightforward donation, the process, now nearing completion (let us hope!), has gone on for two years,
requiring site visits from WMNF land experts, a survey, mapping, submission of the subdivision for
approval by the Sandwich Planning Board, examination of the land for toxic wastes, et cetera, et cetera.
Through all of this the Cookes have kept their eyes on the prize: conservation. Ian Cooke writes: “Our
consideration in making the donation is to have the parcel added to Wilderness. Since land on three sides
has already become wilderness, we have been encouraged to believe that it will be treated as wilderness,
but it requires an act of congress to make this official.”
“Red Fox 4" by Andrew Thompson
Once again, Andy has generously lent The Irregular
one of his exquisite wildlife photos.
See this image in full color and much more at
Ruth Moscovitch and Vinton Thompson have purchased Nancy Stearns’s home and lands north of the
Wonalancet River. This is the Bradbury Jewell House, the only property in Wonalancet on the National
Register. When, after much thought, Nancy decided to sell her home, her primary goal was to find worthy
buyers who would cherish the same historical, aesthetic and environmental values that she – and her
parents before her, Red and Charlotte Smalley – put into the restoration and preservation of the property.
Ruth and Vinton have been summer visitors to Wonalancet for years. Ruth for thirty years, and Vinton,
whose uncle and aunt are Stan and Nancy Coville, for over fifty years. Vinton is an entomologist and
president of Metropolitan College of New York. Ruth is a labor lawyer with an interest in mediation. They
live in Manhattan but travel widely and will, of course, soon be spending much more time in Wonalancet.
Unfortunately, Ruth and Vinton are not available for comment right now, as they are in Borneo collecting
spittlebugs – the objects of Vinton’s professional work.
The Wonalancet community will be relieved to learn that we will not lose Nancy in this process. She will
be moving only a few hundred feet, to a new home appropriately scaled for earth-friendly living. Nancy
writes:I think it's safe to say that by the time The Irregular goes out, ground will have been broken on my
ridge. We were indeed in the design phase for months. Thank heavens we're there now, and
groundbreaking is scheduled for this upcoming week. Yes, it is a small environmental footprint - active
and passive solar for electricity and heat, backed up for the latter only by a small woodstove. The
fabulous southern exposure, plus R-30 insulation, makes this a very tight little place. I have deliberated
long over a fireplace, and finally let it go -- full of ambience but no rationality for energy-conscious design.
The house will look like a little barn – and will be quite rustic inside, partially post and beam. I'm so
Doug McVicar would like the neighbors to know that we are now a step closer to the ideal of living in
Wonalancet while eating like Parisians. Locally baked bread from the Sunnyfield Brick Oven Bakery can
now be delivered fresh to your door. Every week you get a choice of several different types of bread; the
bread is gastronomically and scientifically interesting because it is made with local sourdough cultures,
rather than commercial yeast. Bob Streeter’s yogurt is some of the best-tasting yogurt I have eaten since I
was a kid.
Besides serving up better eating, the local food movement benefits the environment. Here are specifics
from Jack Waldron: “Last Fall we began delivering Peg Loughran's Brick Oven Bread and Bob Streeter's
Raw Milk and Yogurt to Wonalancet homes every Wednesday afternoon. People sign up for Peg's
Breadshare program and/or Bob's monthly milk programs. Our motivation was to reduce the carbon
footprint associated with everyone driving to Peg's and Bob's. The current route stretches from the Albee's
in the east to the Read's in the west. If you would like sign up call Peg (323-2368), Bob (323-2392), or
Jack Waldron (323-8913). Peg and Bob also sell their food products at the Tamworth Farmer's Market
every Saturday morning.”
The only negative story we have to report in this issue involves our fading hopes of soon having
broadband Internet access throughout Wonalancet. Last year we submitted information to FairPoint
Communications that we hoped would give Wonalancet a favorable priority on the company’s schedule to
expand broadband incrementally throughout rural New England. Now with FairPoint teetering on the
brink of bankruptcy and struggling to maintain basic services, there is little hope for this project in the
foreseeable future. [see Concord Monitor 18 July 2009]
Special Message to the WPA from Peter Pohl of GMCG
Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG) has initiated a land protection project involving three parcels
of prime agricultural land. These parcels include the 93 acre Butcher/Nesbitt Whiteface Intervale property
in Sandwich, the 22 acre field and 11 acre tract of forest land bordering Ferncroft Road in Wonalancet
owned by the Behr Family and the 40 acre Behr Farm in Tamworth Village. The protection of these parcels
has been made possible through the Federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program as well as generous
donations by a number of donors. GMCG is in the final phase of the fund raising campaign to complete
this project. Approximately $40,000 needs to be raised to cover legal costs, fund raising expenses and other
costs associated with GMCG's efforts to make this project happen.
Cash contributions may be sent to: Green Mountain Conservation Group
c/o Jonathan Taylor
P.O. Box 117
North Sandwich, N.H. 03259
Make donations of marketable securities by contacting Jonathan Taylor at (603) 284-6617. Your
financial support will ensure the protection of these key tracts of land that will help to maintain the rural
character of these special places. For further information about this project you can contact:
Peter W. Pohl Scott Aspinall
(603) 284-6666 cell: (603) 651-7063 Home: 323-8267
The WPA Database
With their dues notices this year members received a printout of their information from the WPA
database. In this anxious age of ever-increasing security fears, members may legitimately wonder how it
serves the preservation activities of WPA to keep this information. We use the contact information to keep
members – and non-members interested in this area – informed about WPA activities. The property-
related information, which is drawn from public records kept by Sandwich, Albany and Tamworth, is
essential to measuring our progress and building our map of protected land in the Wonalancet area. It
also enables the Board to respond to preservation opportunities and other situations, and to get in touch
with landowners who may be affected. So please correct your printout and send it back. If you know
someone who might be interested in receiving our newsletters, just let us know. Thank you.
– Doug McVicar.
Wonalancet Preservation Association Annual Meeting
Sunday, August 9 at the Wonalancet Chapel
Community potluck supper in the grove starting at 5:30 PM.
We move inside at 7 PM for the Annual Meeting.
The NH Historical Society has received a large collection of Arthur
Walden/Chinook memorabilia from a kennel owner in Maine. This
prompted the Society to make a place in the Museum of NH History
for an ongoing display, which includes photos, a Chinook Kennels
poster, an Ed Moody Dogsled, and Chinook’s harness from the 1928
Byrd Antarctic Expedition. The museum in Concord is open all day
Tuesday – Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. While youre there you
can spin through 400 years of New Hampshire history – and pick up
a “historical” Chinook bobblehead in the gift shop!
Learn more at
700 years of Bylaws
From the American Heritage Dictionary: A casual glance at the word bylaw might make one think that the element
by- means “secondary, subsidiary,” especially since bylaw can mean “a secondary law.” It is possible that by-,
as in byway, has influenced bylaw in the sense “secondary law”; however, bylaw existed long before the sense
in question. The word is first recorded in 1283 with the meaning “a body of customs or regulations, as of a
village, manor, religious organization, or sect.By- in this word comes from Old Norse, as may the word bylaw,
and is related to if not identical with the element -by in the names of many places, such as Whitby, where
Scandinavians settled when they invaded England during the early Middle Ages. We get the sense of this -by if
we compare the related word, entered as byr in the standard dictionary of Old Icelandic, meaning “a town or
village” in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and “a farm or landed estate” in Iceland.
Proposed New WPA Bylaws to be Presented
Why WPA?
Of course, all of us will have our own answer to this question, but Alexis de Tocqueville had an interesting
thought. He wrote in Democracy in America (1840): “Citizens who are bound to take part in public affairs must
turn from the private interests and occasionally take a look at something other than themselves. As soon as
common affairs are treated in common, each man notices that he is not as independent of his fellows as he
used to supposed and that to get their help he must often offer his aid to them.”
Why Bylaws?
The bylaws of an organization are its skeleton, the administrative difference between a race horse and a
Why New?
The 1996 Bylaws served us well for more than decade. During that time new requirements under both federal
and New Hampshire law came to our attention. For example, the Association needs to have a policy to protect
against conflicts of interest in decisions made by the Directors. Best practices require us to have a liability
statement protecting the Directors, more complete descriptions of the powers and responsibilities of Officers,
and an annual audit of our financial records. (Note that this audit does not have to be a high cost professional
job – the new Bylaws are written to allow members to perform the audit.)
A bit of clean-up was needed in a few areas. For example, our 1973 Articles of Agreement and our 1996 Bylaws
differ on the purposes of the Association. The two were never in direct conflict, but the Bylaws stress
environmental conservation, whereas the Articles of Agreement lean towards a community and civic mission.
This probably reflects an increase in environmental awareness during the period from 1973 until 1996. The
proposed new Bylaws reconcile the two by covering all the purposes from both prior documents, but speak
especially to environmental conservation.
To undertake the Bylaws update, as well as a general review of our legal situation, the Board hired Brad Cook,
a Manchester attorney specializing in New Hampshire and Federal nonprofit law. WPA Treasurer John Waite
and I met with Attorney Cook to go over club documents and present a list of questions. We were pleased to
find Attorney Cook as practical as he was knowledgeable. We were even more pleased to discover that he has
an active interest in conservation and is a member of a small association like WPA which is dedicated to
protecting the local environment.
Attorney Cook describes the new Bylaws like this: “I think [they] incorporate the provisions of existing bylaws,
expand the purposes a bit, and include needed legal stuff.” About half of the language in the 1996 Bylaws is
retained in the new Bylaws. Much more material – a lot of necessary legal boilerplate – has been added. The
Associations original shape and purpose remain the same. There are a few small improvements in our way of
doing business – but members will likely not notice that anything has changed.
The final draft, including a few changes made by the Board and vetted by Atty Cook, is now posted on the WPA
website, (Go to the “Governing Documents” page and click on the yellow links.) I have also
posted a color-coded key to new material, and old material removed and retained, with an index relating
sections in the 1996 Bylaws to the new Bylaws. We will be voting on the new Bylaws at annual meeting,
Sunday the 9 of August. Remember that the draft is only a draft – it can be amended by a majority of the
– Doug McVicar
membership at annual meeting.