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Your Voice: Casey Road subdivision needs to hear Milton voters

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Nature and conservation enthusiasts on a recent walk on Casey Road property. (MMRG photo)

The Milton Conservation Commission is asking for town support of Article 16 on the Town Warrant to raise and appropriate $5,000 for the Casey Road Conservation Land easement project. Approval of Article 16 will come close to raising the final funds needed to complete a conservation easement on this 79-acre town-owned parcel. The easement will protect the land from development, guarantee public access for recreation, help protect water quality in Lyman Brook, and preserve forest upland and wetland habitats for wildlife, forever.

In 2016 and 2018, the Town voted to conserve each of the two abutting parcels that are now merged to make up the Casey Road Conservation Land. The Casey Road Land Protection Committee (CRLPC), a sub-committee of the MCC, is advising the Select Board and working with local land trust Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) to place a conservation easement on the land, to protect it from development, forever. As landowner, the Town of Milton will determine the allowed uses of the property, subject to the terms of the easement. MMRG will be the easement holder and responsible for monitoring the property to ensure that the easement is respected.

The CRLPC recently reported great strides made on the project during 2018, including cleanup, trail improvements, and fundraising to get the conservation easement in place. At the Feb 9 Milton Deliberative Session, CRLPC member Virginia Long introduced the Warrant Article and provided an update on the excellent fundraising progress to date. Although the Town's application for a NH Conservation Committee 'Moose Plate' grant was denied, private fundraising for the project has raised over $17,000 from seventy generous individuals and businesses, the MCC pledged $20,000 from its Conservation Fund, and MMRG recently pledged $5,500. If Warrant Article 16 passes, the additional $5,000 means that the fundraising goal of approximately $48,000 will be very nearly achieved. Long also reminded the gathering of the wonderful recreational opportunities on this property, evident in the popularity of the 2017 Trail Party and recent Dog Walk held there.

Long-time Milton resident Janice Long spoke up in support of the Article at the Deliberative Session, asserting that the Casey Road Conservation Land would be an asset to the Town as a tourist attraction. "People always want to know where there are walking trails," she noted.

In addition to asking Milton residents to come out and vote for Warrant Article 16 at the Town election on March 12, the CRLPC is still seeking private donations to help bring the fundraising across the finish line. Tax deductible contributions to the project may be to MMRG by check mailed to MMRG, PO Box 191, Union, NH 03887 or online at www.mmrg.info/donate (scroll down to select the Casey Road Campaign).

The Milton Conservation Commission's mission is to fulfill the mandates of RSA 36-A and the conservation goals in the Milton Master Plan, which it works to accomplish through conservation projects to protect Milton's water resources, forestlands, wildlife habitat, productive farmland, and recreational areas. Additional benefits are the preservation of Milton's scenic beauty and rural character, supporting NH's vibrant tourism industry and safeguarding the water quality of Milton Three Ponds and the town wells. This natural resource protection has long term benefit to Milton's economy.

Virginia Long is a volunteer member of the Casey Road Land protection Committee and alternate on the Milton Conservation Commission.

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