The Quabbin to Cardigan (Q2C) region encompasses more than 3,000 square miles in the Monadnock Highlands of central Massachusetts and western
New Hampshire . Thanks to a long history of farsighted private and public land protection and stewardship, the region contains one of the largest remaining areas of intact contiguous forest in central
New England . Mountain peaks, farms, and a network of small cities and towns punctuate the area’s extensive forests. The region is the watershed boundary between the Connecticut and
Merrimack River valleys, making its still-pristine rivers and streams an important source water area for both basins. The
Highlands provide habitat for many species of migratory birds and wide-ranging wildlife—animals that are in decline elsewhere in New England due to habitat fragmentation. The area’s forests also form the basis of a vibrant tourism, recreation and forest products economy, and provide a unique quality of life for residents.
Today an unprecedented combination of factors—ownership turnover of private forest land, growing subdivision and development pressure, and sharply rising land values—threaten the future of the region’s forested landscape and way of life. The members of the Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative have come together in the shared belief that a carefully focused, well coordinated effort must begin now to protect the region’s forested landscape. Combining the resources and expertise of the region’s public and private conservation actors in a coordinated effort, the Collaborative is working to conserve large unfragmented forest blocks while they are still in relatively large ownerships, and secure links between new and existing conservation lands to form a continuous corridor of conservation and working forest land. In keeping with the region’s traditions, land is being conserved strictly on a willing-seller/donor basis through a combination of conservation easements and fee acquisitions, and managed by private owners, conservation organizations and public agencies.
Membership in the Q2C Collaborative is voluntary, and has to date been funded soley from private sources and in-kind contributions from member groups. The full Collaborative meets quarterly, and an informal executive committee coordinates on an ongoing basis. Organizational coordination and GIS mapping services are provided by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a state-wide land conservation non-profit organization.