Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Storm Over Lupine

We the People
Re-defining Bi-Partisan in the Post-Trump Era

My morning ramble in the valley between Rattlesnake Ridge and the Waterville Range today was a troubling cascade of thoughts and revelations.

In the first month, following the election of a new president, it felt as if we had turned a corner. Of course, we knew that there would be some post-Trump hangover but the almost immediate sense of a pending return to normalcy gave us a false sense of security.

Today it is all beginning to feel like the calm before the storm.

I, like many others, had hoped that Joe Biden’s election would empower the saner minds among elected Republican leaders to quickly return to some level of normal. The events leading up to and following January 6, 2021 quickly demonstrated that was not to be.

Remembering that the JFK library gave an annual “Profiles in Courage Award” I took a quick look at their website this morning and noted - with some satisfaction - that they had given it recently to Mitt Romney. I’m hoping that Liz Cheney will be added to that list soon. But the number of elected Republican leaders who have stepped forward to attempt to right our ship of state has been thoroughly discouraging and reflects not only the level of fear of Donald Trump among Republican elected officials but also a growing disconnect between the people of this country and their elected officials in both parties.

Now I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to politics. I’ve been there and endured the slings and arrows from both my own party and those of the other, especially when elected “leaders” see an opportunity to take advantage of a perceived weakness in the other party, this despite the fact that - at least until recently - 95% of the work that actually takes place legislatively at every level is generally without any hint of partisanship at all. However, until now even that final 5% usually represented genuine, honest disagreement, more commonly over means not ends. Republicans and Democrats saw one another as the “loyal opposition” not the enemy.

All this has not happened overnight of course and Donald Trump is more a symptom of a growing problem than a cause, though he has unquestionably driven it into hyperdrive. The roots really reach back to 1994 with the election featuring Newt Gingrich and his brainchild “The Contract with America”. The document itself was not the problem, though there was plenty in it that many found disagreeable. It was the philosophy and the spirit behind it that began this spiral. Gingrich urged his partisans to use language, not only in their campaign rhetoric but beyond that in their day-to-day interactions with members of the media and especially with members of the opposite party that abandoned the great American notion that we were all in this together. In effect, that the process for moving the country forward, toward “a more perfect union” should be abandoned for an “us versus them” brand of politics.

Hearkening back even further Benjamin Franklin’s admonition, back in those turbulent days of the late 1770s and the 1780s, that we must “all hang together” for the good of the republic - the very notion that brought together a group of Founders with exceedingly different views of the future around the bold experiment that we now refer to as America, has been abandoned by the elected representatives of one party for a Neo-French revolution intended to eliminate the opposition rather than to collaborate with them to find common ground.

American politics has always been a messy business, but with some notable exceptions that messy business has been conducted around what Jefferson called “the marketplace of ideas”; what Lincoln referred to as the “battle of ballots not bullets”.

Sharp differences have always characterized that process, made possible by the most sacrosanct amendment to our constitution, the First.

Even in the best of times there has been a small minority of people who embrace the extremes and excesses of the poles of the political spectrum, while the majority of the people see, or come to see, the benefits of hard-earned and, for many, all-too-gradual movement toward that more perfect union.

Most of us can sense that a new world is emerging - pregnant with possibility and fraught with peril.

We can, with little hesitation, name those perils: climate change, ending the pandemic and restoring the American and world economies; ending a 50 year slide into an income disparity that has shrunken the middle class, existentially imperils the working class and poor and threatens to permanently unravel the American vision of opportunity for all;
Chocorua Pond Impressions

The international perils, beginning with China and Russia and spiraling down to a host of countries that are moving ever deeper into the morass of totalitarian governance, are unlikely to follow our lead into the future if there is no sense that the United States has its own act together enough to set the standard.

This will not happen as long as the question remains whether the US is committed to Republican Democracy, the rule of law, and the fundamental imperative that all government’s power is derived from the people. As James Madison wrote so eloquently in this - at the time - radical statement:

"All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution." - James Madison

Maple Ablaze at Sunset - Stinson Mountain

The rise of Trumpism - and particularly the allegiance to this aberration among elected Republican representatives, even after the events of January 6, 2021 - presents the greatest domestic threat to the continuation of our Republic ever - and consequently to world order. Even the Civil War presented less of a threat because, albeit simplistically, an adverse outcome would have simply divided the country in two, leaving the Union’s allegiance to Democratic Republicanism intact.

The threat of Trumpism is an existential threat to Democracy that could ultimately destroy the Republic if not checked. Yet, it has become abundantly clear that it will not be checked by the majority of Republicans currently holding elected office. It has also become clear that we are locked in a battle for our Democracy that will not be quick or easy if we are to succeed.

Ironically, one election cycle could bring about the success of the autocrats, resurrecting their anti-democratic agenda and perhaps ending the grand American experiment permanently - or for many generations. History and experience demonstrate that - as painful as it may be to fight to maintain freedom and democracy - it is much harder to resurrect it once the autocrats have gained the upper hand. The cost in lives and treasure from the Second World War alone provide ample evidence of that.

It’s up to us now.

Milkweed Whisper

If polling shows us anything today it is that the vast majority of Americans support many of the initiatives proposed by the Biden administration - even those who are Republicans and Independents. Beyond that, and more importantly, they oppose a return to the chaos and authoritarianism represented by Trumpism.

Mitch McConnell may have declared that the “era of bi-partisanship is over”, but not among the people of our country. In fact, bi-partisanship is flourishing among the sovereign - “we the people”. The rise of non-partisan and bi-partisan organizations during the past three years is a dramatic testament to that: The Lincoln Project, Braver Angels, No Labels,, just to name a few, are demonstrating that the American people are exercising their sovereignty and constantly seeking ways to move beyond the chaos of the last few years.

In the wake of this wave of change, a new definition of the term bi-partisan has begun to emerge. One that will either drag the Republican Party leadership - kicking and screaming - into the future or signal the beginning of the end of the Grand Old Party. Driven by organizations like these, as well as more informal and heterodox groups of citizens. The intent of these organizations is to reinvigorate the sovereignty of “we the people”.

Much of that activity has grown from the connectedness created by technology. For all of ills we bemoan in our deeply connected world the opportunity to re-establish “we the people” as the ultimate arbiter of the aims of governance has broadly redefined Jefferson’s marketplace of ideas. When, ultimately, connected to Democratic ideals, ideas and initiatives like statewide initiative and referendum petitions, ranked-choice voting and reforms focused on the elimination of partisan gerrymandering and expanded voting rights, those who are intent on denying the rights of citizens to exercise their control over the aims of government can be overcome.
Hellebore Passion

A two-party system is not enshrined in the constitution. In fact, neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party can claim any franchise within our constitutional system, except that which history has - in its vagaries - created.

A multiparty system may be the outcome of this re-emergence of the sovereignty of the people or the Republican party (or even the Democrats) may go the way of the Whigs. There would be no great loss from these possible outcomes because a better and stronger, more democratic system would most likely emerge.

The simple, yet challenging, task before us is to reclaim our Republic one citizen at a time. Listening to one another, respecting our differences yet seeking common ground wherever possible; and using our vote to ensure that those who represent us still believe in the dream our founders - in all their glory and failings - designed and countless Americans since them have struggled to make “more perfect”.

We the people must push the boulder of hope we call America back to the top of the hill again.

"Our Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world. As you grow older, you will have the right under the Constitution to vote, to serve on juries, to run for political office and to participate in government in other ways. So get ready: Study the Constitution. Remember, the Framers designed the Constitution for you -- but you have to make it work."

~ Chief Justice John Roberts

About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three-term State Senator, and 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor; he is the former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now a columnist for the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism ( where he writes “The View from Rattlesnake Ridge” and hosts two Podcasts: The Radical Centrist ( and NH Secrets, Legends & Lore ( His art ( is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published four books of his images and a novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline - all available on His art website is: , and his writing site: . He now lives in Thornton, New Hampshire at the base of Welch Mountain where he proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags.

Learning by Heart - Tony Wagner EP 26

Learning by Heart - Tony Wagner 

Tony Wagner, Ed.D.
Senior Research Fellow, Learning Policy Institute

Listen to the Podcast

From the deck of the home that Tony and PJ Wagner share on the shores of Squam Lake in New Hampshire you can hear the Loons calling at night. The long lonely call of a Loon is a haunting and beautiful metaphor for the life that Tony has lived as he has developed an educational philosophy and framework. Lonely because Tony has surely felt alone at times as he has navigated the change-averse educational establishment attempting to map out a vision of what a 21st Century education should look like; long because his ideas, musings, and theories will surely continue to echo well into the future.

Tony Wagner's life might be seen as a Zelig-like experience of the last 50 years. He has found himself at focal points of our cultural development and some of the most interesting and important institutions as he has developed an educational philosophy that seeks to reflect both the ways in which people learn as well as the world in which they are learning.

In his body of work, both experientially and for the record in his books, Wagner carries on the great tradition of experimentation, reflection and revelation that characterized his own heroes: Piaget, John Holt, Dewey, with whom he stands shoulder to shoulder. He challenges the sacred cows and cuts deeply into the myths that have created school systems in America and the world that remain mired in the past as he seeks to create 21st century learners and their mentors.

Tony Wagner is an eminent education specialist: he has taught at every grade level from high school through graduate school; worked at Harvard; done significant work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and speaks across the country and all over the world.

The author of 7 books (so far!) Tony's latest book "Learning by Heart" is a memoir of his life and journey toward the development of a 21st-century educational philosophy.


Learning by Heart

Other books by Tony Wagner

Creating Innovators

Thunder Over the Mountains - The Fight to Stop Northern Pass

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

In Celebration of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

In Celebration of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Pioneers of Crowd Funding & Conservation

Deep in a Dorchester Woods

Links from this Podcast:
Free Joseph Website:
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests:

The Society for the Protection of NH Forests has pioneered conservation innovations since their founding in 1901.

Including A Podcast Conversation with Jack Savage, President SPNHF

I stood today on the summit of Welch Mountain and looked into the Sandwich Range accessed largely along the “Road Through Sandwich Notch” of which Elizabeth Yates wrote more than a century ago although she is best known for her book Amos Fortune- Free Man.

At one time the town of Sandwich, to which the Notch Road is now the backcountry gateway, was a provincial capital of New Hampshire. All along this road are the stone walls, cellar holes, and other signs of a day when the population of Sandwich was considerably larger.

The Notch Road into Sandwich is a beautiful backroad trip today, passing by Beede Falls, Cow Cave and Pulpit Rock where in the 1800s townsfolk would gather at the base of this huge Glacial Bounder and listen to the local preacher as he stood atop the rock delivering his sermon.

Sandwich Notch might have been developed over the years except for the good works of a number of local folks and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Yet Sandwich Notch is only one of the Notches that the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has saved through the good works and generosity of thousands of members and friends. You may already know oftheir good works. but did you know that they led the way to making crowdfunding a “thing”?

Now it can be argued that "crowdfunding" is nothing new.

My Iroquois ancestors gathered together to help one another build their longhouses even before the Peacemaker and Hiawatha brought the Great Law to them more than 500 years ago. Early European settlers joined with one another to build barns or homes. However, there is no question that among the earliest efforts by nonprofit groups was the effort in the 1920s to save Franconia Notch through - among other things - the sale of "deeds" to a square foot of the Notch or the "purchase" of a tree, allowing thousands of people from across the nation to get involved with conservation efforts.

In just 120 years the Society has been at the forefront of change that has rippled out from the social and political boundaries of New Hampshire to the nation. Their founding effort to help pass the Weeks act not only resulted in the White Mountain National Forest but spread the National Forest fever across the continent.

There are very few organizations with which I share such a common kinship. So many of their efforts, focused on the lands and the people I am closest to, have become touchstones in my own life. The rallying point of their formation - the fight to save the forests of the White Mountains, and to protect the water resources, eventually led to adoption of the Weeks Act and the establishment of the National Forest in Congress. Their opposition to building a 4 lane super-highway through Franconia Notch resulted in the only scenic parkway of the Interstate highway system. The protection of Crawford Notch, Sandwich Notch, Lost River and the prevention of a ridgeline drive across the Presidential Range too were achieved with their leadership.

These epic battles were among the tales I would tell as I guided trail clearing, hiking and backpacking trips in the Whites in my early adult life. Even earlier they were the topics of dinner conversations around the family table at my home as a young boy.

Listening to my grandmother describe how she felt when she donated a hard-earned $10.00 to buy one square foot of tallis slope on the side of Cannon Mountain to protect Franconia Notch made me feel that I was part of a grand tradition here. I watched with admiration as my Mom and Dad helped lead the efforts to clean up the Pemigewasset River with other remarkable people like Pat & Tom Schlesinger of New Hampton, Syd and Olivia Howe, Dr. Larry Spencer at Plymouth State.

Later in my own home, around that same family table, my Senate office team would strategize ways to carry on that tradition: rebuilding the historic Smith Covered Bridge after it was burned by an arsonist, sponsoring the NH River's Protection Act, the Land Conservation and Investment Program, and conserving Livermore Falls.

The Forest Society served as inspiration for all of this, over the years developing a conservation ethic part John Muir - the preservationist - and part Gifford Pinchot - the architect of "wise use".

To some, it appeared that they were taking the safer, more moderate route to their destination. No one ever accused the Forest Society of being wild-eyed environmentalists; but to the great grandson of an Iroquois man and an Abenaki woman it seemed (and still seems) right . . . a part of the Circle; where people are neither beneath or above but an integral part of the whole.

When you venture out this summer - especially if you do so here in New Hampshire - say a quiet thanks to the generations of people who have helped to build the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Because of them the White Mountain National Forest, Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, Sandwich Notch and other sacred places of these white hills will forever be wild and free.

About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three-term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor; he is the former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now a columnist for the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism ( where he writes “The View from Rattlesnake Ridge” and hosts two Podcasts: The Radical Centrist ( and NH Secrets, Legends and Lore ( His art ( is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline - all available on His art website is: , and his writing site: . He now lives in Thornton, New Hampshire at the base of Welch Mountain where he proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags.

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Jack Savage is President of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. He was appointed as the Forest Society’s fifth President in September 2019. Previously the Vice President of Communications/Outreach at the Forest Society for 14 years, he has been a key contributor to many of the Forest Society’s successes over the last decade. He has guided the organization’s evolving use of digital media to accomplish its land protection and advocacy goals, and overseen the expansion of its education and volunteer programs.

Savage’s family has roots in the forest products industry — they owned the Charleston Lumber Company in Charleston, W.V. in the 20th century. He and his wife, Cheryl, now make their home in a historic farmhouse in Middleton, NH, where they have lived with their dogs and horses since 1993.

As a writer and publisher, Savage has had broad experience in newspapers, magazines, and book publishing. He is a former editor of NH Profiles magazine, publisher of NH Seacoast Sunday newspaper, and operator of his own company, Carriage House Publishing. Savage is also a founding board member and past president of the New Hampshire Writers Project.

A certified Tree Farmer, Savage is active in his community, serving for the last 12 years as town moderator and formerly as selectman, chair of the Planning Board, and chair of the ZBA. As a volunteer and member of the regional conservation group Moose Mountains Regional Greenways, Savage helped facilitate the Forest Society’s conservation of more than 2,000 acres in the Moose Mountains range.

Franconia Notch Documentary
Franconia Notch Documentary

Geology of Franconia Notch
Geology of Franconia Notch

Forest Society History
Protecting New Hampshire's landscapes since 1901

Forestry pioneers gathered on Mount Carrigain in 1919 to study five-year old slash. From left: Henry S. Graves, chief of the U.S. Forest Service and Society leader; J.J. Fritz, forest supervisor; Franklin Reed, district forester; Philip Ayres, Society forester; Allen Chamberlain, journalist and later to become president of the Appalachian Mountain Club; and C.B. Schiffer, district ranger. (Photo: USFS archives)


Eight concerned citizens form the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Their mission: to protect the White Mountains, which are rapidly being clear-cut.


Mission Statement adopted: "The Society is a forestry association seeking to perpetuate the forests of New Hampshire through their wise use and their complete reservation in places of special scenic beauty."


The Forest Society urges the state of New Hampshire to buy Crawford Notch. It does three years later.


As a result of Forest Society urging, the state of New Hampshire appoints a state forester, and passes its first forest fire prevention laws.


The Weeks Act is passed by Congress, after intense lobbying by the Forest Society and other conservation groups, leading to the establishment of the White Mountain National Forest.

The Forest Society buys 656 acres on Mount Sunapee to save it from being clear-cut.


The Forest Society buys 148 acres around Lost River Gorge.


The Forest Society acquires title to 600 acres on Mount Monadnock, beginning a process that ends up protecting more than 4,000 acres on the landmark mountain.


The Forest Society begins work to acquire 1,500 acres on Mount Kearsarge.


The Forest Society releases two breeding pairs of Minnesota beavers at Lost River. Prior to this, beaver had been extinct in New Hampshire for 30 years.


The Forest Society leads a campaign to purchase 6,000 acres in Franconia Notch, including the Old Man of the Mountain, the Flume, the Basin, and two mountain lakes.

The Flume at Franconia Notch


The Forest Society helps the state to buy Franconia Notch. The Forest Society retains ownership of 913 acres, including the Flume, and runs the park for 20 years until 1947.


The Forest Society opens its first annual Nature Camp at Lost River. 90 years later, the Forest Society is still teaching people about the wonders of forests.


The Forest Society helps defeat a proposal to build a "skyline drive" across the Presidential Range.


The Forest Society begins publication of its magazine, Forest Notes, which is still published today.


The Forest Society helps protect land surrounding Echo Lake and White Horse Ledge in North Conway.


The state passes a constitutional amendment to end the annual taxation of growing timber — a victory the Forest Society had fought for since 1901.


The Forest Society helps form the New England Forestry Foundation to promote better forest practices.


The Forest Society transfers its 1,116 acres on Mount Sunapee to the state of New Hampshire.


The Forest Society brings the Tree Farm program to the state, which encourages landowners to manage their woodlands for the long term.


The Forest Society gives its final 520 acres on Mount Kearsarge to the state for the Frank Rollins Memorial Park, honoring the Forest Society's first president.


The Forest Society opposes a super highway through Franconia Notch.


Mr. & Mrs. Clarence L. Hay give the Forest Society 675 acres of woodland on Lake Sunapee.

Hay Reservation


The Forest Society stops a plan to floodlight the Old Man of the Mountains.

Working with the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, and the state Fish & Game department, the Forest Society purchases land in the Hampton Salt Marshes to thwart a major development project.


The Forest Society leads the way on legislation that creates town conservation commissions.


Thirty-eight towns now have conservation commissions (by 2014 there will be 216 commissions).


Plans for a nuclear power plant at Seabrook spur the Forest Society to lobby for extensive review of all major power installations.


The federal government withdraws its plans for a tunnel and four-lane highway through Franconia Notch.

The Forest Society forms an interstate coalition to fight a proposed east-west superhighway across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The Forest Society opens an EcoCenter at Mount Monadnock to teach the 75,000 annual visitors about the mountain's ecology.


The Forest Society negotiates its first conservation easement, which allows landowners to keep their land while preventing future development.


The Forest Society begins a campaign to protect Sandwich Notch — the last unprotected notch in the state.


After years of debate, the legislature enacts Current Use taxation, allowing millions of acres of land to remain as open space. A plan for a smaller parkway through Franconia Notch wins Forest Society support.


The Forest Society purchases 726 acres on Gap Mountain. The next year, Mrs. Francis Fiske donates the south peak to the organization.

The Forest Society owns 7,189 acres in the state.

Gap Mountain


The Forest Society celebrates the re-opening of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, first laid out by Forest Society President Phil Ayres in 1925.


Groundbreaking for the Forest Society's new headquarters begins. The award-winning Conservation Center gets over 80% of its heat from the sun and is an appropriate symbol of the organization's commitment to renewable resource use.


The Forest Society works to get a bottle bill passed in the state, but it fails by one vote.


The Forest Society helps raise awareness about the impacts of acid rain on New England's forests, laying the groundwork for important amendments to the Clean Air Act.


The Wilderness Act passes the US Congress, designating 77,000 acres in the White Mountain National Forest as wilderness. Forest Society President Paul Bofinger chaired the committee that reached consensus on the bill.

The Forest Society owns 16,184 acres in the state.


The Forest Society starts the Trust for New Hampshire Lands/Land Conservation Investment Program, a public-private six-year partnership that would protect more than 100,000 new acres in the state.


A 10-year management plan is approved for the White Mountain National Forest. The Forest Society played a lead role in helping finalize the plan.


The Forest Society, the state, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Forest Service help save 40,000-acre Nash Stream forest in northern New Hampshire.


The Forest Society serves on the Northern Forest Lands Council to find ways to sustain the four-state, 26-million acre forest and its people.


The Forest Society creates the New Hampshire Conservation Institute to enhance and streamline its education and research efforts.

The Forest Society produces its award-winning Guide to Logging Aesthetics and a companion video to promote low-impact forestry without high impact costs.


Forest Society reservations add up to 24,584 acres.


The Forest Society creates its Living Landscape Agenda, a two-pronged plan to save special places and take care of land into the next century.


The Forest Society acquires its 100th reservation - the High Watch Preserve in Effingham and Freedom.

High Watch Preserve. Photo Credit Jeff Sluder


The Forest Society becomes the first private landowner in New Hampshire to have its land green-certified by SmartWood.


The Forest Society celebrates its 100th anniversary — a century of outstanding accomplishments in the conservation and reservation of New Hampshire's forests.


The Forest Society and the Museum of New Hampshire History launch a joint-project entitled Claiming the Land: Our Past, Our Future, Our Choice.

The New Hampshire House and Senate pass legislation regarding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The bill sets a policy for new ATV trails on state land and increases registration fees with revenue directed to enforcement, education, and trail acquisition. The Forest Society lent strong support to this bill.

The Forest Society, New Hampshire Public Television, and Cross Current Productions collaborate to produce Livable Landscapes: Chance or Choice , a one-hour documentary about citizens combating sprawl in their communities.


The French Wing addition to the Forest Society's Conservation Center earns national recognition for innovation in "green building" design and construction. The U.S. Green Building Council awards its gold certification to the organization under the rigorous standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

The Forest Society, federal and state officials, and other partner conservation organizations celebrate the permanent protection of 171,000 acres in northern New Hampshire.

The Connecticut Headwaters Project is the largest contiguous block of New Hampshire land in private ownership, comprising roughly three percent of the state.


The Forest Society protects 3892 acres in fiscal year 2007, including 845 acres (10 projects) in forest reservations (land we own, 2,995 acres (27 projects) on which we hold conservation easements, and 52 acres (two projects) that we protected and will be transferred to a third party.

The Forest Society is also pleased to announce permanent LCHIP funding. The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) is an independent state authority that makes grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve New Hampshire’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. Through this grant program every dollar invested brings in significant local, private, federal funds, and helps New Hampshire businesses and traditional business districts.


The Forest Society is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, DC, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs to determine if the applicant meets the national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that conservation efforts are permanent.


On February 13, 2019, a fire at The Rocks destroyed two historic buildings that we used for office space, programming, a gift shop and farm operations. In the wake of this devastating loss, the Forest Society had an opportunity to rethink the vision for this iconic North Country destination and launched a restoration project in 2020.

After nine years of hearings, meetings, and strategy sessions, the NH Supreme Court dealt a death blow to the Northern Pass project by ruling that the Site Evaluation Committee had indeed followed appropriate legal protocol in denying Northern Pass a certificate of site and facility. It was big win for New Hampshire’s landscapes, forests, and communities. Once again New Hampshire citizens stood their ground for the things they hold dear: open spaces unmarred by commercial development, downtowns with scenic charm, communities with a sense of who they are and what they want to be, farms that provide livelihoods for families, and the overwhelming sense that New Hampshire citizens, not some company from away, have the right—even an obligation—to determine their future.


The Forest Society protected the Ammonoosuc River Forest in Bethlehem as its 191st forest reservation.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

EP 25 The Bucket List Life - Kenyon Salo

EP 25 The Bucket List Life - Kenyon Salo

Episode 25
Kenyon Salo
The Bucket List Life

Kenyon Salo is one of the top keynote speakers and trainers in the fields of inspiration, leadership, and adventure.

One of only five members on the Denver Broncos Thunderstorm Skydive Team, he is seen each week during game season flying into the Denver Broncos Stadium at 60+mph, ending with a soft tip-toe landing on the ten yard line. He brings to the stage over 20+ years of successful audience engagement through humor, awe-inspiring moments, prolific storytelling, and ‘edge-of-the seat’ content.

With over 6,000 skydives under his belt and travels that have taken him all around the world, he’s determined to live life to the fullest and help others do the same. Through his passions for adventure, storytelling, and connecting with people, he found a simple process to guide others on a path to what most of us crave – living a more fulfilled life. His goal through his engagements is to deliver a powerful and heart-touching message on the possibility of how amazing life can be through providing actionable steps that will help any audience, both personally and professionally, embark on a path to achieve anything they desire.

Fast Facts:

Master Trainer and Speaker of more than 300,000 people

Trainer for a National Social Media Campaign for Fortune 500 Company

Featured on NFL Films, ESPN, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MTV

NFL Denver Broncos Thunderstorm Skydive Team

Performed Stand-Up Comedy at Denver Comedy Works

Travelled to 49/50 US States and 31+ Countries

Photographer, Adventure Video Creator

6,000+ Skydives

450+ BASE Jumps

2 Amazing Kids

Kenyon’s mission is to give your event the next generation of keynote presentation experiences.

He is a speaker with the elements of a James Bond character; carrying confidence across the stage, paying close attention to detail, dominating technology, dressing to kill and always striving to connect deeply with his audiences. He stays cool under pressure while bringing attendees through an immersive experience of what it means to live a Bucket List Life.

James Bond is one of those heroes that most people can believe in, relate to and truly connect with – He’s an ordinary person who uses his gadgets and creativity to do extraordinary things. Just like 007, Kenyon shares effective tools to empower attendees to walk away from the event feeling ready to take on the world.

This is achieved while keeping the organizers in mind so that they can rest assured knowing that Kenyon will do everything in his power to make their lives as easy as possible, from the moment contact is initiated all the way through high-fiving after a successful event and beyond.

Now that you know all about Kenyon, it’s time to take action and empower your audience to live the life they deserve.

Kenyon Salo - The "James Bond Of Motivational Speaking"

Kenyon Salo delivers high caliber, powerful and heart touching content to each person in the room to help people break through their limitations and live a life ...

Kenyon Salo (@kenyonsalo) • Instagram photos and videos › kenyonsalo

Kenyon Salo. International Keynote Speaker, Denver Broncos Skydiver, World Traveler, Wingsuit Pilot and Experience Seeker.

Kenyon Salo (@kenyonsalo) | Twitter › kenyonsalo

The latest Tweets from Kenyon Salo (@kenyonsalo). The James Bond of Keynote Speeches. Boulder, Colorado USA.

Kenyon Salo - YouTube › channel

Kenyon is one of the top trainers and keynote speakers in Denver, Colorado in his field of adventure, leadership, team building, sales, and motivation. One o...

Kenyon Salo | eSpeakers Marketplace › marketplace › profile › ke...

Kenyon Salo is one of the top trainers, facilitators and keynote speakers in his field of inspiration/motivation, adventure, leadership, team building and sales.

Kenyon Salo | Facebook › kenyonsalo

Kenyon Salo is one of the top trainers, facilitators and keynote speakers in his field of adventure, leadership, team building, sales, inspiration and motivation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Protecting the People and the Planet - Don Kreis is a Big Picture Guy with Eyes on the Prize

Protecting the People and the Planet

Don Kreis is a Big Picture Guy with Eyes on the Prize


If you are one of the many people who find their eyes glazing over when people begin talking about utility law, the Grid, Megawatts, Negawatts and other such terminology you may be tempted to skip listening to this Podcast with NH Public Utility Consumer Advocate Don Kries. DON'T. You will learn more than you expect, be entertained and find yourself feeling that there really is someone in NH government who is looking after both the planet and the average joe both. We are lucky to have Don Kries and you will be very glad to have listened to what he has to say about where we have been, where we are and where we need to go with respect to developing a greener, more energy efficient and economically vibrant world.


Ep 22_RC Don Kreis - Electricity Consumer Advocate by The Radical Centrist




Now you may or may not know that Gary Ghioto and I have been working on a podcast about the Northern Pass battle. When we first began the project we thought it was going to be a fairly simple project. After all we were not trying to tell the story from all the different angles, we were really simply intending to celebrate the greatest David and Goliath victory of the new century and the triumph of landscape and place in New Hampshire. However, the deeper we dove into the pitched battle that led to a unanimous decision against NH's largest Utility company and Hydro-Quebec by the NH Site Evaluation Committee the more we realized that there was an even larger story to be told that ran the gamut from utility deregulation, Global Climate Change, the importance of Landscape in our lives, the remarkable ability of the people of NH to overcome a national partisan paralysis in order to fight for their heritage and land, Corporate greed and hubrus, and more.


The relationship between the Northern Pass Battle and Climate Change and its existential threat to our

planet seems obvious but even in examining this the need to recognize nuance is worthy of our attention. After all, Climate change is not so much an existential threat to our planet as it is to our planets habitation by two legs, four legs, critters that fly, slither and skitter.   The earth will have the final say when it comes to Climate Change. If we fail to confront the challenges we will simply yield our place here to the whims of Esheheman, grandmother earth as the Cheyenne refer to her. Ocean and atmospheric currents may change, even reverse, sea levels may rise or fall, ice caps may follow the warming - as they inevitably do - but earth will prevail.


The political, social and democratic systems that govern utility law differ from state to state but there are fundamental principles that apply and there are many ways in which states and the federal government cooperate to assure the resilience of our power grid. The recent meltdown of the "system" in Texas is one example of the challenges that confront us as we make our way to a world where sustainable energy, conservation, and democratic values help define a greener and brighter future.


This Podcast - With Donald Maurice Kreis - Public Utilities Consumer Advocate in the state of New Hampshire and one of today's most thoughtful - and at times provocative - thinkers leads the listener through a virtual primer on the changes taking place in the world of Utility regulation, electric generation and transmission and the concomitant challenges presented in light of those changes. While some of the references are more parochial in nature, the ideas and insights offered by Don Kreis provide a view into the challenges ahead throughout the industry that are transferrable across the North American landscape.


Don's column





NHBR Interview


Q&A with PUC Consumer Advocate Donald Kreis

June 24, 2016 

 Bob Sanders





An Unconstitutional Bill from the Negawatt Naysayers

By DONALD M. KREIS, Power to the People April 3, 2021


Donald M. Kreis, New Hampshire Consumer Advocate

Power to the People is a column by Donald M. Kreis, New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate. Kreis and his staff of four represent the interests of residential utility customers before the NH Public Utilities Commission and elsewhere.

By DONALD M. KREIS, Power to the People

If our state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard has a future – and, as the state’s ratepayer advocate, I’m here to say it should – we just might have Jagdish Rai Chadha, a former Kenyan exchange student, to thank.

Let me explain.

Forty-nine year ago, Chadha was pursuing a master’s degree at Bowling Green University in Ohio when his visa expired.  He had a problem: newly independent, Kenya wouldn’t take him back because his parents were from India and, thus, British subjects. India wouldn’t take him because he was Kenyan.

Here in the U.S., immigration authorities began deportation proceedings. Then the authorities suspended the deportation under a federal law that allowed Chadha to stay in the U.S., but only if neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate vetoed the bureaucrats’ decision to stay the deportation.

The House passed such a veto resolution. Deportation proceedings resumed. Chadha appealed.

The result was a landmark ruling in 1983 by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Court declared the so-called one-house legislative veto to be in violation the “bicameralism” and “presentment” clauses of the U.S. Constitution.  Basically, the only way Congress can make law is by having both chambers pass identical legislation (“bicameralism”) and then present the bill to the president for signature or veto (“presentment”).

What the heck, you might wonder, does that have to do with ratepayer-funded energy efficiency in New Hampshire? I’m glad you asked.

The New Hampshire House votes this week on HB 351, which would drastically and permanently curtail the ability of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to increase the System Benefits Charge (SBC) on your electric bill. 

Some of the SBC pays for bill assistance for low-income customers.  But the rest provides the bulk of the revenue for NHSaves – the programs electric and natural gas utilities provide to meet the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS).

Mad River Abstract #6

The EERS is a great deal for ratepayers.  Why?  Because there’s a rigorous cost-benefit test.  Every penny spent by NHSaves must deliver net benefits to all customers (not just those smart enough to take advantage of the programs).

Energy efficiency also stacks up really well against the alternatives.  “Negawatts” – getting more work out of each unit of energy consumed – are cheaper than megawatts (producing and distributing more electricity) when it comes to meeting the next unit of demand.

But the EERS has its ideological opponents in the Legislature.  They argue that if energy efficiency were such a great idea then customers would simply invest in it themselves.  They contend that the System Benefits Charge is the equivalent of a tax (even though the government neither collects, holds, nor spends the money).

The negawatt naysayers are about to prevail.  The House votes this week on HB 351, which squeezed through the Science, Technology and Energy Committee on an 11-9, party-line vote.

If HB 351 becomes law, PUC approval of increases to the System Benefits Charge will no longer suffice.  After endorsement from the regulators, such increases would only go into effect if approved by either the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committee or via regular legislation.

The Whisper of Wind - Signed Original

In other words, just as one chamber of Congress could overrule the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on the deportation of Jagdish Rai Chadha, so now will one chamber of the New Hampshire General Court or even just a committee of the General Court be able to overrule the PUC on matters related to energy efficiency.

What an awful idea.  New Hampshire lags behind the rest of New England on energy efficiency, which means we are ceding all kinds of economic advantages to our neighbors.  Energy bills are higher than they would otherwise be as a result.

But it’s also unconstitutional, as the U.S. Supreme Court declared in its Chadha decision.

Of course the skeptical will point out that Chadha arose under the federal constitution, whereas it would be up to the New Hampshire Supreme Court to determine whether HB 351 violates the New Hampshire Constitution.  But that document is modeled on its federal counterpart and contains similar bicameralism and presentment language.  There is no reason to suppose the New Hampshire Supreme Court would reject the Chadha precedent.

The skeptical might also claim that HB 351 isn’t a one-house veto because the Legislature can approve an SBC increase via a bill adopted in both chambers and presented to the Governor.  But when you think about it, that’s the functional equivalent of a one-chamber veto of a PUC decision.

Government is not supposed to work that way, under either our federal or state constitutions.  Here’s what is supposed to happen.

The Legislature can set utility rates, including the System Benefits Charge, all by itself. Or it can choose to delegate that authority to an administrative agency – here, the Public Utilities Commission – with instructions to guide the regulators.

What the Legislature can’t do is delegate the authority, require supporters of energy efficiency to go through the regulatory process, and then require them to come back to the Legislature for lawmakers’ blessing.  That’s inconsistent with the New Hampshire Constitution – or, at least, so I will argue to the New Hampshire Supreme Court if necessary.

Please help make that unnecessary.  Call or write your House member before Wednesday and ask them to reject HB 351. 

You can find your House member and contact information here.

You can watch the House sessions April, 7, 8 and 9 here.

Ratepayer-funded energy efficiency is officially in crisis here in New Hampshire.  With HB 351 looming, the PUC has so far refused to approve the three-year energy efficiency plan that was supposed to go into effect on January 1 – more than three months ago!

The regulators know the negawatt naysayers are on the brink of prevailing.  But energy efficiency is a good deal for ratepayers, so it’s time for the ratepayers to speak out.


Other Links

Amory Lovins

Aspenglow on the Roaring Fork River
From Wikipedia


Amory Bloch Lovins (born 13 November 1947)[3] is an American writer, physicist,[4] and Chairman/Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute. He has written on energy policy and related areas for four decades, and served on the National Petroleum Council, an oil industry lobbying group, from 2011–2018.[5] In 1983, Lovins was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "pioneering soft energy paths for global security." He was named by TIME magazine one of the World's 100 most influential people in 2009.

Lovins has promoted energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources, and the generation of energy at or near the site where the energy is actually used. Lovins has also advocated a "negawatt revolution" arguing that utility customers don't want kilowatt-hours of electricity; they want energy services. In the 1990s, his work with Rocky Mountain Institute included the design of an ultra-efficient automobile, the Hypercar.

Lovins does not see his energy ideas as green or left-wing, and he is an advocate of private enterprise and free market economics, the source of his multi-million dollar net worth. He notes that Rupert Murdoch has made News Corporation carbon-neutral, with savings of millions of dollars. But, says Lovins, large institutions are becoming more "gridlocked and moribund", and he supports the rise of "citizen organizations" around the world.

Lovins has received ten honorary doctorates and won many awards. He has provided expert testimony in eight countries, briefed 19 heads of state, and published 31 books. These books include Reinventing Fire, Winning the Oil Endgame, Small is Profitable, Brittle Power, and Natural Capitalism.



Soft energy paths[edit]

Solar energy technologies, such as solar water heaters, located on or near the buildings which they supply with energy, are a prime example of a soft energy technology.

Amory Lovins came to prominence in 1976 when he published an article in Foreign Affairs called "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?" Lovins argued that the United States had arrived at an important crossroads and could take one of two paths.[11] The first, supported by U.S. policy, promised a future of steadily increasing reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear fission, and had serious environmental risks. The alternative, which Lovins called "the soft path," favored "benign" sources of renewable energy like wind power and solar power, along with a heightened commitment to energy conservation and energy efficiency. In October 1977, The Atlantic ran a cover story on Lovins' ideas.[11]

Storm Over Half Dome, Yosemite National Park


Amory Lovins advocates "soft energy paths" involving efficient energy use, diverse and renewable energy sources, and special reliance on "soft energy technologies". Soft energy technologies are those based on solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, etc. which are matched in scale and quality to their task. Residential solar energy technologies are prime examples of soft energy technologies and rapid deployment of simple, energy conserving, residential solar energy technologies is fundamental to a soft energy strategy.[12]

Lovins has described the "hard energy path" as involving inefficient energy use and centralized, non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels. He believes soft path impacts are more "gentle, pleasant and manageable" than hard path impacts. These impacts range from the individual and household level to those affecting the very fabric of society at the national and international level.[12]

Lovins on the Soft Path is an award-winning documentary film made by Amory and Hunter Lovins. It received many prizes: "Best Science and Technology Film, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1983; Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival, 1982; Best of the Festival, Environmental Education Film Festival, 1982; Best Energy Film, International Environmental Film Festival, 1982; and Chris Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film Festival, 1982."[13]


Amory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energy




Amory Lovins: Winning the oil endgame




Umbrellas in a Museum

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