The sale of The Balsams Resort by the Neil Tillotson Trust to Balsams View LLC has been completed. Northern Pass is pleased that the future of the Balsams Resort is secure and that the new owners are committed to maintaining the 300 jobs and tremendous economic value the Resort brings to the North Country. We look forward to working with them in the future, and wish them well in their efforts to renovate and re-open the resort.
Unrelated to the sale of the hotel, we recently asked the Attorney General to reject the pending and separate sale of a small utility right of way in the northern tip of the property by the Tillotson Trust to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. (We did not raise any question about — and we support fully — the conveyance of a conservation easement to the Forest Society.)
Our inquiry to the Attorney General was based on our belief that the project’s use of the utility right of way can co-exist with a conservation easement over the surrounding land, and together provide significant value to the Tillotson Trust that can be redistributed to the residents and communities in the North Country for essential health, social and economic services. We also believe that the project’s use of the utility right of way would have less impact than the Trust’s own transmission easement across the Balsams Resort property for future wind farm development. Northern Pass had previously submitted an offer for use of this utility right of way.
Following our inquiry with the Attorney General, we learned that the Forest Society was only interested in purchasing the conservation easement if the utility right of way was included. In response to the Forest Society’s publicly-stated position and to address the possibility that the conservation easement might be lost, Northern Pass submitted a new offer to the Trust to purchase the conservation easement over the 5,800 acres of land surrounding the resort as well as the utility right of way. We are supportive of efforts to conserve this property as it ensures future generations can enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities of the land, which is consistent with the vision and work of the Tillotson Trust. This offer would have provided the Trust with more than $3 million to support its charitable activities in the North Country and would ensure the 5,800 acres of land surrounding the resort are conserved.
The Attorney General has since approved the sale of the conservation easement and power line right of way to the Forest Society. Northern Pass is in the process of reviewing the Attorney General’s decision. We are disappointed for the citizens of the North Country who could have benefitted from the much needed services the additional value our offer would have provided.