More than 200 acres of forest and wetlands preserved in Weare to host new hiking trails

Monitor staff
Published: 7/5/2019 12:10:28 PM

More than 200 acres of wetlands in Weare that drains into the Piscataquog River has been preserved by a local land conservancy, connecting protected tracts around Ferrin Pond with the Weare Town Forest. 

Piscataquog Land Conservancy announced it had bought the 205 acres from Meadowsend Timberlands, which manages forest land throughout the state.

The conservancy raised a total of $296,000 for the purchase, including $185,000 from the state’s Aquatic Resources Mitigation program and $50,000 from the Weare-based Emma Sawyer Trust.

Plans are in place to extend walking trails from the Ferrin Pond Preserve onto the new property. Snowmobile access to an existing corridor trail will also continue under the agreement, overseen by the Weare Winter Wanderers snowmobile club.

“It’s like a main link in the snowmobile trail system, so it will stay open so long as there is a club to maintain the trail,” said Conservancy President Chris Wells.

Wheeled motorized vehicles such as ATVs will not be allowed on trails because of the damage they can do, he said.

Administered by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the Aquatic Resources Mitigation Fund helps pay to conserve and restore wetlands and other aquatic resources. Its funding comes from mitigation payments made by building or transportation projects that harm wetlands.

Almost a mile from the nearest paved road, the land is forested, with a string of beaver ponds and wetlands running north-south down the center of the property. Water flows north through the wetlands to the main branch of the Piscataquog River.

The property also features a grove of black gum trees that are“approximately 400 years” old.

Additional funding for the project came from the Fields Pond Foundation, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership, the William P. Wharton Trust, and an anonymous foundation. Private contributions from local residents rounded out the funding mix.

In a statement, the French family who are partners of the former owner, said “Our late father Bob French, who was the founder of Meadowsend Timberlands and an early supporter of PLC when it was the Piscataquog Watershed Association, would be really pleased to see this project happen.”

PLC owns or has easements on 110 parcels of land totaling almost 7,300 acres in the watersheds of the Piscataquog, Souhegan and Nashua rivers.  Of those, 18 are in Weare, more than in any other town.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)


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