Hopkinton purchase of 5.7 acres will preserve Contoocook River shoreline

  • The land that the Chesley family sold to the Hopkinton Conservation Commission in Contoocook on Tuesday, January 19, 2020. MELISSA CURRAN—Monitor staff

  • A thousand feet of Contoocook River shoreline has been bought by the town of Hopkinton for continued recreation and agriculture but not development; the 5.7-acre site across the river from Bohanan Farm, with 1,100 feet of river shoreline. MELISSA CURRAN / Monitor staff

  • Shoreline across the river from Bohanan Farm has been bought by Hopkinton for recreation and agriculture. MELISSA CURRAN / Monitor staff

  • A thousand feet of Contoocook River shoreline has been bought by the town of Hopkinton for continued recreation and agriculture, but not development; the 5.7-acre site across the river from Bohanan Farm, with 1,100 feet of river shoreline. MELISSA CURRAN / Monitor staff

  • Aerial view of the land sold to Hopkinton to be used for recreation and agriculture. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 1/21/2021 3:57:46 PM

More than 1,000 feet of Contoocook River shoreline has been bought by the town of Hopkinton to be preserved as greenspace for continued recreation and agriculture.

The 5.7-acre site across the river from Bohanan Farm, with 1,100 feet of river shoreline, was sold by Cathy and Chip Chesley, who live alongside it. 

“When it came time to downsize, we’ve always thought the land would be wild, that it would just be protected,” said Cathy Chesley. “Downstream it’s quite built up, upstream it’s built up, but this stretch is beautiful.”

The property will be called Tyler Landing State Forest, a name taken because this was the site of a ferry across the river before nearby bridges were built.

The Hopkinton Conservation Commission plans to create a walking trail along the river and to create an area to launch canoes and kayaks. A public hand-carry boat launch exists on the other side of the Contoocook River but the bank is steeper there, so using the new land will be easier.

“The purchase agreement allows for a limited parking area,” said Dijit Taylor of the Hopkinton Open Space Committee.

According to the town, the field along Penacook Road will continue to be farmed by Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm, and two refugee families will continue to maintain garden plots on the property.

The area is a little ways upstream from an intake used by the city of Concord as a drinking water source to supplement supply from Penacook Lake.

The purchase was paid for by a grant from the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund and funding from the Hopkinton Conservation Commission’s forestry account, which gets money when town-owned forests are logged.

As a town forest, the Taylor Landing site could be logged in future but that seems unlikely.

“It had been heavily logged when we bought it – all the hardwood was gone,” said Chesley. “We’ve had loggers look at it and say there’s really not enough to make it go in there.”

Chesley said the couple decided to outright sell the property, which is adjacent to their home, rather than sell an easement and keep ownership because they will be moving to a smaller home, since their children are grown.

“Our children have enjoyed the land on the river, the fields, and grandchildren continue to enjoy it,” she said. “It was time to protect it.”

Chip Chesley is director of General Services for the city of Concord.

Unlike other recent purchases of land and conservation easements in Hopkinton, this was not funded by the $5 million open space bond authorization approved by the town in 2003.

“We haven’t spent all the money yet,” said Taylor of that bond authorization. Payments need approval from town meeting and no request has been made since 2009 when an easement was bought to protect the Bohanan Farm.

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



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