Bear-Paw and the Boston Minuteman Council Scout for a way to Protect Crooked Run
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Boston Minuteman Council are working together to conserve more than 500 acres of valuable wildlife habitat in Barnstead, Pittsfield, and Strafford. The goal of the project is to permanently protect most of the 700+ acre T.L. Storer Scout Camp property and its entire frontage on Crooked Run, a significant tributary of the Suncook River. The camp will continue to operate as it does today and Bear-Paw will hold a conservation easement on much of the area not covered with camp facilities.
The T.L. Storer Scout Reservation is owned and operated Boy Scouts of America Boston Minuteman Council (www.bsaboston.org). The camp primarily consists of tent campsites and winter cabins for overnight groups and family camping. It also includes an activity field for athletics and camporees, boats, canoes, and a dining hall. The BSA tries to operate the camp in such a way as to minimize its impact upon the land. This is accomplished through limiting the number of buildings, rotating campsites and program areas, using certified foresters, maintaining open space, and staining buildings and signs to blend with the surroundings.
The camp property includes some of the most ecologically significant natural lands in the region. Over 200 acres of the proposed conservation easement area is ranked in the NH Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) maps as highest by biological region and another 200 acres is ranked as "supporting habitat." According to the WAP, NH requires a network of permanently conserved lands that effectively represents the state’s wildlife and habitat diversity. Protecting threatened and essential habitat resources such those found in the Crooked Run project area – large unfragmented forest blocks (including both uplands and wetland habitats), riparian/shore land habitats, and wildlife corridors connecting significant habitat – is a priority.
The parcel is almost entirely forested with hemlock-hardwood-pine and includes twenty-five wetland complexes totaling more than 133 acres; including 57 acres of marshland and two acres of peatland identified in the WAP, as well as the 30-acre Adams Pond and 4,000 feet of frontage on Wild Goose Pond. The majority of the wetlands complexes (83 acres) are associated with Crooked Run and its floodplain. These wetland complexes provide breeding and feeding areas for fish, waterfowl, amphibians, songbirds and wading birds. Perennial streams, including Crooked Run, provide more than three miles of riparian habitat.
More than 500 acres of the Boy Scout’s T.L. Storer camp property will be permanently protected by a conservation easement held by Bear-Paw Regional Greenways. The property will continue to be owned and managed by the Boy Scouts of America according to a stewardship plan required by the easement. The management plan will ensure permanent protection of water resources, species of conservation concern, and wildlife habitat found on the property. Public access may be granted on portions of the property that are not used by campers.
The Crooked Run project would add directly to an already significant amount of conservation land in the area and the unfragmented forest that includes the camp property is large – more than 3,000 acres in extent. It is also nearby and serves as a connection between some of the largest forest blocks in southeastern NH – a 6,000-acre forest that includes the Evans Mountain project that was completed last year and a 16,000-acre forest just to the north. Large, unfragmented forest ecosystems like this offer vital support to the region’s biodiversity and provide resiliency against climate change. These areas provide a refuge from roads and other human impacts and an area large enough that allows natural processes to play themselves out without interference.
We hope that the residents of Barnstead, Pittsfield, and Strafford as well as former campers are as excited about this project as we are. There is a significant amount of funding that still needs to be raised to complete it.
You Can Help!
Bear-Paw has already received a $350,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund for this project but that is a little less than one-half of our goal!
Bear-Paw is seeking support for the project from the three communities it covers, other grant programs, private foundations, as well as individuals like you! If you would like to make a gift designated to this project and Bear-Paw’s land protection program use the enclosed remittance envelope or contact our office. Write ‘Crooked Run Project’ on your check to designate your gift.
A Note From the Chair
What a pleasure it was to see so many friends at our January Annual Meeting! 2012 was a successful year, and the Annual Meeting provided plentiful evidence that this was so. Mary Holland’s presentation was a fascinating month-by-month look at the natural world and all its wonder.
I would like to thank Mark West, who has chaired the Board of Directors for the past four years. Mark has been a source of inspiration, enthusiasm, and good humor to all of us. He presided over the expansion of our land protection work from 2,310 acres under easement at the beginning of 2009 to over 5,000 acres today. Thank you, Mark!
This issue of our newsletter is packed with news of our ongoing work. I hope many of you will take advantage of the upcoming events to make connections with the natural world around us, and with others who share our commitment to protecting that natural world for future generations.
Make Tracks! – A guide and map for your next outdoor adventure.
Isinglass River Conservation Reserve
New Road • Strafford, NH
History and Use
The Isinglass River Conservation Reserve was established by the Strafford Conservation Commission in 2008. The name refers to an assemblage of town owned properties that have been acquired and permanently conserved as open space but there are also state-owned lands in the area. Currently, there are five properties encompassing approximately 400 acres and more than two miles of the Isinglass River corridor that make up the Reserve. The largest parcel is the 286-acre Hanson tract – a property slated for conversion to 70 housing units but thanks to the Trust for Public Land, the generosity of the residents and landowners of Strafford, and Bear-Paw Regional Greenways, it was purchased and permanently protected in 2008. Since then, four additional parcels have been added to the Isinglass River Conservation Reserve and three additional properties that remain in private ownership have been conserved along this section of the river.
Property Description and Conservation Values
The Isinglass River is one of the most pristine river corridors in southeastern New Hampshire. It has the highest rated water quality found within the Great Bay watershed. The river and its surrounding woodlands feature a rich diversity of plant life, habitat features and corresponding wildlife. Ongoing studies here have identified nearly 750 species of plants and animals on these properties including a number of which are quite rare.
This section of the river also has many historic sites. Early settlers to the area were attracted to the available water power along Pig Lane which features three significant flowages. First settled in the mid 1700s, this small valley had at one time a saw and grist mill and a number of homes. Thanks to its remoteness and recent conservation efforts visitors can walk down Pig Lane today and experience the pleasures of exploring cellar holes, cemeteries that hold the original settlers and the ruins of once bustling mills.
Date Protected: August 1, 2008
The property is open to the public for low-impact, non-commercial, outdoor educational or recreational activities such as hiking, wildlife observation, cross country skiing, hunting, and fishing.
Trails and Accessibility
The Isinglass River Conservation Reserve trail network provides access to a number of the natural and cultural features found here. The beaver pond loop trail circles a large, active beaver flowage with outstanding views at a number of locations. The Foss Mill Trail hugs the Isinglass River from the first bridge on Pig Lane, past the grist mill ruins along rapids and pools that are beautiful in every season. The Meadow trail takes visitors north of Pig Lane across three small foot bridges to an outstanding view over 20 acres of beaver flowages and sedge-dominated wetlands that were at one time actively farmed meadows.
Much of the trail network was made possible by grants from the NH Conservation License Plate and NH Trails Grants Program and by the efforts of volunteers. Please respect the rights of private property owners when exploring beyond the Isinglass River Conservation Reserve.
The property is located on New Road in Strafford.
43°14'35.00" N, 71°06'52.00"W
From the intersection of Route 4 and Route 43 in Northwood, take Route 9/202 east 0.4 miles to Route 202A. Turn left and follow Route 202A for 3.3 miles to Province Road. Turn right and follow Province Road 0.7 miles to Ricky Nelson Road. Turn left on Ricky Nelson Road and follow 1.0 mile to Range Road. Turn right on Range Road and follow 0.2 miles to New Road. Turn left on New Road and the parking area is immediately on your left.
There is a small maintained parking area large enough for several cars.
Much of this information borrowed from the Town of Strafford’s Isinglass River Conservation Reserve Map.
Please join us for our second annual charity auction!
November 2 • 7–10pm
What’s on your Wish List for this year’s Bear-Paw Auction?
Yes, Bear-Paw is holding another Growing the Greenways auction, this time on Saturday, November 2nd. Thanks to our generous sponsors and donors of interesting items, as well as all of you who came to party and bid, last year’s event raised $22,000 that is already going directly toward Bear-Paw’s land protection work. We want to make this year’s auction just as fun and even more successful, and you can help.
Call or e-mail the office and let us know what you would like to see on the auction block. Tell us what equipment, or vacation, or service, or artwork you would like to see up for bid. We’ll do our best to have it there. And perhaps you have an item or service you could donate – let us know that as well. Bear-Paw’s land protection program continues to depend upon you!
Outdoor Skills Workshop
Off Trail: Outdoor Skills For Land Conservation
Sat., April 27, 2013 • 9am–2pm • Bear-Paw Office and Freese Town Forest, Deerfield
This year, Bear-Paw is expanding its volunteer conservation easement monitoring program and this outdoor skills workshop will be particularly valuable for anyone interested in being a Bear-Paw Volunteer Easement Monitor, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about off-trail navigation.
This workshop will give you a chance to learn and practice skills such as map and compass reading, understanding property survey maps and navigating in sometimes unfamiliar and challenging terrain. You will expand your exploratory horizons and bolster your confidence about off-trail navigation. We will present an indoor orientation to map and compass reading and interpretation and GPS. Then, we’ll head out to a Bear-Paw easement property and put what we’ve learned into practice. We’ll also discuss how and why we monitor our conservation lands and how you can get involved.
To register for the workshop or to learn more about becoming a volunteer monitor, contact Bear-Paw Executive Director Daniel Kern at info@bear-Paw.org or 463.9400.
To learn more about phenology and find ways to get involved, visit the following websites:
Mary Holland’s Naturally Curious website and blogwww.naturallycuriouswith maryholland.wordpress.com/
New Hampshire Audubon Phenology Monitoring Pilot Projectwww.nhaudubon.org/phenological- monitoring-pilot-project
National Phenology Networkwww.usanpn.org
Aldo Leopold Foundationwww.aldoleopold.org
Harvard Forest Phenology
by Ellen Snyder
In her book, Naturally Curious, Mary Holland explores New England nature, month-by-month starting in March – a time of awakening, emergence, and rebirth in the natural world. The book is a compilation of Mary’s years of passion pursuing the seasonal rhythms of plants and animals. This study of nature, of recording observations on when birds migrate, or insects emerge, or plants bloom, especially in relation to climate and weather, is known as phenology.
The timing of natural events is relatively predictable from year-to-year, determined in large part by day-length, temperature, and precipitation. In March, we expect to see the first male red-winged blackbird, hear woodcock peenting, and note the emergence of skunk cabbage flowers. During the first warm spring rain, when evening temperatures reach 45 to 50°F, spotted salamanders crawl out of their winter burrows to migrate in mass to the nearest woodland pool. Skunks emerge from a light slumber around Valentine’s Day to look for a mate, at a time when beavers, bobcats, and raccoons are breeding and barred owls are courting.
Gardeners are keenly aware of phenology: when the ground thaws enough to plant peas, the soils warm enough to plant beans, the date of the last frost in spring and the first frost in fall. Plant Hardiness Zones are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperatures. A year ago, the USDA adjusted the zones northward, to account for warmer low temperatures. There are other changes afoot, as spring is coming earlier and fall is retreating. The climate is changing, natural events less predictable, generating a renewed interest in phenology. Scientists, botanists, birders, insect enthusiasts, school kids, farmers, and naturalists of all types are measuring and studying these changes.
The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, has 50 years of data on soils, vegetation, and water and nutrient cycling in relation to climate, land use histories, and elevation. Compared to the 1950s, HBEF notes the following changes: date of last frost in spring is eight days earlier, date of first frost in fall is ten days later, the snowfree period has increased by about 20 days. A decreased snowpack and warmer winter temperatures may decrease maple sap yields, advance spring mud season, and affect the synchrony of soil warm-up and plant development. If soils warm more quickly in spring, and plant growth does not respond in kind, the uptake of water and nutrients is altered. There is great uncertainty among these scientists on the long-term effects of these changes.
New Hampshire Audubon initiated a pilot project with volunteers to document the phenology of plants and animals on their Deering Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of many such projects across the country that is part of the National Phenology Network (see sidebar for more information). Researchers are comparing the flowering dates today with those recorded by Aldo Leopold in the 1930s and by Henry David Thoreau in the mid-1800s. For many plants, the flowering dates are weeks earlier today.
Harvard Forest engages school kids to monitor the timing of "budburst" on native trees in spring. Budburst occurs when the bud scales have opened and all leaves are fully visible (if small). This documents the start of the growing season, when leaves begin making food. Another measure of change, if less scientific, is the date of ice-out on Lake Winnipesaukee. In 2012, ice-out was declared on March 23, the earliest date ever in over 120 years of yearly measurements.
Spring is a time of awakening in nature and in ourselves. We anticipate spring planting, listen for the duck-like calls of wood frogs, welcome the return of the phoebe to our yard, and ache for the first woodland wildflowers to emerge. Noting these month-by-month and season-to-season changes guides our own movements and will perhaps help us better understand and steward our planet.
Join Us for Our Ninth Annual Biothon!
Bear-Paw plans to hold its annual biothon in Hooksett on June 15th.
Contributors to this year’s Biothon are invited on a special foraging walk on the Clay Pond Conservation Area. Southeastern New Hampshire is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join expert forager Russ Cohen, author of the book Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, on a two-hour ramble to learn about two dozen species of edible wild plants. Identification tips for each species will be provided, along with information on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability, and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging. Following the walk we will join the Bear-Paw naturalist teams at the home of former Board member Judi Lindsey for a potluck lunch. Bring food or drink to share and join the party!
Become a Nature’s Notebook Observer
You can contribute to national phenology data.
At the National Phenology Network www.usanpn.org, you can sign up to be a Nature’s Notebook observer. Nature’s Notebook is a national online program in which amateur and professional naturalists make observations of plants and animals to generate data that can be used for scientific discovery and long term decision making. The National Phenology network is hoping to collect one million observation records in 2013. The organization invites volunteers to help them reach that goal.
Through the online sign-up form one agrees to make and report observations of one or more specific plants or animals. Naturally, this will take you outdoors, but there’s an opportunity for indoor work as well. The Bird Phenology Program is looking for volunteers to help turn reports on nearly six million stored hand or type-written bird observation cards collected from the 1880s to 1970s into accessible online data. Whether tramping the woods surveying your local vernal pools for the first appearance of wood frog, checking "leaf out" on red oak, or sitting at your computer transcribing data from a scanned 1925 card’s report of a snowy owl sighting on Plum Island, you too can become a citizen scientist.
Grants and Project Support
Thanks to all our member towns, foundations, and other organizations that supported our efforts over the last year! Bear-Paw finally completed the 970-acre Evans Mountain project in January 2012 and received grants from the NHDES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund ($350,000), LCHIP ($150.000), the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation ($25,000), and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership Transaction Assistance program ($3,000). Bear-Paw’s member towns also contributed to help cover the transaction and stewardship costs associated with the land protection projects that we completed in Hooksett and Strafford.
Bear-Paw was awarded grants to support two other conservation projects that will be completed in 2013 or 2014. The Hinman Pond project in Hooksett was awarded $500,000 from the NHDES ARM Fund, $143,175 from the NHDES Water Supply Land Protection program, $50,000 from LCHIP, $40,000 from the NH Conservation License Plate Program, $20,000 from the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation, $10,000 from the William P. Wharton Trust, and $10,000 from the Davis Conservation Foundation. The Crooked Run/Boy Scouts of America project in Barnstead, Pittsfield, and Strafford was awarded $350,000 from the NHDES ARM Fund.
The Adelard A. Roy and Valeda Lea Roy Foundation also presented Bear-Paw with a grant ($7,000) to support our land protection program. Bear-Paw also worked with the Southeast Land Trust of NH to secure $6,500 in funding from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to support the expansion of the land protection program. The Norcross Wildlife Foundation awarded Bear-Paw with a $4,000 grant for a technology upgrade.
Cumings Conservation Center Opens in Deerfield
It has been Jean Cumings’ dream to design, build, and run a wildlife education, rescue and rehabilitation center. Jean and her husband Tom took a leap of faith to do just that when they purchased a 47-acre farm on South Road in Deerfield last year. Tom and Jean have been good friends of Bear-Paw for years, having donated a conservation easement on their Coffeetown Road property in 2004.
The Cumings Conservation Center is designed to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to discover a lifelong appreciation for the natural world by promoting an understanding of New England wildlife and ecosystems, encouraging sustainable use of natural resources, educating individuals to be good stewards of the land, and providing a quality home for non-releasable injured or orphaned wildlife.
The Cumings’ plans are too extensive to be listed here so visit their website at www.cumings.org for more information or join us for a fieldtrip that we have scheduled there on May 11.
A July Barbecue for Bear-Paw’s Leaving Tracks Legacy Society
A growing number of members have included Bear-Paw in their estate planning. There are many vehicles through which this can be done, including through a will or trust or by naming Bear-Paw as an IRA or insurance policy beneficiary. A bequest to Bear-Paw can be directed in a number of ways. Some donors prefer to specify a particular fund such as the Endowment Fund, the Project Fund, or the Stewardship Fund. Others wish for the bequest to go to the organization’s General Fund for day-to-day operations.
Since 2007 when the Leaving Tracks Legacy Society was first formed, Bear-Paw has become aware of members who have taken this step, but we may not know all of you. Please let us know, with full confidentiality, if you have become one of the Society by contacting Daniel Kern at the Bear-Paw office. We want to be sure to include you in our barbecue on the lake!
For all of you in our Legacy Society, please plan to join Bear-Paw staff and board members on Friday, July 12th for a boat trip and barbecue on the shore of Bow Lake in Strafford. Bear-Paw is pleased to recognize and thank you for including us in your estate planning.
Create a lasting gift by making a bequest or planned gift to Bear-Paw and becoming a member of our Leaving Tracks Legacy Society. Help ensure that your favorite places are still here for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
What will your legacy be?
Calendar of Spring & Summer Events
All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Please pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bear-paw.org or 603.463.9400 so the we can be sure to have adequate materials for everyone or notify participants of any changes.
Off Trail: Outdoor Skills for Land Conservation
April 27 • 9am–2pm • Bear-Paw Office and Freese Town Forest, Deerfield
Learn and practice skills such as map and compass reading, understanding property survey maps, and navigating in sometimes unfamiliar and challenging terrain. You will expand your exploratory horizons and bolster your confidence about off-trail navigation.
Birds and Blooms at the Cumings Conservation Center
May 11 • 7–10am • Cumings Conservation Center, Deerfield
Please join us for an early morning walk to identify birds by both sight and song in the midst of the spring migration. We’ll explore a few of the many habitats found at the Cumings Conservation Center in Deerfield as we also look for and identify spring wildflowers and flowering shrubs.
June 15 • 10am–12 • Clay Pond Conservation Area, Hooksett
Contributors to this year’s Biothon are invited on a special foraging walk on the Clay Pond Conservation Area with professional environmentalist and wild foods enthusiast, Russ Cohen from Massachusetts, author of Wild Plants I Have Known…And Eaten. Russ will help us identify and harvest edible plants and also give us cooking tips. Following the walk we will join the Bear-Paw naturalist teams at the home of former Board member Judi Lindsey for a potluck lunch. Bring food or drink to share and join the party!
Moonlight Moth and Firefly Walk
July 20 • 8–10:30pm • Strafford School District Conservation Property, Strafford
Join naturalists Scott Young and Siobhan Basile for the first evening of National Moth Week on a walk along the old Johnsonboro Road at dusk to observe fireflies, moths, and other critters that come out after dark. When we reach the Hill Pond, we will observe and identify moths and other insects attracted to a light placed there earlier in the evening.
Family Geocaching on the Isinglass
August 3 • 10am–12 • Isinglass River Conservation Reserve, Strafford
Beth Heckman, Assistant Education Coordinator with Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, will lead everyone on a hunt for hidden treasures! Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants will navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. This event will be fun for all ages so pack up your kids and bring your GPS device or smart phone, or just follow along and learn how it’s done! Cold drinks and snacks will be provided.
Casting on the Suncook (and we don’t mean fishing!)
September 8 • 2–4:30pm • Suncook River, Epsom
Popular demand brings a repeat of our trip to the Suncook River searching for animal tracks and making plaster casts of the prints. Bear-Paw will bring materials for everyone and Board member Lisa Clark will provide the instruction for capturing your souvenir of an animal’s trip to the Suncook River. Join us to see if the riverbank yields the same variety of well-preserved tracks that participants found and cast last year.
Ninth Annual Biothon Fundraiser
June 15 • 7am–12 • Clay Pond Conservation Area, Hooksett
On Saturday, June 15th, teams of Bear-Paw naturalist volunteers and Board members will take to the woods and wetlands of one of Bear-Paw’s largest conservation areas, the 700-acre Clay Pond Conservation Area owned by the Town of Hooksett. This annual treasure hunt to identify and catalogue as many plant and animal species as possible on a property helps us discover and promote the biodiversity of the lands Bear-Paw works to protect and raise money to support our Land Protection program.
You can help make this Biothon fundraiser a success!
Spur the teams on in their quest! Make a contribution, beyond your membership, for this important work that lets us know "what’s out there." Contribution online at www.bear-paw.org or through a board member friend. Your gifts go directly to Bear-Paw’s land protection work and all contributors are invited on a special foraging walk as a thank you for their gifts.
Not a member yet? We could do more if you were…
We have now protected 5,298 acres in Bear-Paw’s nine-town region. The properties include a diversity of habitats; from rocky ridges to river floodplains. Bear-Paw and its partners have helped local communities secure millions in grants and landowner gifts to complete those projects; but none of this would have been possible without our members since most of the grants that we receive go directly to acquisition and transaction costs.
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is a land trust with a mission to permanently conserve a network of lands that protects our region’s water, wildlife habitat, forests, and farmland. It is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization that relies on our members for over 75% of our operating budget. Contributing to Bear-Paw will ensure that you and your town continue to have a local resource to help protect the open spaces that define your community. Please consider becoming a member today by returning the enclosed reply envelope or online at www.bear-paw.org.
Renew your membership today!
If you would like to renew your membership and help Bear-Paw keep down postage and mailing expenses, we are encouraging members to consider mailing in their renewals now in the envelope included with the newsletter! That way, you don’t have to worry about renewing your membership when your renewal letter shows up later this spring! If you increase your gift by $75 over your last, we will send you a Bear-Paw knit cap as a thank you for your upgrade.
Land Protection Update
Land under Bear-Paw easements 4,943 acres
Bear-Paw Preserves (owned land) 355 acres
Total land protected 5,298 acres
"Spring 2013 Bear-Paw Print" (PDF)
"Fall 2012 Bear-Paw Print" (PDF)
"Spring 2012 Bear-Paw Print" (PDF)
"Fall 2011 Bear-Paw Print" (PDF)
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"Fall 2010 Bear-Paw Print" (PDF)
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