(Beebe River Tract)
Closed April 2022
The Conservation Fund, New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, and the Squam Lakes Conservation Society (SLCS) announced the completion of a multi-year effort to protect 6,395 acres of forestland and aquatic resources within the Beebe River watershed in central New Hampshire. Sharing a 6.5-mile boundary with White Mountain National Forest (WMNF), the newly conserved contiguous land will remain privately owned and sustainably managed to support forest industry products and jobs, while ensuring public recreational access, wildlife habitat and water resource protection.
Tompkins Preserve (Dot Banks Trail)
Fee-owned property conserved in the Summer of 2020
Located at the intersection of Millbridge Rd and Route 113 (Chick’s Corner), the Tompkins Preserve is an exemplary property for conservation. In the summer of 2020, the Tompkins Preserve was bought outright as an SLCS-owned property. With much planning, the Dot Banks Nature Trail was constructed to give walkers access to Lost Lake. This quiet little trail boasts tranquil forests, beautiful streams and rocky outcrops, the former state champion black ash tree, and the chance to see an abundance of wildlife and their signs. However, we ask that you please not take your dogs on the trail.
The hydrology of this property made it a priority to conserve. There are approximately 3350’ of streams, numerous vernal pools, and 15.6-acres of wetland. Part of the wetland complex is comprised of black ash, which is relatively uncommon in this part of the state.
SLCS (fee) owned property
Situated alongside Bean Rd in Moultonborough, the Unsworth Preserve, and the neighboring Koenig Preserve, offers a beautiful and accessible example of wetland habitat. The pond is a vital feature to the area because of its significance in helping to filter and store water but also provides ideal habitat for aquatic mammals and birds and many other resident wildlife species. Signs of bear, beaver, raccoon, moose, deer, bobcat, fisher, mink, coyote, and porcupine have all been found.
This pond is a magnet for waterfowl. The unique arrangement of small islands, peninsulas, ismuths, and abundance of aquatic vegetation paired with the shallow depth of the water is ideal for wading birds (great blue heron), dabbling and diving ducks (mallard, wood duck, ring-necked duck, etc.), aerial divers (osprey, eagle, and kingfisher), and migratory songbirds that nest in the shrubby vegetation on the banks. This property is always a buzz of activity, so we ask that you please keep your dogs on leashes as not to disturb nesting waterfowl and other wildlife.
West Squam Rangeway
Fee-owned property conserved in the Spring of 2021
At the beginning of April 2021, SLCS closed on the purchase of a 112-acre property that permanently protects the western flank of the Squam Range. This property has been joined by two other SLCS-owned properties and will be managed as the West Squam Rangeway.
Collectively, this 148-acre property sits along Route 175 and stretches up to the ridge that continues north forming the Squam Range. From mountain streams that course through walls of granite, to wetlands, and to mature mixed forests, the West Squam Rangeway has rich wildlife habitat (including winter wrens!) that is crucially connected to thousands of acres of conserved land to the north, all of which SLCS and its partners continue to steward.
Financial contributors to the easement
Spencer Brook is a 954-acre track of forested land in Campton owned by the Fisher family through the Burleigh Land Limited Partnership. Most of the property falls on the north slope of the Squam Range, but 60 acres are found on the Squam side, including the summits of Mt. Percival and the Sawtooth (the highest point on the Squam Range). SLCS, through the Squam Uplands campaign, provided the 25% match for a Forest Legacy conservation easement to protect this key parcel. Read more about its history by clicking below.
SLCS (fee) owned properties and conservation easement
As the largest watershed that drains into Squam Lake, Smith Brook is vital for the health of the lake. Located along Route 113 on the town line of Holderness and Sandwich, the Mick-Stanley, Wallace Marsh, and Allen Preserves, as well as the conservation easement of Smith Brook, contain 7 acres of wetland habitat that is part of the greater Smith Brook catchment area. This local watering hole supports an abundance of wildlife. There have been sightings of moose, bear, and deer; trail camera footage of bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, mink, and porcupines; an abundance of migratory songbirds; and various reptiles and amphibians. These 63 acres of uninterrupted habitat creates a protected buffer along the stream that ensures the continued preservation of our freshwater resources here on Squam and acts as a protected corridor for wildlife.
A popular hiking spot, Whitten Woods offers locals a quick and pleasant escape into the woods. This 500+ acre property is owned by the New England Forest Foundation (NEFF), on which we hold a conservation easement, and the trails are maintained by the Squam Lakes Association (SLA). The large property is dominated by younger forests but also has mature oak and pine forests where the soils are dry and sandy.
Doublehead and Eastman Brook
SLCS (fee) owned properties
In 2020, a new trail (0.7 miles) was put in on the Eastman Brook Preserve connecting the parking lot on Route 113 to the Doublehead Preserve and trail. As you walk out of the woods onto the dirt road, take a right to continue up to Doublehead. Our Doublehead Preserve offers a stunning view of Squam Lakes from the lookout where one can enjoy a pleasant picnic. If you’re for something more, you can continue up the mountain to the summit and the Squam Range.
Being further away from Route 113 and connected to large adjacent forest tracks, Eastman Brook and Doublehead are a haven for wildlife. Moose, black bear, deer, and porcupine are common sights. If you’re lucky enough, you can also hear the drumming of ruffed grouse or the enchanting hooting of a barred owl.
Center Harbor Woods and Pine Hill
Just off of Bean Rd in Center Harbor is a network of trails on lands owned by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT), of which we hold easements on. The combined 345 acre properties are completely wooded and offer a sampling of major forest types found throughout this region. The properties offer an escape to walk in wonder under the pines, oaks, maples, and hemlocks.
Owned by the Squam Lakes Association, SLCS holds easements on the two lots that make up Belknap Woods. A figure-eight of trails wind in and out of ponds and the surrounding forest and can be accessed off of Route 25B (Dane Rd). The quiet ponds are home to a variety of wildlife including active beavers, waterfowl, loads of amphibians, and barred owl, to name a few.
SLCS (fee) owned property
The Michael Preserve is a 13 acre parcel in Sandwich at the intersection of the Holderness Road (Route 113) and Coolidge Farm Road. The land was purchased by SLCS with charitable donations from community members to restore the land to a natural condition. The property features a large pollinator field, two streams flowing into Intervale Pond and eventually Squam Lake, forested wetlands and floodplain, and a mature forest east of Thompson Brook framed by impressive stonewalls.
The Conservation Society acquired the property “as is” after being on the open market for over two years. The property included a house that has been vacant for over five years and was assembled from three different structures brought to the site many years ago. The dilapidated wood-frame barn adjacent to the house was removed a year prior to our acquisition. Our decision to acquire this property was grounded on providing substantial public benefit by returning the land to a natural condition.