Long-time Forest Society Members Conserve Key Link in
Southeastern New Hampshire Conservation Mosaic
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests recently accepted a donated conservation easement on 11 acres in Hampstead from the estate of Wally and Mary Lou Williams. During their lives, the couple placed conservation easements on hundreds of acres in southeastern New Hampshire.
“Wally and Mary Lou Williams are among the best friends that the Forest Society and the cause of conservation in New Hampshire ever had,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “They took a profound interest in the work of the Forest Society, and in the conservation efforts of their home town, Hampstead, and neighboring Atkinson.”
Their children were partners in this plan, and ownership of the land will remain under the careful stewardship of Wally’s and Mary Lou’s daughter, Catherine Reed.
The newly-preserved parcel lies not far from downtown Hampstead, and its scenic benefits include more than 1,000 feet of frontage on West Road. The land also serves as a back drop and visual buffer to users of the trail system on the abutting town land.
Located next to a 600-acre block of other protected land, including other properties in which the Forest Society holds interests, the Williams land completes the mosaic of a large block of landscape that has been conserved through the combined efforts of the Williams family, the Forest Society, and the Town of Hampstead.
The parcel’s interesting terrain includes upland forest sloping steeply down to a stream-filled ravine. The Hempstead town forest lies directly across from the stream, and downstream lies Island Pond, arguably Hampstead’s most important natural resource.
This site’s diverse uplands and nutrient-rich wetland habitats have considerable value to wildlife. The abundance of hemlock represents an important source of protective cover, while many of the large poorly formed trees contain cavities essential for nest and den sites. In addition, the presence of a number of large-crowned white oak trees increases the likelihood of annual acorn crops for wildlife dependant upon this dietary staple.
Not too long ago, this parcel was marred by several instances of dumping that have included a junk car, empty fuel tank, and fuel drum. To prepare for the conservation of this property, and in a show of support for the Williams family, several local conservation activists assisted in clearing the trash.