Guided Hikes Series Starts October 3
Want to get outside this autumn AND learn more about the history, forestry and stewardship behind New Hampshire's protected natural spaces? The Forest Society recently announced a series of FREE guided hikes open to members as part of our outreach and education efforts, sparked by the tremendous interest in last year's 5 Hikes Challenge and the 2021 5 Hikes Challenge, open now through October 31. While the 5 Hikes Challenge was re-formatted last year as a DIY adventure that registrants could complete on their own schedules, many members have missed the guided hikes that were offered before 2020, called "5 Hikes in 5 Weeks."
"We're thrilled to return guided hikes to our autumn program lineup and offer members the added benefit of learning about the Forest Society's work to protect the state's treasured forests on the ground," said Dave Anderson, senior director of education at the Forest Society.
The guided hikes will take place at The Rocks in Bethlehem, Heald Tract in Wilton, and Powder Major's Forest in Madbury. The hikes are FREE for Forest Society members but advance registration is required due to limited space.
The Rocks - Sunday, October 3 at 1 PM
“An Insiders’ Tour” Behind the Scenes at The Rocks with Director Nigel Manley
Join Director of North Country Properties Nigel Manley for a special “Insiders’ Tour” behind the scenes at The Rocks in Bethlehem during peak foliage season and enjoy stunning views of the Presidential Range and the White Mountains. Reopening after a planned hiatus as part of a transformation, the Forest Society North Country headquarters are undergoing a multi-year renovation project begun in 2020 and slated for completion in 2023. Learn about plans for the historic 1884 carriage barn and construction of a new three-tier amphitheater venue and picnic area surrounded by 1,400 acres of conservation land. What does it take to plant, cultivate, care for and annually harvest some of the 20,000 Christmas Trees? This exclusive tour includes a walk to historic summer home cellar hole sites along the Mile Path normally not open to the public.
Your Guide: Nigel Manley
Nigel Manley grew up in the United Kingdom and has worked for the Forest Society for more than 25 years. He manages several Forest Society North Country properties, chief among them The Rocks in Bethlehem. His degree in agricultural management helped with the startup of the Forest Society’s Christmas tree farm, and his keen interest in public outreach and marketing has enabled him to successfully promote The Rocks Estate as a tourist destination.
An avid outdoorsman, Manley’s areas of expertise include moose, bear, and wildlife habitat, pruning wild apple trees, the history of the Rocks and the Bethlehem area, Christmas Tree culture, marketing for small businesses, Agro- and Eco-tourism opportunities, and single-malt Scotch whiskey.
Heald Tract- Thursday, October 21 at 10 AM
A Living Laboratory: Restoring Apples, Creating Habitat and Controlling Invasive Plants with Forester Gabe Roxby
The Heald Family donation of nearly 1,500 acres between 1986 and 2016 was one of the most generous land gifts in Society history. At Heald Tract, cellar holes, barn foundations, and former orchards are surrounded by mature forest, mountain laurel, beaver dams, vernal pools, a heron rookery and 65-acre Heald Pond, all linked by an extensive trail system.
From 2019 to 2020, we began a series of ambitious projects to improve wildlife habitat, control invasive bittersweet and release apple trees. Our foresters launched a timber harvest experiment to favor high quality oak timber and invigorate an understory thicket mountain laurel to demonstrate potential for creating New England Cottontail habitat. This summer, tree saplings were cut-back to favor flowers and grasses in an old field, as well as in a former orchard to create a pollinator meadow.
Your guide: Gabe Roxby
Gabe began working for the Forest Society in 2012 after graduating from UNH with a M.S. in Natural Resources and a focus in Forestry. He previously worked for the Student Conservation Association building and maintaining trails and educating elementary school students about the joys of science.
Gabe attained his NH forestry license in 2019 and works with the other foresters on staff to manage the Forest Society’s lands throughout the state. He enjoys learning about the complexity of our forests in New Hampshire and educating anyone who will listen about sustainable forest management. abe lives in Henniker with his wife Kara and their three daughters.
Powder Major's Forest- Thursday, October 28 at 10 AM
Natural and Cultural History + Fall Foliage with Senior Director of Education Dave Anderson
Powder Major's Forest was acquired in 2017. Features include a network of recreational trails, Oyster River frontage, a beaver pond and cultural features. The farmlands were home to Revolutionary War hero Major John Demeritt, aka “The Powder Major,” celebrated for his role in the raid on British Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth. Demeritt is credited for hiding the stolen gunpowder on his Madbury farm and transporting it to the Continental Army fighting in the Battle of Bunker Hill at the outset of the American Revolution. Subsequent generations of the Demeritt family and the Goss family have lived and farmed here. Enjoy late October fall foliage and a guided walk on a visit to this historic landscape.
Your guide: Dave Anderson
Dave Anderson is Senior Director of Education for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. He joined the Forest Society in 1990.
Anderson is responsible for design, development and delivery of conservation education programs including field trips, workshops and presentations for Forest Society members, conservation partners, schools and the general public.