http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog Chesterfield Conservation Commission: Blog
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/img/s/v-5/u38626911-o63801157-50.jpg 2018-01-07T16:21:00Z (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2018/1/hike-the-wantatiquet-monadnock-trail Hike the Wantatiquet-Monadnock Trail

The Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail (WMT) can now be hiked over it's whole length, from Brattleboro, Vt. to Mt. Monadnock in south-central New Hampshire, a distance of roughly 40 miles.  With prominent features such as Mt. Wantastiquet, the Madame Sherri Forest, Pisgah State Park, the Horatio Colony Preserve, the Cheshire Rail Trail, and Gap Mountain, this trail, in whole or in parts, is well worth the effort.  More information and maps can be found on this website.  Inquires can also be directed through this website.  The blue diamond bordered in white is the signature marking for the trail. 

(Note: To start the trail from Brattleboro, cross the Route 119 bridge from downtown and take the first left onto Mountain Road.  The trail begins from the small parking lot as you enter the woods.  To start from Mt. Monadnock, follow the White Arrow Trail to the Royce Trail, follow this to the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, which you then take over Gap Mountain to Troy. You will pick up the WMT at Troy Depot.)

 

The future oversight of this trail will be done by the recently formed Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail Coalition.  This group is made up of a number of various organizations and entities, all having some type of management interest in the trail (such as land ownership, conservation easement holding, "friends" group, etc.).  Groups involved include the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Horatio Memorial Trust, the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forest, the State of New Hampshire, the City of Keene, the Friends of Pisgah, the Monadnock Conservancy, Antioch New England, Pathways for Keene, Southwest Regional Planning, and conservation commissions from Chesterfield, Swanzey and Troy.

 

Here are some representative photos (also refer to blog of May 3, 2017 for a photo along the rail line from Keene to Troy). The first is Mine Ledge on Mt. Wantastiquet, the second is Indian Pond in the Madame Sherri Forest and the third is the celebration at the Horatio Colony trail head in Keene of the opening of the Keene Connector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2018-01-07T16:20:35Z 2018-01-07T16:20:35Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2017/5/wantastiquet-monadnock-trail-update Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail Update

The Chesterfield Conservation Commission, in partnership with the Monadnock Conservancy, hosted the organizational meeting of the Wantatiquet-Monadnock Trail Coordinating Committee in Keene on May 2nd.  This trail has been slowly expanded since its inception in the early 1990’s, soon to stretch more than 30 miles from Brattleboro, Vermont to Troy, NH.  The WM Trail will meet the Metacomet Trail in Troy for the final trek to Mt. Monadnock.  The purpose of developing a coordinating committee is to establish oversight over the trail in the long run, a role having been played by the Chesterfield Conservation Commission for a number of years.  Groups in attendance, all with a direct or indirect connection with the trail, were the Friends of Pisgah, the Monadnock Conservancy, the Forest Society, the Horatio Colony Trust, Antioch NE, the NH Trails Bureau, the AMC, Southwest Regional Planning, Pathways for Keene, Keene Parks and Rec, and conservation commissions from Chesterfield, Troy and Fitzwilliam.

The photo is from the last section of the trail, the rail line from Keene to Troy.

Rail Line in Marlborough, NHPaula and Lynne

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2017-05-03T22:16:34Z 2017-05-03T22:16:34Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2017/2/conservation-commissioners-at-nhacc-conference Conservation Commissioners at NHACC Conference

Lynne Borofsky, a long time Chesterfield Conservation Commissioner, presented a workshop at the Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions in November.  Entitled "Spreading Your Wings: A Primer on Expanding the Scope of Your Commissions Work", this well received presentation uses the long time experience of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission to illustrate how a commission's role in managing and protecting natural resources can be quite broadly interpreted. Its activities could include building hiking trails, running environmentally focused outdoor events, producing an inventory of the town's natural resources, partnering with other groups who have a specialized role (for example, The Spofford Lake Association, The Friends of Pisgah, the Friends of Chesterfield Gorge, the Monadnock Conservancy, etc.) and managing town lands (like town forests for example).  The conference was presided over by Chesterfield Commissioner Tom Duston, who was finishing his term as President of the NHACC.

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2017-02-04T17:35:11Z 2017-02-04T17:35:11Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2016/11/volunteer-family-builds-three-bridges Volunteer Family Builds Three Bridges!

Many thanks to Cory Shepard and his two daughters for three bridges built in the Friedsam Town Forest.  The high quality hiking experience the public finds in Friedsam and on other trails developed by the Chesterfield Conservation Commission is greatly enhanced by the work of volunteers such as the Shepard Team.  We thank them heartily.

One of the "Shepard Bridges"

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2016-11-11T20:43:08Z 2016-11-11T20:43:08Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2016/11/keene-connector-closed Keene Connector Closed

The section of the Keene Connector Trail from Old Swanzey Road in Chesterfield to the Swanzey end of the Horatio Colony Preserve is closed due to a logging operation.  The trail will be re-opened by summer 2017 at the latest. Trail Closed

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2016-11-02T22:29:38Z 2016-11-02T22:29:38Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2016/11/friedsam-ski-trails-2016-17 Friedsam Ski Trails 2016-17

The ski trails in Friedsam are ready for the 2016-2017 ski season.  These are the trails that were prepared for the 2015-2016 winter season but little used because of the lack of snow. Volunteer Ray Dunn has cleared downed trees on several trails.  A 2016-2017 winter trails map appears in this blog as well as in the Friedsam Section.  Many thanks to Ray since, in addition to working on the ski trails, he also was the one who built and installed the "Audrey Bench" and built and installed the roof on the Madame Sherri Kiosk.

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2016-11-01T20:08:04Z 2016-11-01T20:08:04Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2016/10/thank-you-c-s Thank you C&S

Wayne Dingman, his kids, and his crew from C&S Wholesale Grocers recently cleaned up Gulf Road in Chesterfield as one of the firm's Community Service Projects.  Gulf Road, from the west through the locally famous "Gulf", is the access road for the Madame Sherri castle remains and the extensive hiking trail system available within the Madame Sherri Forest and beyond.  Maps for this hiking system are available on the website.

The Chesterfield Conservation Commission wishes to express our thanks for these volunteers and their support from C&S Wholesale Grocers.  It is volunteers like this who allow us to manage such a large area of responsibility.

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2016-10-28T16:37:07Z 2016-10-28T16:37:07Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2016/10/taking-action-for-wildlife Taking Action for Wildlife

The town of Chesterfield contains a substantial swath of State of New Hampshire Tier I Wildlife Habitat.  This is shown in red on the accompanying map and, as is also shown, a substantial portion of the Wantastiquet-Monandock Greenway Trail is within this highly rated wildlife habitat landscape.  This information was gathered as part of the most recent update of the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan (2015).  To learn more about what you can do as a landowner, volunteer, conservation commissioner, etc., to save and protect these unique landscapes, google TakingActionForWildlife.org.

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2016-10-21T14:56:23Z 2016-10-21T14:56:23Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2015/10/thanks-for-all-the-help Thanks for All the Help!

Ancient Oaks BridgeAncient Oaks Bridge, Friedsam Town ForestAncient Oaks Bridge, Friedsam Town Forest
 

The Chesterfield Conservation Commission would like to acknowledge the support of our volunteers, our dedicated bridge builders, the Town of Chesterfield and the financial support  from The Quabbin-to Cardigan Partnership Trail Grants. These small trail grants are offered to specifically support the development, improvement, maintenance and protection of hiking trails in the Q2C region. The Commission has been very fortunate to be the recipient of several small  trail grants.
 

New bridge, Madame Sherri ForestNew bridge, Madame Sherri ForestNew bridge, Madame Sherri Forest The Chesterfield Conservation Commission has developed and maintains three different major trail projects with partners: the Friedsam Town Forest (220 acres with 4 miles of trails), the Madame Sherri Forest (owned by the Forest Society) which connects to the James O'Neil, Sr. Forest (513 acres with 7 trails) and 6 acres of the Wantastiquet- Monadnock Keene Connector Trail. These trails link the Wantastiquet State Forest to Pisgah State Park and the California Brook Natural Area (6,000 acres) as part of the Greenway link between Brattleboro, VT. and Keene, NH. Two of our responsibilities are managing town land and developing open space recreational opportunities through construction and maintenance of hiking trails. We are currently in the process of improving walkways and bridges in both the Friedsam Town Forest and in the James O'Neil, Sr. Forest on the popular Ann Stoke's Loop Trail.
 

Sunday, October 11 was a perfect day of sunshine, leaves and volunteers who joined in to carry the rough hemlock boards to the work sites. This volunteer effort will allow Lew Shelley (SnowHawk LLC) to improve two new walkways on the current trail systems. Later this month, Rob Koning (KonTech Design) will be improving the decking and rails on the Ravine Bridge in the Friedsam Town Forest.

Big thanks to the Friedsam Town Forest Crew: Jon and Val Starbuck, Ken Walton, Graham Golden, Joslin Frank, Kathy Thatcher, and Greg Hammett with his cross country helpers from the Chesterfield School, Tanner and Jeremy Faucher and Melanie and Jacob Migneault.

Big thanks to the James O'Neil, Sr. Forest crew, Patti and John Hudachek, Phil Hueber, Steve Lowe and the kindness of hikers found in the Madame Sherri Forest, Anna and Jake.

Nice trail work, folks.

Lynne Borofsky
Chesterfield Conservation Commission
Box 175
Chesterfield, NH 03443
 

(For questions only, not to publish 603-363-8386)
 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2015-10-19T02:31:11Z 2015-10-19T02:31:11Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2015/4/spring-fling Spring Fling

                                     Spring on the “Dort Trail”

 

It’s a tradition in the Duston household to end the Chesterfield ski/snowshoe season by accessing the park through the FOP (aka Dort) property off Route 63.  This access is chosen because it is on the north side of the mountain and therefore tends to be shady, and it is not highly used in the winter.  These two facts lead to it having the best chance for late season snow cover in the park.  The work the Friends did on the road to the shelter, under the direction of John Herrick and his tractor, reduced the water problem, always an issue for spring snow playing!

 

Although we had gone out the week before with Jon and Kathy Thatcher, and taken some shelter pictures, I hadn’t taken a picture of this all-important outbuilding!

 

 

We choose a route directly past the shelter, staying on level ground and not going uphill to Hubbard Hill on the right.  We continued in that same general direction and with the sunny day and still good snow cover it was a treat.  It is an area few people visit so it becomes a kind of exploratory adventure (of course we could always follow our tracks back but … ).  After some time we came to an old road, unmarked by snowshoes or snowmobiles, and turned right to stay in (or at least toward) the park. Difficult to show on a photo but very nice and fairly easy to follow; mostly surrounded by small evergreens.

 

 

Eventually the road swung north and headed downhill. Not wanting to go in either of those directions we took a sharp right, further into the park.  Now things were different as we headed back in the general direction we had come, mostly following a stream up a ravine.  Luckily we didn’t have to cross the stream as it was substantial and open (!), and also luckily there was enough flat ground next to the stream so we could mostly avoid the sidehill.  Looking at the topo map later I think we were in the ravine that leads to the northern (and flater) shoulder of Hubbard Hill.  We never came to the Hubbard Hill Trail so we must have been going parallel to it to the northeast.  Figuring we wouldn’t get lost because we would hit either our outbound trail, the Dort Trail, or the Hubbard Hill Trail, we continued with the sun roughly on our left.  I got a lot of guide credit, mostly dumb luck, as we came out back at the shelter!  Going down the Dort Trail was a little sad knowing the season was over, but we cheered up when we thought of all the great snowshoeing this season at Friedsam and Madame Sherri’s, as well as in the Park.

 

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2015-04-25T22:25:49Z 2015-04-25T22:25:49Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2015/2/heart-healthy-valentines-day-adventure-2/14/15 Heart Healthy Valentine's Day Adventure, 2/14/15

Please join the Chesterfield Conservation Commission
for a two hour adventure in the Friedsam Town Forest

 

Saturday, February 14th, 11:00AM

For experienced back-country skiers & snowshoers on the new ski trail

Hot Chocolate and Refreshments will be shared

 

Meet at the Upper Lot
From route 9, take route 63 South for one mile.  Turn right on Twin Brook Road
The Upper Lot is on the right.  Parking is limited- please carpool.
No dogs please

 

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2015-02-03T16:41:20Z 2015-02-03T16:41:20Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2015/1/2014-annual-report 2014 Annual Report

Chesterfield Conservation Commission

Commission LogoCommission Logo

2014 was a year of CCC presentations, celebratory unveilings and commendable work from our  trail adopter volunteer force.

Spring was the official unveiling of the kiosks at the Town Office building and the Chesterfield Gorge displaying the Recreation Opportunities (public lands, hiking trails, bike routes, boat landings and snowmobiling trails) in the Town of Chesterfield. The kiosks were paid for from a grant secured from the Q2C (Quabbin to Cardigan), the map prepared by Steve Woleryszak of the Southwest Regional Planning and GPS work by the Monadnock Conservancy. The event showcased the Chesterfield Gorge restoration by the Friends of the Chesterfield Gorge and the new interest of the State of New Hampshire for supporting the Gorge.

The commission also added to the tree planting plan presented by Bob Brockman, this year was the care and maintenance of three trees in the center of town.

Summer work included our continued financial support of the Spofford Lake Associations Lake Host Program and again this year the biologist found no invasive plant species in Spofford Lake. Other activities including a collaboration with the Chesterfield Historical Society as Lynne Borofsky presented on the life of Madame Sherri in the picnic area of the Madame Sherri Forest. New mailboxes holding trial maps painted by the Chesterfield students under the art direction of Cindy Walsh were placed at the trailheads in town.

Ann Stokes examines the New Kiosk

The Fall event in the Madame Sherri Forest celebrated the new bridge and the unveiling of the Madame Sherri Poster designed by Tom Duston based on the research of Lynne Borofsky. The bridge was build by Rob Koning and paid for with a grant the commission received from Fields Pond Foundation in Waltham, MA and the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. The poster Kiosk was a collaboration with the handi work of Ray Dunn and financial support of the Chesterfield Historical Society and the Forest Society. Anne Stokes was able to join in a historical presentation about the story of Madame, the castle and its journey to its present use by hikers, brides, family reunions and ghost hunters.

 

Tom Duston and Lynne Borofsky also presented at the Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions about the work of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission through the years as an inspiration to other commissions around the state.

As always, the year had with various challenges, the gate at old Proudy Road was damaged again and vandalism was discovered at Pierce Island. These issues as well as trail maintenance keep the commission busy.

The Commission’s work would not be possible this year without the amazing amount of volunteer work from our trail adopters and volunteers who remove trees, clear trails, repair bridges, paint and put up signs, update maps and designed a new Friedsam x-country ski trail. Much thanks to: Ray Dunn, Val and Jon Starbuck, Pam and Ken Walton, Connie LeFleur, Kathy Thatcher, Chris Hardy, Ed and Barb Fletcher, Jon Glende, Laurel Powell, John Herrick, Graham Golden, Bob abd Nancy Miller, Wayne Dingman, Pat Grace and Scott the free guy.

Please check out our website chesterfieldoutdoors.com managed by Jeff Newcomer, and don’t hesitate to join our volunteers or be placed on our info elist by calling Tom Duston at 256-6082.

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2015-02-01T00:30:07Z 2015-02-01T00:30:07Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2014/10/dedication-of-the-new-foot-bridge-and-kiosk-at-the-madame-sherri-forest Dedication of the New Foot Bridge and Kiosk at the Madame Sherri Forest

Ann Stokes, Paula DustonAnn Stokes and Paula Duston cutting the tape on the new BridgeAnn Stokes and Paula Duston cutting the tape on the new Bridge

Ann Stokes and Paula Duston cutting the tape on the new bridge.

 

On September 27th 2014, about 50 people joined members of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission at the Madame Sherri Forest in Chesterfield, New Hampshire to dedicate a new foot bridge at the entrance to the forest. The bridge was built by Rob Konig Md Sherri KioskMd Sherri KioskAnn Stokes studies the new Kiosk and replaced a span which had become unstable. The conservation commission which has managed much of the maintenance and improvements in the Forest was represented by Tom Dustin, Lynne Borofsky Pam Walton, Amy Lafontaine and Jeff Newcomer. We were especially honored to have Ann Stokes on hand for the dedication. Ann knew Madame Sherri and, by coincidence, in 1965, on the day that Sherri died in a Brattleboro nursing home, Ann signed the agreement to purchase the land that became the Madame Sherri Forest. Tom and Lynne hosted the dedication ceremony which included the unveiling of a new informational Kiosk outlining the life of Madame Sherri and her "Castle" in the woods of Chesterfield.  Thanks to the Fields Pond Foundation for their $3,000 grant supporting the improvements at the Madame Sherri Forest.

 

 

 

Md Sherri's storyMd Sherri's storyLynne Borofsky discussing the Madame story

Following the ceremony, the party moved up the trail to the castle ruins where Lynne presented a wonderful summary of her research into the Madame's life and times. There have been many misconceptions and rumors about Madame Sherri, some quite scandalous, but through Lynne's exhaustive investigation we discovered that the real story is much less risqué and infinitely more varied and interesting.

 

The 488 acres of the Madame Sherri Forest is held in conservation by the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests. For more information about the forest check out our

Madame Sherri Forest page.

More photos and information about Madame Sherri can be found on Jeff Newcomer's Digital Photography Bog at:

Madame Sherri’s Album

 

Photos by Jesse Duston 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2014-10-30T15:20:23Z 2014-10-30T15:20:23Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2014/8/a-presentation-on-madame-sherri A Presentation on Madame Sherri

On Wednesday August 6, Lynne Borofsky, a member of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, spoke to forty spellbound attendees about the life and forest castle of the infamous Madame Antoinette Sherri. The presentation began at the picnic table area of the Madame Sherri Forest and included a walk to the nearby “castle” to view the remains of the elegant, spiral staircase. Afterwards blueberry and cranberry wine and Hershey’s chocolate (two of Madame’s favorite treats) were available along with other refreshments. 

Lynne has done extensive research to correct misconceptions surrounding Madame Sherri’s life and noted that the castle was in fact not a castle and not her home…..but a comfortable house built for entertaining her myriad of friends. Photos and comments that Lynne shared during her presentation can be viewed at the Chesterfield Historical Society where Lynne has developed a photo display.  

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2014-08-23T16:59:21Z 2014-08-23T16:59:21Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2014/6/chesterfield-gorge-kiosk-opening Chesterfield Gorge Kiosk Opening

                    


On Saturday May 10th, a new kiosk was unveiled at Chesterfield Gorge to celebrate "the Gorge's" restoration by a group of hard-working volunteers. Formed two years ago, the Friends of the Gorge have worked hard to bring the Gorge back to it's status as one of the premier natural wonders of Cheshire County. Years of neglect had led to its gaining a reputation as the center of various unsavory activities.  To celebrate the end of that era, more than 30 people were in attendance for this event, and most joined the walk down into the Gorge. Here the volunteers had cleaned out the large amounts of dead trees and brush so that there are now more wide open perspectives, sturdy bridges, and views of the rushing water, as they look down into what some have called  "The Grand Canyon of Chesterfield."  A loop trail of about a half hour makes it possible to circumvent the whole Gorge and see it from many different perspective.

One side of the Gorge’s new two-sided kiosk features the State of New Hampshire’s signage related to the expectations of visitors to the Gorge, as well as information on its geology and trails. The other side of the kiosk contains a newly created map of the recreational opportunities in Chesterfield. This map shows all the public lands hiking trails, bike routes, boat landings and snowmobiling trails in the town.

The group in attendance was treated to a table of refreshments as well as celebratory remarks describing and celebrating the collaboration of volunteers and organizations which made the event possible.  Litter and brush from the parking area had been removed and new picnic tables are now in place.  The kiosk itself was partially funded by the Quabbin to Cardigan (Q2C) Initiative, a grant secured by Lynne Borofsky of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission (CCC), with the remainder of the funding coming from the Commission itself.  The inset map was prepared by Steve Woleryszak of Southwest Regional Planning Commission using GPS work completed by the Monadnock Conservancy, and again with funding from the CCC.  The State of New Hampshire approved of the project and welcomed the opportunity to hang their information on one side.  They have stepped forward with new plans for reopening the visitor's center at the Gorge.


The Friends of the Chesterfield Gorge were represented by John Koppmann, Jeff Scott, Neil Jenness and Steven Lowe.  Others in attendance from the Conservation Commission, in addition to Borofsky, were Chair Tom Duston, Amy LaFontaine, Pam Walton and Commission Photographer Jeff Newcomer. Others of note attending included Chris Wells from the Forest Society, facilitator's of the grant, and Lucy Weber, New Hampshire State Representative from District 4 (???).  The spirit of good conservation, collaboration and hiking, on a nice sunny day, were enjoyed by all ages at this beautiful spot.



Another kiosk has been placed outside the Chesterfield Town Offices to inform all the residents and visitors about the recreational opportunities in Chesterfield.

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2014-06-09T22:26:36Z 2014-06-09T22:26:36Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2014/4/spinning-ice Spinning Ice!

The unveiling of the New Kiosk at Chesterfield Gorge (May 10th ... see events) seems an appropriate time to feature a fascinating photo taken in the Gorge during this past winter.  Taken by Friends of the Gorge activist (and great friend of conservation) Jeff Scott, the photo features a spinning circle of ice within the frozen stream.  Jeff went to get his video camera and by the time he returned the circle had frozen into the surrounding ice.  The circle was about 6' in diameter.  I have been looking at frozen streams and interesting ice formations my whole life and have never seen anything like this.

 

Tom Duston

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2014-04-29T22:06:49Z 2014-04-29T22:06:49Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2014/2/conservation-commission-annual-report---2013 Conservation Commission Annual Report - 2013

                                                Conservation Commission Annual Report – 2013

2013 was a busy year for the Commission.  Although our activities are outlined here, more detail may be found at our new website, chesterfieldoutdoors.com.  Many thanks to Commissioner Jeff Newcomer for his willingness to produce a website that is quite accessible to commission members, several of whom are technological neophytes!

Friedsam Town Forest, managed by the Commission, was the site of several interesting developments.  With its five miles of trails, and three parking lots, “Friedsam” is a popular destination for local hikers and dog walkers.  Perhaps the biggest news was the official designation of our aged red oak on the Ancient Oaks Trail as the largest red oak in the county.  And at roughly 325 years, it is also the oldest living thing in Chesterfield!  Our trail adopters have been very busy in Friedsam and hopefully our hikers have noticed improved trail conditions and signage.  There are now two benches along trails in Friedsam, one on Audrey’s Meander and one on the Cemetery Loop. The former was installed as part of the rejuvenation of the trail named for former teacher and current Joan’s Pantry volunteer Audrey Erickson.  A small group, including Audrey, enjoyed the unveiling of “Audrey’s Bench” (constructed by trail adopter Ray Dunn).

The Conservation Commission has had constructed two kiosks, one at the Town Office and one at Chesterfield Gorge.  In the spring these kiosks will be inaugurated with maps containing information about conservation land, hiking sites, and other recreational opportunities in town.  These were purchased primarily with funds from a Quabbin to Cardigan grant obtained by Commissioner Lynne Borofsky.

The Conservation Commission serves as informal manager for the Madame Sherri Forest, which is owned by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (“The Forest Society”).  Both the castle and the hiking trail system, accessible from the parking lot, are very popular as a destination site for hikers, history buffs, ghost hunters, wedding participants and film makers. An example of the latter is the film Northern Borders, released in 2013, which has two scenes from the Madame Sherri Castle.

Once again the Commission has partnered with the Spofford Lake Association to help ensure that the high quality of the lake is maintained.  An immediate potential problem is aquatic invasive plant species and we continue to contribute from the Conservation Fund to the Lake Host Program to monitor and prevent such invasives.  In the annual expert search for such invasives by Michael Lennon of Acquatic Control Technologies, none were found!  A longer run issue involving the lake is the run-off from its watershed.  In 2013 Jeff Littleton of Moosewood Ecological completed a watershed inventory, financed by the Commission and the SLA.  This will serve as a baseline for monitoring future run-off.

The “trail adopter” program has blossomed and an adopter (or adopters!) has been found for each of our Chesterfield trails, all 15 miles of them.  We celebrated our trail adopters and other trail workers (chainsaw operators for example!) with a gathering in the fall.

 

Lynne Borofsky                                          

Jeff Newcomer

                                                                                                                                                               

Tom Duston, Chair                                    Kathy Thatcher

Steve Hardy                                                Pam Walton

Amy LaFontaine

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2014-02-10T21:09:16Z 2014-02-10T21:09:16Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2013/12/overnight-shelter-at-pisgah Overnight Shelter at Pisgah!

The Friends of Pisgah have erected an oversight shelter next to the Davis Hill Trail just outside the northwest boundary of the park.  It is a standard Adirondack three-sided shelter and will hold 6 to 8 people.  A closed in outhouse is also on site.  The shelter is somewhat more than a mile from the Kilburn parking lot and about a twenty minute walk up the "Dort Trail" (currently unmarked).

At the moment there are no directional signs but these will be in place by spring.  If you wish directions to the shelter email Tom at tomandpauladuston@gmail.com.

 

New ShelterA nice open and sunny spot.

 

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2013-12-28T18:08:40Z 2013-12-28T18:08:40Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2013/12/effort-helps-preserve-land-regions-identity Effort Helps Preserve Land, Region's Identity

We appreciate the recognition in the Sentinel of all the work done by so many to protect, for generations to come, the California Brook Natural Area:

Sentinel Editorial

Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013

For a time, particularly preceding the development of the Monadnock Marketplace shopping center, a common refrain in Keene was "We don’t want to become another Nashua."

That this was an exceedingly unlikely possibility, given the distance Hike of Keene ConnectorHike of Keene ConnectorHike of Keene Connector, October 2012 between the Elm City and any sizable metropolitan area, was beside the point, apparently. The fact was, locals had seen the suburban sprawl extending from Amherst to Nashua — with its high concentration of big-box stores, fast-food restaurants, strip malls and parking lots — and found it lacking compared to the trees, fields and homes that dot the roadways hereabouts.

 

In fact, the scenic splendor of the Monadnock Region is one of the main "quality-of-life" benefits often cited by employers, real estate agents and other civic boosters. Others include the opportunity to hike, bike, fish, swim, sail, leaf-peep, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and, not infrequently, spy fox, deer, bears and moose.

All of those luxuries are aided by the preservation of lands throughout the area. There is, as civilization advances, a constant tug of war between development and conservation, between grass and pavement. It’s not just about views, but water and air quality, history and recreation.

New Hampshire’s governments understand this, from the state and county level to our municipalities. But generally, regional planning is a challenge in a state that promotes local decision-making.

That’s where regional land trusts come in, helping coordinate such efforts, arranging for financing and working with communities and landowners to protect areas from overdevelopment.

W-MTrail, Keene ConnectoreW-MTrail, Keene Connector The Monadnock Conservancy is, by any measure, among the most successful of these organizations in New Hampshire. Since 1989, it has helped preserve 17,000 acres in the Monadnock Region.

Fortunately, local officials are often on the same page, an example of which is the collaboration between the conservancy and the communities of Keene, Chesterfield and Swanzey to preserve 688 acres as part of a planned swath running from Pisgah State Park to Keene’s West Hill.

The three communities approved $66,000 in funding to help the conservancy acquire three key properties. The project’s ultimate goal is to create a 28,223-acre corridor known as the California Brook Natural Area. The conservancy added 903 acres to the project in 2006, and 300 more in 2012.

Make no mistake: Progress is a good thing, and there are plentiful opportunities in the region for development. But thanks to efforts such as this, that growth will not come at the cost of the benefits we’ve come to identify with the Monadnock Region.

 

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2013-12-28T04:15:47Z 2013-12-28T04:15:47Z
http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/blog/2013/11/audrey-s-meander-rededicated Audrey’s Meander Rededicated

Audrey's Bench, Friedsam ForestAudrey's Bench, Friedsam ForestAudrey Ericson tries out her bench in Friedsam Town Forest

 

On Saturday November 9, a group of Chesterfield residents gathered to celebrate the upgrading of Audrey’s Meander, a favorite hiking trail in the Friedsam Town Forest. Named after Audrey Erickson, long time teacher at the Chesterfield School, and since her retirement a dedicated volunteer at Joan’s Pantry, the trail recently received a substantial facelift …

Back in 1994, Audrey retired after many years teaching mostly third and fourth grades at the Chesterfield School. Since Audrey was known as Meandering Audrey's meander, Friedsam ForestMeandering Audrey's Meander, Friedsam ForestMeandering Audrey's Meander, a serious walker it was felt that foremost among the honors bestowed on her would appropriately be a named hiking trail in the Friedsam Town Forest. Hence the Audrey’s Meander Trail was born. Through the years this trail has been hiked and enjoyed by scores of hikers of all ages, both locals and visitors. The only other trails in Friedsam at this time were the Doug Sargent Trail and an overgrown older trail, created as part of a boy scout project.

Through the years, under the management of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, several additional trails have been opened in Friedsam, and different types of pedestrian use have increased substantially. Over time the original wooden signs honoring Audrey’s trail deteriorated and finally fell and became part of the forest floor. Use of the trail declined somewhat as without signs casual hikers were not as likely to know of the existence of the trail.

As part of a recent effort to decentralize the maintenance of the trail system in Friedsam (and elsewhere in Chesterfield) the Conservation Commission established a cadre of "trail adopters", volunteers who would be responsible for different trails in the system. Chesterfield resident Ray Dunn, husband of long time Chesterfield teacher Darlene Dunn, came forward to "adopt" the Audrey’s Meander Trail. With the help of fellow resident Graham Golden, Ray worked to clear and repair the trail, with Graham installing stepping stones in muddy areas. The Audrey Ericson, Friedsam ForestAudrey Ericson, Friedsam ForestAudrey Ericson, Friedsam Forest Chesterfield Conservation Commission obtained new art signs to show the beginnings of the trail. Ray then had the idea of building and installing a bench honoring Audrey at a particularly peaceful and scenic spot on a corner of the trail next to the southern Twin Brook.

So, on the 9th this group of residents joined Audrey for a rededication of the trail and the unveiling of the new trail signs and the Audrey bench. A plaque honoring Audrey was also installed near the bench. After a few brief introductions and remarks by Ray and by Tom Duston, Chair of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, refreshments were served by Lynne Borofsky, member of the Commission. The attached photographs were taken by Commission member Jeff Newcomer from Partridge Brook Reflections.

With Audrey Erickson’s long time and continuing role at Joan’s Pantry, in addition to her stellar career at the Chesterfield School, it seems fitting to continue to honor one of our most distinguished citizens by rededicating the Audrey’s Meander Trail with the new signs, an upgraded trail, and the honoring bench and plaque.

For more pictures check out Jeff Newcomer's Gallery.

 

Audrey's Bench Dedication, Friedsam ForestAudrey's Bench Dedication, Friedsam ForestAudrey's Bench Dedication, Friedsam Forest

Chesterfield Conservation Commission tomandpauladuston@gmail.com (C) Chesterfield Conservation Commission 2013-11-12T00:11:56Z 2013-11-12T00:11:56Z