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Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Our Mission

The purpose of MMRG is to identify and protect important natural resource areas, including water resources, farm and forestlands, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, cultural and scenic areas; to educate others about these efforts, and to join protected lands to form greenways.  LEARN MORE



. Conserving Your Land: A Landowner’s Introduction to Voluntary Land Conservation




MMRG Accepts First Easement: 203 Acres in Farmington and New Durham


Standing from left to right: Richard Ballou -Farmington CC, Resta Detwiler Farmington CC, Bruce Rich -MMRG Board member, Dottie Bean -Farmington resident, Virginia Long -MMRG Executive Director, Cyndi Paulin -MMRG Board member, Keith Fletcher -MMRG Director of Land Conservation, Dave Connolly -Farmington CC Chair, Cynthia Wyatt -MMRG Vice Chair, (front) Jacquelin Bissell -Farmington CC,(back) Bill Malay -New Durham CC. Seated from left to right: Nancy Spencer Smith -MMRG Board Chair, and Rodney and Judy Thompson -the landowners/easement donors.


On November 12, a roomful of enthusiastic supporters celebrated as Rodney and Judy Thompson of Farmington donated a conservation easement on their 203-acre property off the Meaderboro Road in Farmington and New Durham. This conservation agreement assures that the natural and historic resources of the land will be preserved in perpetuity. The easement was gifted to Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG), with the Towns of Farmington and New Durham serving as Executory Interest (backup) holders.


MMRG Board Chair, Nancy Spencer-Smith, noted that this easement is a milestone accomplishment for MMRG and signals that MMRG is now a full-fledged land trust. As holder of this easement – MMRG’s first – MMRG takes responsibility for ensuring that the Thompson property remains undivided and undeveloped into the future.


After the signing, landowner Rod Thompson thanked MMRG for being a ‘good sport’ and for working with him and Judy to create an easement that’s not the standard ‘cookie cutter’ type. Said Rod, “We want to thank all at MMRG for agreeing to become the easement holder and specifically Keith Fletcher [MMRG Director of Land Conservation] for his working out the [easement] language to our satisfaction ... We also want to thank the Conservation Commissions and Select Boards of both Farmington and New Durham for their unanimous support as well as others unknown who have assisted in making this easement a reality.”


MMRG Chair Smith added her thanks to MMRG’s many project partners and to the Thompsons, saying, “This day would not be happening without Rod and Judy Thompson, owners of the 200+ acres of field and forest lands inhabited by many diverse, important species. They sought out MMRG to permanently preserve their ancestral area, being mindful of the need to protect wildlife and water quality and of our obligation to save the landmarks of those who have gone before us. The Thompsons’ gracious offer to conserve this land, without asking for financial remuneration, means that miles of beautiful stone walls, carefully constructed by farmers of bygone years, will be conserved for generations to come.”


The Thompsons also generously helped pay for project expenses. In addition, the towns of Farmington and New Durham, an anonymous family charitable foundation, and many generous individuals made important contributions. The project was also funded by a grant from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Project (PREP), which works to protect the rivers, lakes, marshes and estuaries of the NH seacoast. Said Rachel Rouillard of PREP, “We are pleased to be able to support the conservation of this important landscape in the Salmon Falls watershed. MMRG’s work to protect lands that contribute to improved water quality is critical, especially given the number of communities in Maine and New Hampshire that rely on the Salmon Falls for drinking water.”


Although the conservation easement does not open the land to public use, future MMRG-sponsored field trips on the property will allow participants to enjoy the mature woods and historic stone piles that are now preserved in perpetuity. The easement also provides for continued agriculture on these prime farm soils and protects the many headwater streams that begin on the property. In addition, the conserved land is a prominent and now protected part of the view from Little Blue Job Mountain, appreciated by numerous hikers.


As the signing ceremony drew to a close, MMRG Board member Cyndi Paulin, Farmington Conservation Commission Chair Dave Connolly, and New Durham Conservation Commissioner Bill Malay, each in turn summed up the feeling in the room with their thanks to Rod and Judy Thompson for this generous and thoughtful gift to future generations.


Historic Property Conserved in Milton


Thirty-seven acres of land between Governors and Hare Roads in Milton have been preserved in perpetuity through two contiguous conservation easements donated to the Town by landowners Jonathan and Anne Nute. The donation and permanent conservation of the property was made official on Tuesday evening, December 3 at the Milton Town Hall when the easement documents were signed by the Nutes and Milton Selectmen Tom Gray and Mike Beaulieu. As holder of the easements, the Town of Milton takes responsibility for ensuring that the properties remain undeveloped and that other easement conditions are met. Also signing was Art Slocum, Chair of Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG), which is taking ‘executory’, interest in the easements, as a backup to the Town. Also present were Cynthia Wyatt, Chair of the Milton Conservation Commission and MMRG Vice Chair; David Levin, Milton Conservation Commissioner and MMRG Director; Michelle Beauchamp, Milton Town Clerk; and Kim Ladisheff, Milton Land Use Clerk (not in photo).


The property, a registered Tree Farm with historic stone walls, has been in the Nute family since 1850, when, according to Jonathan Nute, “it was one of many prosperous farms along the Ridge.” Since then, most farms have been replaced by houses and the Nutes wish to preserve this remaining undeveloped area of the Ridge. Said Jonathan, “These easements protect 37 acres of working forest and more than 1,600 feet of road frontage. In 1937, my grandfather and father planted white pine trees on the property, some of which have been already harvested; another thinning is planned soon.  Knowing that this property will remain forestland, preserved in partnership with the Town and MMRG, really gives us peace of mind and helps to honor all those generations in the past.”


Moose Mountain Regional Greenways (MMRG) collaborated closely with the Milton Conservation Commission (MCC) and the Nutes to work out the details of the easement. To assist the project, MMRG donated the consulting work of their Director for Land Conservation, Keith Fletcher. Accepting this executory interest is the first step as a land trust for MMRG, which decided earlier this year to begin holding conservation easements.


Cynthia Wyatt, MCC Chair, explained that the Commission has set aside money from its conservation fund to enable it to carry out its future stewardship responsibilities and monitor the property yearly. The MCC undertakes this monitoring on all conserved town properties to protect their natural resources: forest, field, and most importantly, water resources.


Even with donated easements such as these generously offered by Jon and Anne Nute, financial partnerships like that between the MCC and MMRG are usually necessary to complete a conservation project. Furthermore, some easements may be beyond the ability of Milton’s Conservation Commission to hold but still essential to preserving natural resources that are vital to Milton’s economic health, in particular, the water quality of Three Ponds and the Salmon Falls River. “For these reasons”, mentioned Wyatt, “the Conservation Commission would like to be able to financially support Milton conservation projects in which the easement will be held by a private non-profit land trust. To authorize this type of financial transaction, the MCC will have a warrant article on the 2014 ballot asking the town to approve use of the Milton Conservation Fund to assist organizations like MMRG and other land trusts to conserve properties in Milton.”


For more information on the Milton Conservation Commission, see their webpage Visit to learn more about Moose Mountains Regional Greenways.




Union Meadows Conserved at Last!


“Union Meadows”, a new 122-acre Wildlife Management Area in Wakefield, has been conserved through the collaborative work of N.H. Fish and Game, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways, the Town of Wakefield Conservation Commission and the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests.


N.H. Fish and Game acquired the property to protect its outstanding wildlife and water resources, and to provide the public with recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and nature study. Conserving the property brings protection to more than a mile of shoreline on the Branch River and Union Meadows.


“The Branch River is home to the bridle shiner, a state threatened species, and the lower stretch of the river along the property is great waterfowl habitat, as is all of Union Meadows,” said Rich Cook, a N.H. Fish and Game land agent. “This property has been identified in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan as the highest ranked habitat in the State by ecological condition.”


Read More






MMRG Supports New Trail in Brookfield/Wakefield


MMRG recently donated $1,000 to the Wakefield/Brookfield Trails, Rails Action Committee (TRAC) in a ceremony with representatives from each group. According to Board Chair Art Slocum (not in photo) “MMRG is glad to support the Wakefield/Brookfield Rails to Trails effort as it will provide both towns with a great pathway for all to enjoy. MMRG is dedicated to both conservation and outdoor recreation for the towns that we support. Hopefully this new beginning will eventually result in this trail being extended to connect with Wolfeboro’s Cotton Valley and Bridge Falls trails. We hope that with this contribution this part of the trail will soon be completed so that people from our area and beyond and can walk, bike, and run on this new path while they are able to get outdoors and view the woodlands and wetlands along this scenic path.”





A Forester’s Advice to MMRG Workshop Group


A recent forestry workshop presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm (BHF) was graced with a perfect autumn morning and a group of a dozen interested and knowledgeable participants. Consulting forester Daniel Stepanauskas led the group up Davis Hill in Wakefield while pointing out features of the forest and answering many questions.


Stepanauskas explained that the forest we see in New Hampshire today is a product of numerous random economic decisions in the past. We can try to offset past negative impacts and benefit our current forest by using thoughtful management techniques to enhance the growth of species that benefit both mankind and wildlife and to facilitate forest adaptations to a changing climate. Climate change and invasive pests are bringing additional impacts. Ash trees are already declining due to reduced calcium levels from acid rain. The recent invasion of the emerald ash borer in NH ( is nearly certain to spell the end of this fine tree species in our state for the foreseeable future.


Just as climate change affects our forest, forest practices can also influence the carbon cycle and our climate. Forests are carbon gluttons and in New England, the white pine is the most efficient species in the consumption of carbon dioxide. When wood is burned, nearly all of the carbon it contains is released into the atmosphere immediately. On the other hand, when wood is left to naturally decay as branches and slash, roughly 30% of its carbon is released into the atmosphere. The rest stays in the soil and is utilized by the regrowth of the forest. Good forest management practices try to imitate nature as much as possible by allowing the nutrients to return back to the soil. The soil is the source of life in the forest, and is the most important aspect of the forest ecosystem.


The quote of the day from Stepanauskas: “Leave the anomalies!” An unusual species, a very old tree, or forest should be left to live out its life. In addition to their intrinsic value, these trees frequently offer wonderful wildlife habitat. Additional advice: if you want to encourage the growth of desirable trees, wait for a good seed year, then create openings in the forest of the right size for successful germination of the desired species. Again, imitate nature: individual trees die and small openings occur in the forests of northern New England; large openings are very rare. To assess seed production, try imitating Stepanauskas, who lies on his back in springtime and looks through binoculars at the tree crowns.



MMRG, a non-profit land conservation organization, works to conserve and connect valuable water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land and offers educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see


Two Land Trusts Hiked Copple Crown Mountain


Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) hosted a two and a half mile hike up Copple Crown Mountain in Brookfield, NH, on Saturday morning, September 28. Thirty participants hiked and learned about the Copple Crown Mountain area from Art Slocum, who is MMRG Board Chair and LRCT Property Adopter for the LRCT 731-acre Copple Crown Conservation Area. Slocum talked about the former Copple Crown Mountain Ski Area, stone walls, cellar holes and the history of this part of Brookfield, NH.


There are 136 miles of stone walls in the town of Brookfield and during the hike, participants walked along Woodman Hill Road, a dirt road bordered by stone walls, and were able to inspect two cellar holes. The area once had twenty-three farms that were established with settlers from Portsmouth, Dover, and Rochester, thanks to construction of the Governor John Wentworth Road. Woodman Hill Road once was the main road from Brookfield to New Durham. With the opening of the Erie Canal, industrial development in New Hampshire cities, the sharp drop in the price for merino wool, and the devastating effects of the Civil War, the area slowly lost these families as they abandoned their farms to move to cities or head west to better farm lands in the period from 1830 to 1870.


From the top of Copple Crown Mountain’s main summit (elevation 1768 Feet), Slocum pointed out the mountain ranges that surround Lake Winnipesaukee, the Moose, Belknap, Sandwich, and Ossipee Mountains, as well as Mt Chocorua and Mt Washington. He noted that Copple Crown is higher than Mt Major in Alton and that from Copple Crown’s East Peak the view includes Caverly Mountain, Merrymeeting Lake and Mt Agamenticus in York County, ME.


In addition to these fabulous views, the outing group enjoyed looking at a porcupine crouched on the branch of a tree near the summit.


MMRG and LRCT are both Land Trusts serving New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and the small towns in Southern Carroll and Northern Strafford Counties. LRCT is completing another successful season of their Excursions Program where participants enjoyed hikes, kayak paddles and lectures on LRCT Properties. LRCT has conserved over 22,000 acres throughout the Lakes Region in more than 120 properties. LRCT’s conservation work preserves community character, conserves critical wildlife habitat and diverse ecosystems, protects natural landmarks and scenic landscapes, and provides recreational opportunities for people of all ages. To learn more, visit



Calendar of Outreach Events

Sunday, May 3; 10 am–1 pm (contingent on weather and vernal pool amphibian activity)

Vernal Pool Walk/Workshop

Union Meadows, Wakefield

Rich Cook, land agent for the NH Fish & Game Department, will lead us to vernal pool sites in a search of the amphibians that briefly make these pools their home. FREE.



April Date and Time TBA

Earth Week Family Walk, Milton

Kari Lygren will lead families along the woods trails of Branch Hill Farm across from the NH Farm Museum. Co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm and the NH Farm Museum. FREE. Registration not required.


Saturday, May 23; 10 am–2 pm

11th Annual Branch River Paddle, Milton

Bring your kayak or canoe for this scenic paddle along the conserved banks of the Branch and Salmon Falls Rivers. An introduction by consulting forester Charlie Moreno and stops en route for birdwatching and more learning opportunities. Boat transport and picnic lunch provided. Co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm/CSFCT. $15 Donation requested.



Saturday, August 8; 10:00–3:00 pm

13th annual Woods, Water and Wildlife Festival; Branch Hill Farm, Milton Mills

This family-friendly celebration of the natural world features fun and educational outdoor activities. Take a hayride to the river, observe and learn about NH wildlife, explore the corn maze, take a discovery walk, watch demonstrations of traditional skills, try your hand at fishing, do crafts with your kids, and more! $5/person, $10/family; Free to kids 12 and under and to MMRG members. Co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm/CSFCT. Event sponsorships available! Volunteers needed!


Thursday, August 20; Time TBA

Stream Habitat Restoration Workshop for Professionals

Branch Hill Farm Forestland in Wakefield

An on site workshop for professional foresters to get updated about best practices in restoring streams to health, benefits for water quality and wildlife, as well as permitting, cost sharing options, and more. Led by consulting forester Dan Stepanauskas and staff of DES, NRCS and Tin Mountain Conservation Center. FREE. Co-sponsored by Branch Hill Farm.


Saturday, August 22; Time TBA

Stream Habitat Restoration Workshop for Beginners

Branch Hill Farm Forestland in Milton

Consulting forester Charlie Moreno will take us on a guided walk to teach the basics of how and why to improve stream habitats to benefit water quality and wildlife. Introductory level for the interested public and landowners FREE.








ALL EVENTS: To pre-register and for directions, call Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email Please do not bring pets to these events.




> Back to Events Calendar



MMRG's 12th Annual Woods, Water and Wildlife Festival Sets A Record!


Well over 600 people attended the 12th annual Woods, Water and Wildlife Festival, presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust on August 9 in Milton Mills. That number doesn't even count the sixty plus volunteers who made the day run smoothly and another thirty or more presenters who offered fun and educational events. Activities spanned the gamut from guided nature walks and a nature's playground in the woods to a horse logging demonstration, displays and discussion of rescued wild animals, kids' fishing, birdhouse building, hayrides to the Salmon Falls River, and much more.



MMRG Executive Director Virginia Long expressed her delight with the successful day. “I loved seeing so many families come back to the festival this year, enjoy new activities and introduce their children to more wonders of nature. But I was even more thrilled each time I met a family who came for the first time and discovered what a fantastic event it is and are already looking forward to next year!”



A first-time festival volunteer, Karen Santoro-Nason was equally enthusiastic. She commented “I can't wait to tell people about it; I will certainly spread the word, this is a great event that you put on.  I am so glad I could help out and plan on being there next year”.


MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren commented, “The day wouldn't happen without the dedicated work of so many volunteer helpers like Karen and we can't enough thank them enough for all their hard work! We also rely on the willingness of many volunteer presenters to come share their enthusiasm and knowledge.”


Added Virginia, “The WWW Festival is MMRG's biggest yearly fundraiser and we are deeply grateful to more than sixty individuals, organizations, and local businesses that sponsored the day's events and to all those who donated raffle and other items. Festival proceeds and sponsorships support our land conservation and educational outreach mission. Please see the thank you lists below and patronize these businesses!”




Event-Goers Walked the Land and Learned history


MMRG recently held a slide show/talk and guided walk to showcase the important natural resources and historical features of a 200 acre farmstead and woodlot about to be placed under conservation easement in Farmington and New Durham. Landowners Rodney and Judy Thompson have generously offered to donate the conservation easement which will be the first held by MMRG. The event was sponsored by Northern Exposure Real Estate.





Branch River Paddlers Enjoyed Birds and Learned about Riparian Ecology


Despite forecasts of showers on Saturday morning, about thirty intrepid paddlers set forth on a 4-1/2 mile scenic trip along the Branch River through lush wetlands to a pullout and picnic spot on Milton Three Ponds. The day turned pleasant and sunny for this 10th annual Branch River Paddle presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (CSFCT) and co-sponsored by M&M Boat Storage/Sunshine Acres Campground. A couple of paddle stops with nature experts provided an educational aspect to the outing.





The Many Moods of Moose

By Lorrie Drake, Board Member of MMRG


Cuddly moose, laid-back moose, raging bull-moose...and disappearing moose. On Monday evening, March 31, wildlife biologist Eric Orff captivated his audience with tales of his funny, frustrating, and thrilling encounters with moose during more than thirty years working for New Hampshire Fish and Game. The program, presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and the Farmington Conservation Commission, and sponsored by Taylor Rental of Farmington, drew more than 50 people to the Old Town Hall in Farmington. Although the talk included wonderful photographs of moose in various settings, Mr. Orff admitted that most of the pictures weren’t his, since the work of tracking, tranquilizing, and transporting a variety of “problem moose” left him without a free hand to use a camera.





MMRG Celebrates!


We held our 2014 Annual Dinner Meeting/Silent Auction in the function barn of The Inn on Main, Wofleboro on Monday evening, February 3. The silent auction was supported by the largest number of donations ever and we extend sincere thanks to the members and businesses (listed at the end of this article) that contributed items. After the silent auction/cocktail hour, the program included a brief business meeting with MMRG news, appreciations and elections, followed by dinner, an award presentation and guest performer.