Brewster Heath Preserve – A Winter View

Members and Friends of the Wentworth Watershed Association made it possible to save a wonderful piece of land and one that truly helps to protect the water quality in the Wentworth-Crescent Watershed. A hearty thanks goes out to all who helped.

Presently, the heath is under snow and the herons aren’t frogging and the ducks aren’t dabbling but it is still beautiful. It is also possible to ski over the areas that in the summer time are wet and boggy. This year, a thick layer of snow with then rain on top made for a solid surface and one where you don’t have to worry about falling through into pools of swamp water hiding under the snow.

Looking south in the heath, Copplecrown shows its characteristic shape. Skiing through the area, some of the trees that you see in the picture are being gnawed by beavers so the scenery will keep changing. Much of the heath is a series of beaver dams, most of them small, but they catch water and nutrients and help protect the lakes. As you ski through, there are a number of beaver lodges, some of them seem to be in disrepair as they were abandoned long ago while others have new twigs on top of them.

Below is a picture looking north with the pine trees near where one of the proposed trails reaches the heath. There are visible snowmobile tracks. At this time of year, snow mobiles do little or no damage to any of the vegetation as it is dormant and the snow protects it as well. Skiers and snowshoe tracks were also present but are hard to see in the picture.

Below is a picture looking south, again toward Copplecrown. The property with dry land is all on the right but virtually all of the swampy land has been protected as well.

A bird’s eye view shows the same area. Where the swampy area seems to narrow is Pleasant Valley Rd.

If the bird turned around, the view north to the Ossipee Range with Lake Wentworth on the right showing the wide part of the heath that can be paddled in the Summer.

A recent trip in the wooded part of the property showed a narrow track about 3 or 4 inches wide. It was well trodden and was made by a porcupine going from its den to hemlock trees that seem to be a favorite food at this time of year. They climb the trees and eat the bark, often clipping off little branches that deer will eagerly eat at this time of year. One species helps another although unwittingly.

The den of the porcupine was under the root system of a pine that tipped over. Frost feathers could be seen where the breath of the porcupine froze on the roots of the tree.

Other animals are out and about. A person who is good at identifying animal tracks (and tracking the animals) had recently seen evidence of red and grey fox, bobcat, otter, deer, and mink. The wetlands are indeed wonderlands. Below is a picture of bobcat that was visiting my bird feeder. Given the range of bobcat, this one most likely frequents the heath. In this case, though, it was looking for a fat squirrel for breakfast although none were available at the time.

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