There is currently just one piece of available open land on the Center Street corridor between the intersection of Routes 28 and 109 and the New Hampshire Boat Museum that could be developed.
We are working to make sure that land joins abutting parcels in being protected forever. “This property connects to a few of our other parcels,” said Wentworth Watershed Association Executive Director Julie Brown. “By conserving it, we will create a sizable conservation corridor along Center Street and the Cotton Valley Rail Trail.”
The 11.17 acre parcel of land, being called the Hersey-Hodge property, is located along Center Street and between Hersey Shore Road and Hodge Shore Road. This parcel abuts two of the Association’s existing conservation properties, the Allen “A” Preserve and the Hersey Point Preserve. Nearby are the Boat Museum Conservation Easement and the Cotton Valley Rail Trail Conservation Easement, which are also conserved by the Association.
“This parcel is important strategic protection of the lake on busy Route 28,” said Anne Blodget, Chair of the Wentworth Watershed Association Board of Directors. “Our offer for this parcel is contingent on raising the funds and we need to do so by the end of October.
“We now need the generosity of the entire watershed and community to get this done,” Blodget continued. “It’s truly a case of the power of our community coming together.”
The Wentworth Watershed Association has entered into a signed agreement to purchase the land, with a closing set to happen before the end of the year. The piece of land has been assessed by several environmental experts as being important for conservation. The land features a mix habitats including young and mature trees, wetlands, and vernal pools which support a diversity of wildlife.
“Motorists don’t realize how close they are to the lake when they are driving in or out of town on Center Street,” Brown stated. “Lake Wentworth’s proximity to the road puts it at risk to pollutants from storm water runoff, including nutrients, road salts and sand. Conserving this land will retain the ecological services of a forested buffer between the road and the lake,” she continued. “It will also protect the wooded experience that town residents and guests enjoy when recreating on the Rail Trail.”
In a major step toward the conservation of the land, the Wolfeboro Tuftonboro Land Bank has committed a lead gift to support the project. Neighbors Chelsea and Andy O’Brien and their family and neighbors in the Hersey, Hodge, Kenney and Moose Point communities have provided lead donations to support the purchase.
“Beyond the neighbors, this is important to all of us because of the proximity to the lake, the WWA abutting conserved properties, and the Route 28 corridor,” Blodget said.
Blodget noted that the Wentworth Watershed Association’s tradition of saving land to save the water began with the campaign to conserve Stamp Act Island and has continued with the preservation of Brewster Heath and Warren Brook. The Board voted unanimously to pursue this purchase and backed up the vote by committing personal funds to support the project. The Association is hoping that this parcel will be the next piece of conservation land in Wolfeboro. Fundraising to date has topped $120,000, we are now asking members and the for public help to reach the overall goal of $178,000.
Anyone interested in helping to conserve this piece of land is invited to donate now or submit a pledge by clicking on support now or by sending a check to Wentworth Watershed Association PO Box 591, Wolfeboro, NH 03894. For more information reach out to the staff at the Wentworth Watershed Association office at 603-534-0222 or email@example.com.