Hersey – Hodge Land Conservation Project Complete!

This summer, The Wentworth Watershed Association put out the call to the community to help in the acquisition of a strategic piece of land that serves as a buffer between Center Street and Lake Wentworth.

Members and the public answered the call, the local non-profit conservation organization purchased these 11 acres that they call the Hersey-Hodge Preserve. The land is located along the Route 28 corridor across the street from The Nick and the 1810 House.

Wentworth Watershed Association Executive Director, Julie Brown was excited to announce that the association is closed on the property on December 29th, thanks to fulfilled pledges and donations that helped them reach the $150,000 price tag.

“We are grateful to all of the participants including neighborhood leaders Andy and Chelsea O’Brien and the Wolfeboro-Tuftonboro Land Bank,” Brown said, noting that the Land Bank committed a generous lead gift kicking off the project. She also pointed out that multiple generations of residents of Hersey Point Road and the Hodge Shore Road, along with nearby shorefront neighborhoods were crucial to the fundraising success. We are please to report that a generous member filled the gap and donated the $10,000 dollars need to close on property in early December. Thank you!

“They really stepped up to help preserve this natural area,” Brown stated. “It’s a win for the watershed because it’s protecting that corridor between the road and the lake which provides critical stormwater services in its natural state.”

When the parcel came onto the market, the association consulted with several ecologists and verified the conservation value of the land. The land features a variety of immature and mature conifers and deciduous trees, as well as vernal pools and an arm of Hersey Brook.

“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 stormwater 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.”

As the Wentworth Watershed Association celebrates another key land purchase, the organization also wants residents to know that if they have property in the watershed that they want to conserve they should reach out the office. Brown noted that the organization is interested holding a conservation easement or owning conservation land that is greater than 11 acres. “We look at parcels that will make an impact on the water quality,” Brown said. “That’s our goal, to protect water quality of surface water in streams, ponds and lakes in Wolfeboro.”

For more information, reach out to the staff at the Wentworth Watershed Association office at 534-0222 or e-mail info@wentworthwatershed.org. You can also visit the Wentworth Watershed Association website at wentworthwatershed.org for information about the properties that have been conserved and other projects in the works.

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