Part of what the Wentworth Watershed Association does is to protect sensitive areas in our watershed. In the past, a watershed study has been done to see what areas need special protection. The Association also owns or has easements on properties critical to the watershed. Recently, a large parcel was protected in the headwaters of Warren Brook but one prime protected area is the Linda Baldwin Conservation Preserve.
This preserve is made up of three parcels: what was formerly called the Auto Village property, the former Walsh property, and the former Green Mountain property, totaling approximately 35 acres on Route 28 in Wolfeboro. These properties were purchased by Linda Baldwin and upon her death they were transferred to the Lake Wentworth Foundation which has joined with the Lake Wentworth Association to become the Wentworth Watershed Association.
These properties may not seem “glamorous” although many people see the area as they use the rail trail. At the same time, they are an important part of the Lake Wentworth watershed. The swampy areas and beaver ponds help to filter the water that comes into our lake and the protection also prevents more development in the low lying areas near Fernald Brook.
The property abuts the corner of Rts. 28 and Rt. 109. It also abuts a Town of Wolfeboro property that is a fire station which is a few hundred yards east of the corner on Rt. 109. I also abuts a long section of the TRAC Cotton Valley Trail which is the old railroad bed. More importantly, it encompasses virtually all of Fernald Brook from where it crosses Rt. 28 all the way to the old railroad. This protects valuable wetland from development and allows adventurous people to explore an interesting ecosystem. One picture looks toward the lake and one looks up Fernald Brook.
A memorial plaque, celebrating Linda Baldwin’s many contributions to the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed and the Wolfeboro community, is situated at the Fernald Brook bridge on the TRAC Cotton Valley Trail which is at the edge of this Preserve. The location of this memorial affords a view to the northwest of Fernald Brook and, to the northeast, Lake Wentworth and Brookside, Linda Baldwin’s summer home.
The property also has a long section along the rail trail. This is used by many people and it is nice that this area will not be developed.
More information about the history of this property can be found at: https://wentworthwatershed.org/our-properties/linda-baldwin-preserve/