Conservation Commission Proposes High Range Road Land Purchase

The Conservation Commission is looking at the possibility of purchasing a roughly 12-acre parcel at 119 High Range Road from David A. and George P. Hicks for $60,000.
The property has a short right-of-way into the land that is completely forested, and has what Commissioner Mike Speltz described as a “fen” or natural water retention area where runoff and groundwater naturally collect.

“It is almost completely surrounded by the Plummer easement and in addition is connected to wetlands that are protected by state and local ordinances,” Speltz said at the commission’s Tuesday, Aug. 27 meeting.

Speltz showed on a map that it would be conceivable that through other easements, a person could hike from Mack’s Moose Hill Orchard with only a few road walks to reach the property and eventually the Musquash conservation area.

“The other nice thing is the Plummer easement itself doesn’t have any trails on it or good access. There’s no way for pedestrians to access the property without crossing over someone’s private property,” he said. “With this property there is access from its right-of- way on High Range Road.”

Speltz said the land offers a variety of terrain, with the land near High Range Road its high point. It then slopes down to a valley where the fen is located. “It drops down quite steeply and has a stream running through the property, and there’s a pretty extensive wetland of about 3 or 4 acres,” Speltz said.

The pictures Speltz showed of the property were taken in the winter with snow on the ground and obvious signs of snowmobile activity that had taken place. “There could be hiking trails in the summertime,” he said. “This is a great recreational amenity. The beauty of this property is that you’re right next to a main north/south thoroughfare through town, and yet you can really feel that you’re in the woods.”

“I’ve been on this property several times and this is a magnificent tract,” Commissioner Paul Nickerson said. “It’s a wildlife habitat with a superb forest land, and it’s got a nice wetland going through it. It’s everything that a conservationist would dream about if he or she were going to preserve a piece of land.”

Resident Martin Srugis asked what happens if the right-of-way, which is located between two homes, leads to the homeowners complaining or not wanting people to access the property by way of their yards.

Commission Chairman Deb Lievens said the access is not an easement but a right-of-way and will always be a town-owned piece of land. “The right-of-way was created so that if they wanted to build back in there, they could access it,” Lievens said. Srugis also asked about parking and was told that would have to be examined. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend the Town Council purchase the property for $60,000.

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