Sandown Takes 83 Acres of Open Space into Conservation

SANDOWN – What was slated to become a 142-unit, age 55 and over development has now become conservation property, thanks to the work of the conservation commission and Richard and Norma Drowne.

On Friday, Oct. 4, the conservation commission closed on 83 acres of open space previously owned by the Drownes’ Hersey Highlands Development Corporation. The parcel combines with other town-owned property to create a contiguous 258 acres, and brings the amount of town-owned land to approximately 7 percent, according to the commission.
As reported previously by the Tri-Town Times, through work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Drownes had previously placed 203 acres of that property into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wetland Reserve Program as permanently conserved land, meant to restore and ensure protection of its wetlands and wildlife. The town purchased 83 acres of that property for $180,000.
When the commission was initially working with the Drowne family on the purchase, the family spoke of the importance of protecting the area’s ecologically significant features for future generations.
The town’s portion of the parcel stretches from Odell Road to Snow Lane to Hersey Road and to Punch Pond, where it connects with other publicly and privately owned land that has been protected through the conservation commission’s work. There it connects with 57 preserved acres in the vicinity of Punch and Cub Ponds, with access on that side from Morrison Lane. In total, the protected land covers about 258 acres in that area.
“It creates a very nice wildlife corridor,” said commission member Mark Traeger. The commission works to protect contiguous tracts of land, as that not only benefits wildlife but makes the land more valuable for the public.
Eagle Scout hopeful James Beucler is currently busy blazing trails in the parcel near the ponds, and the conservation commission is hoping to someday connect them all with trails so that residents can more easily enjoy their lands.
Parking areas are in the works and trail systems need to be placed. The commission is always looking for interested volunteers for the work.
The commission hopes to place the acreage’s easement with the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire.

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