WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro community has an opportunity to protect a natural resource that is an important part of the town’s recreational and educational assets.
A 111-acre parcel that encompasses a large portion of Brewster Heath is the subject of a conservation drive by the Wentworth Watershed Association. More than two-thirds of the goal of $325,000 has already been reached, and the local group is reaching out to the community to close the gap. The property includes forests and wetlands, running from Pleasant Valley Road to Lake Wentworth, with 7,000 feet of frontage along Heath Brook, one of the major streams in the watershed.
The association is hosting a public information session on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at Wolfeboro Town Hall. The session will aim to acquaint the public with the environmental value of the Brewster Heath land.
The Brewster Heath property can be accessed from MacManus Road, providing a convenient approach for groups engaged in educational activities. "This is a great opportunity for the Wentworth Watershed Association to partner with the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, Lakes Region Technology Center, and Brewster Academy to provide students with walking access to a living lab for educational as well as recreational opportunities in the wild," said Julie Brown, the association’s executive director. "We are pleased to have secured these education partners so that the next generation of Wolfeboro residents can understand local ecology and the value of land conservation."
Brown said the association also looks forward to partnering with the greater Wolfeboro community to access existing hiking, cross country running and skiing, and snowmobiling trails that cross the property. She noted that campaign gifts will allow the Association to complete purchase of the parcel and provide funding for its long-term stewardship. Donations to date have come primarily from association members and local organizations, such as the Wolfeboro Snowmobile Club. The Land Bank of Wolfeboro-Tuftonboro and the Wolfeboro Fund have offered to match the next $60,000 received. Every dollar donated, up to that $60,000, will be matched, doubling the impact of all gifts. Donations of all sizes are important.
Brown noted that a recent cyanobacteria bloom in Winter Harbor serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting the town’s surface waters from the effects of stormwater runoff. In that regard, Brewster Heath serves a vital role, capturing silt and phosphorus before they reach Lake Winnipesaukee via Lake Wentworth, Crescent Lake and the Smith River.
Board chair Anne Blodget urged the community to remember the effort in the mid-1970s to save Lake Wentworth’s Stamp Act Island – now a wildlife refuge owned by The Nature Conservancy – from extensive development. "Please help us," she said, "continue the legacy of preserving Wolfeboro’s vital forests and wetlands."
Donors can contribute to the Brewster Heath project online at www.wentworthwatershed.org, or at the association office, 591 Center St. Checks or pledges can be sent to the Wentworth Watershed Association, P.O. Box 2235, Wolfeboro NH 03894.